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Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 review: The best keyboard to pro-ify your iPad Air 2

The iPad Pro isn't necessary for a great iPad keyboard experience: Belkin's keyboard case does a fantastic job with older iPads.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Some people might look at the larger iPad Pro as "the iPad that has keyboards and a stylus." Well, actually, any iPad can get those things too -- maybe not quite the same, but good enough that the average person will be super-satisfied. My favorite used to be the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard, for its pure portability. But the better choice if you have a new iPad Air or iPad Air 2 is the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro keyboard case. It's $150 (£149.99 in the UK, or AU$200), and if you're a major iPad-writer, it's worth it. The keyboard acts as a lid for the Air 2, while a back cover protects the whole thing for easy travel. Belkin sells two different versions for Air and Air 2, to fit their slightly different tablet thicknesses.


Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

The Good

Comfortable, backlit keyboard. Protective case that can be detached from the keyboard. Works in landscape or portrait mode. Keyboard can pair with two devices at once (not just iPads). Two adjustable angles. Automatically turns on. Micro-USB charging powers case for months.

The Bad

Plastic case a little hard to snap on and off. Keyboard has a bit of flex.

The Bottom Line

The best-feeling and most protective keyboard case accessory for the iPad Air 2 is Belkin's premium case, hands-down: It's well worth the extra money.

Belkin's QODE case adjusts to different angles magnetically, and has a great-feeling backlit keyboard.

Sarah Tew/CNET

First of all, the keyboard feels great. I've typed on it furiously, and written whole articles on it easily. The keys flex a bit, but the layout and responsiveness are top-notch -- and I'm picky. The keys are backlit, too. The case can be adjusted to two different angles, all magnetically, for working at different places like cramped airplane tray-tables.

The case auto-pairs the moment you open it, and the keyboard bottom half can be detached from the top-half case -- again, thanks to magnets -- to use the case in a basic protective, non-keyboard mode. An iPad will work in landscape or portrait mode while in it, and even better, the keyboard will pair with other devices if needed: up to two at a time, switchable from the keyboard. The keyboard charges via Micro-USB, and gets enough battery life for a year of use. I've never needed a recharge.


Key layout doesn't feel too cramped, and shortcut buttons do everything you'd need.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pro model is the best for its backlighting, and I think it types a bit better. I like the Pro better than Belkin's recent Slim model, which feels cheaper and doesn't type quite as well. The QODE Ultimate Pro is now the case I use almost all the time, and with Apple's new iOS 9-specific keyboard shortcuts it becomes a damn useful on-the-go tool, too.


Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 9