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Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini review: A sleek iPad Mini keyboard with caveats

Logitech's sleek keyboard for the iPad Mini comparatively very good, but the cramped typing experience isn't for everyone.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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Keyboard cases for the iPad Mini have started to proliferate, with Belkin, Logitech, and others introducing new models. Logitech's $79.99 Ultrathin Keyboard Mini is a smaller version of its popular $99.99 Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the larger iPad, and is about as good as it gets for iPad Mini keyboard/case options, although a couple of shortcomings should give you reason to pause before buying one.

Logitech_Ultrathin_Mini_keyboard_35603071_03.jpg
7.3

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini

The Good

The <b>Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini</b> is slim, lightweight, and matches up well with the iPad Mini, serving as a screen protector. While small, the keyboard itself has arguably the best layout and design of any iPad Mini keyboard/case.

The Bad

The keyboard is a bit cramped and the case only protects the front of your iPad, not the back.

The Bottom Line

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini is arguably the best keyboard/case option available for the iPad Mini, but it still doesn't offer a great typing experience.

Design
The relatively lightweight aluminum case/keyboard -- it weights just under 8 ounces -- acts as a screen cover for your iPad Mini and adheres magnetically like Apple's Smart Cover. When you're ready to use it, you pull it off and prop up the iPad in the slot built into the keyboard (yes, it connects to your iPad via Bluetooth).

You prop your iPad up in the slot in the keyboard. Sarah Tew/CNET

Cosmetically, Logitech has done an excellent job matching the finish of the back of the iPad with the back of the keyboard, so the case really complements your iPad Mini (the keyboard is available in both black and white versions).

The keyboard/case also comes in white (click to enlarge). Logitech

The only serious problem with it is that it doesn't protect the back of your iPad, which can get scratched up fairly easily if you aren't careful. Ideally, Logitech would have included some sort of simple sleeve to cover the whole package (iPad and keyboard) so you could tuck it stow in a bag (or wherever) without worrying about scratching up both the back of the iPad and the back of the keyboard. Of course, many people don't mind if their tech products get a nick or two, but some folks hate to see their iPads end up with a blemish. If you're concerned about that you could get a skin that would offer some protection against scuffing.

The slim keyboard serves as a screen protector. Sarah Tew/CNET

As it is, Logitech does include a small dust cloth because the top of the keyboard has a shiny finish and attracts fingerprints. The cloth is for wiping off the smudges.

The keyboard adheres magnetically to your iPad. Sarah Tew/CNET

Slightly cramped
Logitech says the keyboard offers "a traditional typing layout in a small 7-inch form factor, plus iPad Mini Function shortcut keys for the commands you use most often, such as copy and paste."

The keys themselves are made of hard plastic and they're fairly springy. If you're used to using Apple's Bluetooth keyboard, it's not quite as good as that, but it's got a much better feel to it than keyboards with soft, rubberized keys.

While slightly cramped, the keyboard has a good layout and several shortcut buttons for your iPad. Sarha Tew/CNET

The keyboard has an instant on-off feature -- your iPad Mini automatically wakes up when you open the cover and switches to standby when you close it -- and Logitech says the keyboard has a three-month battery life based on usage of 2 hours per day. It charges via USB.

Making these smaller keyboard cases for the iPad Mini can be a challenge. The few I've tried, including the Belkin Portable Keyboard Case for the iPad Mini, have felt a little cramped and had a few other shortcomings despite an otherwise good design.

This one, too, feels a little small, and definitely takes some work to get used to (by that I mean typing fast with few errors). Those with larger hands will probably have trouble with it. However, unlike the Belkin and some other Mini keyboards, this Logitech has a dedicated apostrophe/quotes key. It's smaller than the letter keys, but it's there, which is important (with the Belkin you have to hit the function key to make an apostrophe or quote).

You charge the keyboard via a USB connection. Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
Like other keyboards for the iPad Mini, this product is a challenge to rate. Compared to other Mini keyboards, this Logitech is quite good and ranks among the best out there. True, you can find similar options from lesser-known brands like MiniSuit and Sharkk for significantly cheaper, but this model appears to be a step up. It has a nice design, is relatively lightweight, and is a good match for the Mini -- cosmetically, anyway.

On a more critical note, its small size doesn't make for the greatest typing experience. It's certainly usable, but I'd only get this if I was taking a lot of notes with the Mini or cranking out a lot of e-mail. (The other alternative, while a bulkier solution, is to get an external Bluetooth keyboard such as the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad).

In short, I came away both impressed and marginally disappointed with the product. That translates into a very good product with some caveats. I'd suggest trying it in a store before you buy, if possible. I suspect certain folks will love it and others won't.

Logitech_Ultrathin_Mini_keyboard_35603071_03.jpg
7.3

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7
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