CNET First Look
The iPad's perfect keyboard companionThe Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case might be the best way to turn your iPad into the closest thing to a laptop alternative, offering protection and not much bulk.
Hey. I'm Scott Stein and this is an iPad docked inside a keyboard case. You've heard that before but you don't always see great ones and the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case is one of the best ones that I've seen. The best that I've seen since last year when Logitech had its Ultra Thin Keyboard Cover, a very thin smart cover dockable device which was a very nice backpack from the keyboard solution, but it didn't have any back cover protection. Belkin Solution is a full package so you've got back cover, it's got the keyboard and it's not huge and thick and weird. It feels comfortable enough that I might consider using it as my regular iPad case, which is saying something. It's 99 bucks, which is about the price range that you're gonna pay for a keyboard case and it has a few special tricks up its sleeve. One is that it automatically connects and disconnects with Bluetooth once it attaches onto a little magnetic strip on the bottom. Pretty neat trick and it saves battery life. So, when you fold this thing down into a non-keyboard mode, you won't be pressing any keys and it make sit pretty versatile if you wanna flip a shot and open it up again. Speaking of which, it's got adjustable angles. There are three magnetic strips here, not just one. Why are three angles important? Well, if you're using it on a desk or any surface or with your lap where angles matter, it has a pretty compact little keyboard solution. Sometimes it's a little hard to make it fit. So, the difference between putting it at this angle and this angle over here is bigger than you'd think. It can save you some neck strain. I like that. If you're a keyboard geek, that's a big deal. And speaking of keyboard geeks, this keyboard does not make any weird compromises. There aren't any compressed keys or strange movements. It's a regular keyboard and it's a little bit compressed because it's gotta fit an iPad. I mean, if you're used to touch typing and really used to where the keys are laid out, you're gonna find yourself adopting this keyboard really well and it's got a lot of iOS specific features including, hey, look, a Siri button. So, what's not to like about this case? Well, it's a little plasticky, but you know, that's kind of quibbling because what you're gonna make this thing out of, solid metal? And also there's no backlighting on the keyboard but no iPad cases backlighting yet. Maybe some fancy one coming on the Pike Wood. But for an all around package that's compact, that's easy to use, that folds up pretty nice and thin for a keyboard case, and doesn't feel like the keyboard-- the keys are scratching a screen or anything, it feels comfortable to hold automatically shuts off anyway. It doesn't make it look a bit like a Chrome Book, right? Or a laptop, but hey, that's kind of the appeal, right? You're turning an iPad into a laptop. The Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case is probably my top pick right now and I like using it. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case, which by the way works at the iPad 2, 3rd gen iPad and 4th gen iPad. Sorry 1st gen users.