Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad review: The iPad's perfect keyboard companion

The typing works, too. It's really good, even for a laptop user, and it held up over a weekend using it at home as a go-to laptop alternative. The chiclet-style square keys are a little closely spaced but all laptop-accurate, with none of the odd shifting like on the Logitech Keyboard Folio. There's no backlighting, but few keyboard cases I've ever seen offer that feature (Zagg now makes a ProPlus backlit keyboard/case; stay tuned for a future review).

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The iPad (it fits the iPad 2 and third-/fourth-gen 9.7-inch iPads) snaps easily in the plastic upper case, much like a thick back shield. Holes are cut out for the camera, headphones, 30-pin/Lightning connector, and volume control. There's even a fluted-out hole around the speaker to help amplify sound. My only criticism is that it feels like the plastic construction could eventually crack or snap -- a problem I've had with previous back shields. But that's just conjecture, and it held up really nicely as I used it.

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The Ultimate Keyboard Case can even flip into a keyboard-underneath position for tablet or in-flight use. Because Bluetooth automatically disengages, you won't end up accidentally pressing any keys underneath, and can swap back and forth between both modes easily. There's a hint of elevation from the angle of the fold.

An included Micro-USB cable plugs in on the side for recharging the built-in battery. Belkin claims 1,900 hours of battery life in active use and 4,300 hours in standby. All I can say is it held up perfectly well over a long weekend. You won't need to recharge for a good, long time.

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This is the best iPad keyboard case I've ever reviewed, apart from the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, which beats it on price and compactness. But Logitech's Ultrathin solution isn't a full case. If you crave complete protection and a really sharp design, this is the best I've seen -- and I've seen quite a few. This is a case I'd actually consider keeping my iPad in all the time.

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