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Logitech attempts to unleash the productivity potential of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 with a tailor-made Bluetooth keyboard case. As a case, it excels with a slim construction, sturdy stand, secure fit, and water-resistant exterior. But at its starting price -- $100 in the US and £90 in the UK -- the cheap plastic build of the keyboard devalues its clever design.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is one of the best slates available, and a protective case for it is a worthy investment. If you prefer a combination keyboard cover for yours, the Logitech model will only satisfy those who need a keyboard for very casual use; however, its overreaching starting price demands a closer look at what else is out there.
At first glance, the Logitech keyboard case looks like a fancy notebook. The material on the exterior is all-black, with a textured weave material that covers two thirds of the case. A faux-leather finish is found on half of the back cover, with a hole that exposes the 5-megapixel rear camera and LED flash.
When you open the case, the left half houses the keyboard, while the other half provides plastic clips that fasten the tablet -- they also have magnets in them to help keep the case closed. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 easily snaps into the clips with a sturdy and secure fit.
The magnetic plastic edge that clips onto the bottom of the tablet attaches to the top of the keyboard. Its subtle angular design helps it quickly and correctly snap into place and leaves little room for user error.
The keyboard is an appropriate size for a 10.5-inch tablet and doesn't add much weight. The keys themselves are smooth and comfortable to type on, but they're surrounded by a shiny plastic that heavily attracts smudges. It's easy to clean with a good microfiber cloth, but considering it's made for your hands to roam on, it's not my favorite choice of material.
There's no touchpad, which allows for a more spacious keyboard layout. The keys are close together compared with a regular keyboard, but I quickly got the hang of the different spacing. Those with larger hands might find the fit too cramped.
On the top right corner of the keyboard there's a Bluetooth pairing button, an on/off switch, and a micro-USB port. The plastic clips and edges that hold the tablet in place don't interfere with the locations of the power or volume buttons, as well as the speakers.
The Logitech cover leaves the fancy bells and whistles to the Galaxy Tab S itself, but it does pack some useful features that make everyday use easier. When the case is closed, the tablet automatically goes to sleep, and when opened, it wakes up. It also ships with a short micro-USB-to-USB cord for charging and some of the keys on the keyboard can be used as Android shortcuts.
Unlike the highly lauded keyboard case for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 , the Logitech cover only offers two viewing positions. The first allows a traditional upright position for use of the Bluetooth keyboard, and the second is an almost flat position, for easy gaming or Web browsing.
Once accommodated to the smaller size, typing on the tablet was delightful. Response time was fast with no lag and the keys were as comfortable as my laptop's keyboard.
Pairing the keyboard to the tablet was quick and easy. Connectivity was consistent and smooth for the most part -- it dropped on rare occasions or after moving the tablet while propped in the stand -- and, if left idle while sleeping, it stayed connected after I woke the tablet.
According to Logitech, the keyboard rocks a three-month battery life on a full charge (with 2 hours of daily use). I didn't have the pleasure of testing it for three months to challenge the claims, but I never had an issue with the battery.
Logitech claims that the case is a durable protector of your Galaxy Tab S 10.5, but when I put it through a few mild torture tests, I got some mixed results. The exterior of the case proved to be water-resistant, with liquid quickly sliding off of the multitextured backside. It also dried quickly without the assistance of a towel or hand dryer.
The sturdy plastic clips on the corners and edges of the tablet help protect the slate if dropped, like bumpers on a car, but if you drop the tablet while it's in the case, the most susceptible component to damage is the keyboard. The inexpensive plastic build of the keyboard is readily apparent if you unfortunately drop the case.
After experiencing a few small dives, keys popped off and a corner of the smudge-happy plastic slightly detached and separated from the weaved material that covers it. I was able to easily reattach the keys to the keyboard and I'm sure some industrial strength glue can help reattach the corner, but for a $100 accessory that claims to offer durable protection, I walked away disappointed in its build quality.
The Logitech keyboard case successfully marries functionality and fashion with a secure fit, clever design, and a slim and sophisticated look. The flimsy construction of the plastic keyboard, however, is not ideal for anyone looking to to turn their Tab S 10.5 into a portable workstation.
The keyboard will perform fine for casual use, like quick emails or posting positive comments on your favorite tech review website. But those looking to finish their thesis or take work on the go should look at other Bluetooth keyboards with higher-quality builds -- or wait a few months for this to drop in price.