The new Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad Air solves that problem: it's shaved down in overall footprint, but has mostly the same feel. And best of all, the keys are as good as ever, and the layout hasn't changed. Neither has the price: it's $99.99.
But that doesn't mean there aren't drawbacks. When the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover first debuted, it was the thinnest keyboard around, had a unique magnetic side clasp to attach like a Smart Cover, and had few competitors. Now many manufacturers make similar thin keyboards. And, this Ultrathin cover doesn't seem quite so thin anymore: not only is it a bit thicker than the previous design, but the iPad Air's thinner than the previous iPad, too.
Instead of feeling like a wafer-thin add-on, this keyboard cover nearly doubles the thickness of the iPad. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover weighs 0.74 pound, less than the 0.94 and 0.92 of the
There are other downsides...or rather, features that no longer seem impressive when compared with the competition. First off, this cover doesn't autopair when connected, a wonderful magic-trick-style perk I look for in accessories. The Belkin case and Logitech folio both have this feature. Here, you have to switch on the keyboard via a small tab on the side, and remember to switch it off when done or it'll still work -- even when separated from the Air by several feet.
Also, there are no adjustable angles: the iPad Air's angle when in the keyboard cover works fine for me during lap typing and on a desk, but the Belkin case can adjust to three angles. And, of course, this Logitech cover doesn't protect your iPad's back; it's just a cover for the front. Some people have bareback iPads, but I prefer a case or a sleeve.
And yet, I still love this accessory. Why? Because it's thinner than using a full keyboard case, it attaches cleanly, it feels rock-solid, and has a great keyboard. No keys are weirdly compressed, except for a few right-side punctuation keys. Some iOS-specific commands are folded into the number keys, or cleverly integrated into the keyboard (cut and paste, for instance, require pressing Fn-X and Fn-V, similarly to on a regular laptop). The matte keys have solid travel and feel comfortable, and have excellent response. And, I write quickly when using it -- this whole review was written on it, and it felt great to use. After all, that's why you buy a keyboard in the first place.
The cover still charges via Micro-USB, and has an included cable. To set up Bluetooth pairing, you press a small button on the side next to the power switch.
So there you have it: the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover may not be quite the uncontested iPad accessory it once was, but it remains a top pick for me. The only regret I have is that this product only serves and fits the iPad Air, whereas the previous model fit the iPad 2, 3, and 4. At $99.99, that might be a little hard to swallow.