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Typo for iPad Air review: A pricey iPad companion

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MSRP: $189.00
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The Good The Typo for iPad Air's full-sized keys make for fast typing with fewer errors on the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, and the flexible hinge makes it comfortable to use in your lap.

The Bad No backlit keys and the hefty price makes this keyboard case less attractive than its competitors.

The Bottom Line The full-sized keys and flexible hinge are both nice touches, but the Typo for iPad Air doesn't deliver as much as its price tag demands.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0

Review Sections

The Typo for iPad Air wraps your iPad Air or iPad Air 2 up in a thick, protective shell and tosses a Bluetooth keyboard into the mix. But it costs $189, making it one of the pricier iPad keyboards we've reviewed (that converts to £121, or AU$244).

Full-sized keys and a flexible friction hinge make for a satisfying typing experience, but the Typo does little to outpace competitors that cost less and deliver more features. And a 16GB iPad Air 2 paired with a Typo keyboard will set you back about $688 (£442, AU$890). If you're looking for a productivity machine, that could get you a 64GB Surface 3 , the Surface 3's keyboard cover, and the Surface Pen, with a bit of cash left over for a snack.

Design

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Magnets keep the keyboard attached to the case. Nate Ralph/CNET

The Typo Keyboard case isn't actually a single, contiguous unit: you'll snap the case onto your iPad Air or iPad Air 2, while the keyboard attaches to the rest of the package by way of magnets.

The case only fits iPad Airs and it isn't exactly interchangeable between both models, either: you'll have to stick a set of (included) adhesive rubber feet to get the slightly slimmer iPad Air 2 to fit. The keyboard's magnetic connection is strong enough to resist jostle during general use in your lap, but not quite strong enough to support its own weight. I'm constantly tempted to hold the entire package by the tablet-end, as I would the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. But the keyboard flops right off once it's hanging vertically -- a tad disappointing.

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I didn't have trouble writing this review with the Typo in my lap. Nate Ralph/CNET

The case also adds quite a bit of heft to the iPad Air, though that much is expected. It doesn't get in the way of the headphone or charging ports, but you'll bump into the case if you try to press the volume and lock buttons. The keyboard's Bluetooth switch sits on the lower right edge, and I had no trouble pairing it with my iPad.

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The Typo is only a little smaller than the Surface 3's keyboard (right). Nate Ralph/CNET

Of course the Typo Keyboard's primary function is to be a keyboard, and it does a fairly good job here. The keys are shallow, which is expected in a keyboard that's 5.5mm thick. But the keys are wide, and fairly comfortable to type on -- even my comically large paws don't have too much trouble finding the letters I aim to hit. The keys on the Surface 3's keyboard offer a bit more travel, and as a result feel more satisfying to type on, but the Typo keyboard complements the iPad rather well.

It's comfortable to use, too. The Typo is clearly designed to be used on a desk, but it works in my lap just fine: a flexible friction hinge will let you tilt the screen as far back as you'd like, and I had no trouble balancing the iPad in my lap while working. When you want the keyboard out of the way, just turn it around: when reversed it sits flush with the back of the case. This feels nice in the hand but makes the entire package even thicker -- I usually just took the keyboard off instead.

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