Like it or not, at this point there's no denying that there's a market for iPad keyboards and keyboard cases. There are ones that stand alone, and ones that do double-duty. Zagg, maker of one of our favorite keyboard case solutions--the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg--has entered the folio case market with the $99 Zaggfolio. Does it make sense to have a keyboard case, or would a standalone keyboard be a better bet? Zagg's folio case is a better keyboard than it is a case, to no great surprise.
Zagg's keyboard folio, when unfolded into keyboarded mode, is perhaps the nicest stand/keyboard solution we've ever seen. Passersby will wonder what new Netbook or transformable tablet you've just purchased. The silver and black design blends perfectly with our test black iPad 2, and the top groove slots the iPad in a way that's far less wonky than the flip-up plastic stand on the Zagg keyboard case we reviewed a few months ago. A small physical on/off switch and pairing button activate Bluetooth connection with the iPad, and a tiny Micro-USB port and included cable handle recharges of the keyboard's internal battery, which is rated for "weeks" of use. In our limited time with the Zaggfolio, we never needed recharging.
The edge-to-edge raised island-style keyboard makes the most of limited real estate, and feels more comfortable for dropping the raised side walls we've seen on some other keyboards. Key sizes are similar to those on a 10-inch Netbook, and ever-so-slightly too pushed together for our ideal tastes, but every key's where it should be, and touch-typing is easy. A row of dedicated buttons above the number keys activate iOS-specific controls such as volume, track-skipping, play/pause, cut/paste/copy, and a photo gallery shortcut. These extra functions are becoming standard on iPad-dedicated keyboards.
We did fumble a little because of the closely spaced keys, and the key responsiveness felt a step behind the more classic-style keys on the Zagg case. It's still some of the best keyboard performance we've seen outside of a full-size standalone keyboard, and we were able to write this whole review on it comfortably.