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Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad review:

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad

There are two positions the Keyboard Folio can sit in: keyboard mode, and a more reclined media-viewing mode, about 45 degrees. The iPad covers all the keyboard keys except the bottom row, and -- clever, again -- the keys switch function to media-control buttons. The arrow keys now control volume and fast-forward/rewind, and the space bar plays and pauses. Lift the Folio up off the notches that the feet rest in, and the keys revert back to normal function by themselves.

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What's not so genius is this case's $129 price...and its faltering case design. The entire outer material feels flimsy, as if cut from a single sheet of upholstery fabric. It actually holds up well when the folio is closed flat or opened up into keyboard mode -- when closed, the whole package rests firmly and nests solidly like a book -- but anything in-between feels loose and floppy.

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The heavy keyboard bonded to the folio's inside lid makes the whole package feel extremely impractical for basic iPad reading use in everyday situations.

Don't get me wrong: the Solar Keyboard Folio looks great in keyboard mode, and has a sharp clean design that makes even these photos look extremely attractive...but that thin outer fabric made it feel, for me, less impressive than it looked.

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You can fold the cover around the back and hold the whole package in one hand, but then the keyboard keys are exposed in the back (but deactivated), and it all feels awkward. There's also a large tubular battery that, when folded up properly, rests to the side of the iPad when closed in folio mode, but when opening and closing, tended to jam against the iPad's screen. I don't know why this Folio's battery couldn't have fit into the keyboard housing alone, like on other cases.

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I also feel concerned about the placement of the solar panel: it's on the back of the case, which ends up being the bottom when folded in keyboarded desk use. The panel's covered in flexible plastic that scratches easily and is oddly flexible. Dust started collecting under the surface in our review version. I'd be worried about placing the case in a wet spot on a coffee-shop table and damaging the panel.

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It's great that you don't have to charge the Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio. Even better, it's eco-friendly. I'm just not wild about a keyboard case called a folio that doesn't work well in folio mode. You'll want to pop your iPad out when you're not using the keyboard, and I'm not sure over time whether that would weaken and stretch the rubberized outer ring that the iPad slots into. If you can forgive that, this keyboard has some impressive tricks up its sleeve, and the fold-down media-view mode is a great bonus. I'd be tempted to wait for a more refined version, but road warriors who want one less charging cable might like it perfectly well as it is.

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