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Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard review: Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard

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Can a "regular" folio iPad case and a keyboard co-exist? It's a tough combination, as I've noticed time and again, because the presence of one tends to mean compromise in the other. Most keyboard case solutions I've seen that offer a "real" case tend to be imperfect, and wouldn't appeal to most people. A rare exception was the Belkin Keyboard Folio for iPad 2, a clever little foldable case that tucked a large keyboard underneath its body. The Keyboard Folio could adjust itself as needed to fit your needs.

Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard
7.0

Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard

Pricing Not Available

The Good

The <b>Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard</b> has a removable Bluetooth keyboard and offers solid folio-style case protection in one package, and can be flexibly adjusted.

The Bad

The folio case function is better than other keyboard cases, but still isn't good enough to beat top-notch stand-alone folio cases. The Velcro-attached keyboard can feel clunky to set up.

The Bottom Line

Belkin's iPad 2- and third-gen-iPad-friendly YourType Folio + Keyboard case takes a solid if uninspired folio case design and adds a keyboard for one of the better protective solutions around.

Belkin's second-generation redesign, the YourType Folio + Keyboard for the new iPad and iPad 2, has a simplified folio case design but takes a different stance with the keyboard: instead of folding underneath, it stays on the inside cover, but can be removed with Velcro.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Simpler? Yes. However, the new design isn't such a fantastic folio case. It's not terrible, but it's far from stand-out. It can act as its own iPad stand for landscape-mode movie viewing, but the YourType Folio isn't a design that rises up to meet the iPad like the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Some may like it more for its overall protection, but there's nothing that revolutionary about the YourType that isn't in many other keyboarded cases already. Yes, it works. But, unlike the last version, this new case adopts no new ideas.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The YourType's keys are mushier than the ones on the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, but they are comfortable and work well. While the keys are a bit smaller than on your average laptop, the Enter, Backspace, Shift, and arrow keys are all similarly proportioned. Nothing's overly squished. Once I adjusted to the keyboard's layout over a half-hour, typing was fast and functional. The YourType is ideally used on a desk or flat surface; on my lap it felt a little floppy and unstable. A row of dedicated buttons above the number keys activate iPad-specific functions like cut, paste, volume/play/pause control, and rudimentary text-selecting shortcuts. The YourType keyboard charges via Micro-USB cable and has a built-in rechargeable battery; it pairs with the iPad the same way all Bluetooth keyboards do.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Velcro-detachable keyboard transforms the YourType into a true folio-style case with the keyboard removed, but there's a sacrifice in flexibility. With the keyboard centered in its natural position, the iPad tilts up too high for comfortable desk use. The keyboard can be shifted down -- or, even detached and placed anywhere you'd like -- and the iPad can be repositioned at any angle (the top edge of the case catches in narrow grooves on the bottom, relying on microfiber friction), but it defeats the idea of a keyboard case just a bit. The original Belkin keyboard case we loved so much folded up like a clever piece of origami.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The YourType does offer basic folio protection similar to other microfiber sleeve cases; a third-gen iPad fits in the top slip-sleeve snugly, but it's hard to easily remove. An iPad 2 fits with less hassle. As a case, the YourType works better than most keyboard cases that double as protective folios, but it's still not the perfect experience. I preferred the simplicity of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, although it afforded far less protection.

As for whether you'd truly appreciate the Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard, I'd advise you try to see one for yourself up-close, at an Apple store or elsewhere. It's a solid traveling keyboard case with flexibility, and it's one of the better, thinner folio keyboard cases I've seen. I just can't get over that it's essentially a mediocre folio case with a small Velcro Bluetooth keyboard included. Then again, that's what it's advertised to be: a folio case plus keyboard.

Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard
7.0

Belkin YourType Folio + Keyboard

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7