Typing on an iPad is the kind of thing you can get used to, and even tolerate, but let's face it: nobody prefers an onscreen keyboard to a real one.
Accessory makers have tried coming to the rescue, many of them with decent products--most notably theand . But because they were necessarily no wider than the iPad itself, they had to make their keys fairly narrow--and that leads to cramped typing.
Logitech's new Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 (and only iPad 2) leverages a clever design to provide a full-height, full-width set of keys that's no different than the desktop keyboard I'm typing on right now. Ladies and gentlemen, your QWERTY ship has come in.
At 1.3 pounds, the Fold-Up effectively doubles the travel weight of your iPad--the fairly common price you pay for adding a physical keyboard. The good news is that the iPad pops out as easily as it pops in, and the case leaves room for your Smart Cover.
To look at the Fold-Up is to see little more than a black plastic shell, but when you push its release button and tilt up the iPad, the keyboard folds out and together with magical simplicity. The reverse is nothing more than sliding the two halves out, around, and under (though because of the weight of the iPad, you have to be careful to keep the whole thing from slamming shut).
Unfolding the keyboard turns it on; folding it again turns it off. Smart. A single button activates pairing mode, and three small LEDs indicate power (though only when you first start using it), Caps Lock, and battery status (only when the keyboard is charging or the battery is low).
According to Logitech, the Fold-Up's battery is good for 500 hours of typing. A supplied USB cable handles the charging, though it stands to reason you could recharge it with any Micro-USB power source.
As noted earlier, using the Fold-Up is little different than using, say, an Apple keyboard. The low-rise keys feel comfortable and responsive; touch typists will appreciate that everything is "where it belongs." And the number keys conveniently double as function keys for things like Search, slideshow, playback controls, and volume.
My only complaint is with the lack of a dedicated Delete key (i.e., a key that deletes to the right of the cursor). To confuse matters (for me, anyway), the Backspace key is actually labeled Delete. Maybe the iOS has no "delete" function as we know it? Only backspace? Oh, well--at least Backspace (er, Delete) is a full-size key, and located exactly where your pinky wants to go.
Bottom line: This is my favorite iPad keyboard to date. It's definitely on the pricey side at $129, but for people who are keen on using their tablet in place of a laptop, there's simply no better choice.