It wasn’t so long ago that I had the opportunity to review the ZAGGmate keyboard/case made by ZAGG and Logitech. It was my first review for TekGoblin. Shortly after I wrote that review, ZAGG announced a new accessory coming to the iPad2 family- the ZAGGfolio. It is a sleek, compact keyboard design integrated into a case for your iPad2. It has a carbon-fiber shell and a microfiber lining, and is wonderfully versatile in that the keyboard is removable so you may use it without the case and the case functions alone without the keyboard.
Much like the ZAGGmate keyboard, this is very easy to pair up with your iPad2. You simply go into settings, turn on Bluetooth on your iPad2 and then turn on the keyboard and hit the “connect” button. The light above the “connect” button will flash, and you will see the option for “ZAGG Keyboard” pop up under your Bluetooth connection list on your iPad2 screen. When you select it for connection, you are prompted to type in a four-digit code on the keyboard to finalize setup. In a matter of seconds, your keyboard is ready to use.
The ZAGGfolio is set up in a book or binder like format. One half of it is intended for sliding the keyboard into, and the other half is intended for your iPad2. The niche for your iPad2 is fitted with microfiber to ensure the protection of your device from any scratches, and the iPad2 slides into place for a snug fit. The difference in the half of the folio that houses the iPad2, however, is what showcases this product’s ingenuity. There is a crease built into the folio under the iPad2. When inserting your iPad2 into the folio, you fold that crease to ease it into the niche. While using the ZAGGfolio with the keyboard, you fold it and then prop your iPad2 up by resting it in the trough in the upper end of the keyboard for a stable typing experience.
I favor the ZAGGfolio over the ZAGGmate. The ZAGGmate is a wonderful product, to be sure, and has practically the same keyboard. However, I feel safer with my iPad2 nestled in the folio while using the keyboard. As an added bonus, the ZAGGfolio opens and closes easily, clasping on the outside with a curved protrusion from one half of the outer folio which extends over an indentation in the other half and secures tightly with a reassuring “click” into place. This feature is fitted with a magnet intended to work with Apple‘s SmartCover technology. When you close the ZAGGfolio and allow it to clasp shut, the iPad2 senses the magnet and goes to sleep. To wake your iPad2 and continue using the keyboard, simply open the folio, prop up your iPad2 and press a key. When the Bluetooth icon illuminates next to the battery strength in the upper right portion of the screen, your keyboard is ready for use.
One thing that I was concerned about when considering this product before it arrived was that the iPad2’s screen faces the keyboard keys when it is closed. I worried that the keys would make some sort of impression on my InvisibleSHIELD, or scratch the iPad2 screens of users that do not protect their devices with ZAGG’s insanely useful and wonderful InvisibleSHIELD technology. (I have it on literally EVERYTHING electronic I use, right down to the screens on my rare and expensive Japanese Tamagotchi collection. Yes, I *am* that much of a geek.) I needn’t have worried, though! When the folio is closed, the keyboard is installed inside in such a way that the face of the iPad2 doesn’t come into contact with the keyboard keys at all.
In similar fashion to the ZAGGmate, the ZAGGfolio’s keyboard comes with a USB charging cable for use with the installed rechargeable battery. As for battery life, I cannot give an accurate estimate. What I can tell you is that I received the ZAGGfolio, began using the keyboard without plugging it in, and still have yet to charge it, while my iPad2 has been through five charging cycles. Not just charging it when it gets low, but when the battery completely dies out and then I plug it in. I have had the ZAGGfolio for approximately two and a half weeks, and have used it every time I have used my iPad2, which is on a constant basis, every day. The off/on button has not been switched to the “off” position since I first started using the folio, either, as I just fold my iPad2 up in the folio, clasp it shut, and forget about it. Therefore, the only applicable estimate I can give for the battery life of the keyboard is this: OUTSTANDING. The only time I could see one having a problem with the keyboard’s battery dying on them during use would be if a court reporter were to use the keyboard/iPad2 combo to transcribe the court’s proceedings for a couple of weeks without recharging.
It can be summarized like this: Very easy to set up, stylish, comfortable to use, and with more protection than other standard keyboard selections for iPad2. I would choose the ZAGGfolio over the Apple keyboard any day, because the Apple keyboard is not integrated into a case. Being integrated into a case the way the ZAGGfolio is allows you to quickly prop it up, use the keyboard to type a fast response to an e-mail just before you head out the door, and close it back up to toss in your backpack or handbag for quick and easy on-the-go use and convenience. While using the ZAGGfolio in a cafe, I was approached on a couple of different occasions by people asking me “Is that an iPad, or a laptop?” I answered by saying “The best of both!” because the use of the ZAGGfolio essentially turns your iPad2 into a touch-screen laptop that folds up and goes to sleep even more quickly than most currently available laptops, and is far more compact. The ability to pick and choose exactly which parts of the folio I want to use doesn’t hurt, either. Overall, I give this product a 4.75 out of 5 gears. The only thing that I find slightly disappointing about it is that it has rubber guards intended to keep the iPad2 face away from the keys when the folio is closed, and as my iPad2 is also protected by InvisibleSHIELD technology, those rubber bumpers make small indentations on the SHIELD. They do go away after the iPad2 has been out of the folio for a little while, though, so that is the reason behind my small quarter-point deduction.