Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad review: A keyboard case that can take a spill

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The durable-feeling Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio has a water-resistant keyboard, and automatically connects and disconnects from Bluetooth when magnetically snapped into position.

The Bad Bulkier, heavier, and more expensive than the competition.

The Bottom Line For a durable case with a very good keyboard that feels like it can take a beating, the FabricSkin is your bet. But it's a pricey accessory for a year-old iPad.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Value 6.0

How durable, and expensive, do you like your keyboard cases? If your answer to both is "very," look no further. Logitech's flagship premium keyboard case, the $150 FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, offers a tanklike build and smooth, comfortable feel and holds an iPad 2 or third- or fourth-gen Retina iPad. But its price, and size, could be deal-breakers.

Logitech already makes several keyboard cases. The Keyboard Folio is $50 less than the FabricSkin. What do you get for the extra money? An autopairing Bluetooth keyboard, and a microfiber fabric-covered semisoft keyboard that's more resistant to spills. And it even has a carrying loop for a stylus (stylus not included).

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Both the cheaper Keyboard Folio and FabricSkin transform from folio case by opening into keyboarded "laptop mode" simply: the side magnetically snaps into alignment above the keyboard. No fuss. The FabricSkin automatically turns the keyboard on and pairs, as well. That's a bigger deal than you may realize; it's what I love about the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case . It saves fiddling with a switch on the side, and can save battery life on the rechargeable keyboard, too. An included USB-to-Micro-USB cable is included, and plugs into the side of the case to charge the keyboard back up, but Logitech claims over three months of use before you'll need it.

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The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case (top) and Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio (bottom). Sarah Tew/CNET

The Belkin case costs $99 and feels slimmer, plus it has adjustable angles, although it doesn't have a spill-resistant keyboard.

Do I need a spill-resistant keyboard? I don't know, but I'm sure I'd be appreciative when the time came. I spilled some water on the keyboard and, as advertised, it beaded and rolled right off, wiping up easily with a paper towel. This could be a big deal if you have kids, or if you're a hard-partying college student, or a beach bum, or if you're just sloppy.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

I typed this review on the FabricSkin, and the more I used it the more it grew on me. The soft, shallower keys have more friction and less travel, but feel great when typing quickly. It's a real keyboard underneath, unlike the all-fabric Microsoft Touch Cover, which had no key travel whatsoever. The keys are widely spaced -- how did they do it? By compressing keys, that's how.

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