The ultimate guide to purchasing the absolute best keyboard case, cover, or folio for the iPad Air
We've been taking a look at several different keyboard cases, covers, and folios for the iPad Air. Now that we've reviewed them all individually, it's time to put them all head to head and see how each stacks up when it comes to design, duarability, keyboard layout, and more. So follow along and see which keyboard case for iPad Air, if any, reigns supreme!
The contenders: Zagg vs. Logitech vs. Belkin
For this comparison, I'll be taking into consideration all of the iPad Air keyboard cases we have reviewed thus far. In case you missed any of our coverage, here are direct links to all the individual reviews:
- ZAGGkeys Folio for iPad Air review
- ZAGGkeys Cover for iPad Air review
- Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air review
- Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air review
- Belkin QODE Slim Style Keyboard Folio for iPad Air review
Both the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio and the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover are made from sturdy plastics, rubber polymers, and brushed aluminum. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is one of the slimmest, if not the slimmest keyboard case on the market for the iPad Air. The outside is a gorgeous brushed aluminum while the inside consists of a plastic keyboard that feels and looks high end. Logitech has also added rubber grips to the outside so the aluminum doesn't get scratched when it's placed on a hard surface. The Ultrathin Keyboard Folio is a grippy plastic material on the outside with the same high end plastic style keyboard on the inside. The iPad is easy to get in and out and doesn't add a huge amount of bulk but provides more protection than a keyboard cover alone would. The Keyboard Cover however, just snaps off which makes it a little easier to get on and off.
Both the ZAGGkeys Folio and the ZAGGkeys Cover are constructed from high quality materials as well. The Folio has a faux leather exterior combined with a two-toned plastic that doesn't feel or look cheap. The Cover has a rubber-padded hinge that allows for multi-angle viewing. The exterior is brushed aluminum like the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and also looks great. Both cases don't add a huge amount of bulk and make your iPad look like a mini laptop when in use. Getting your iPad in and out of either case is simple, which is important if you'll be removing it regularly.
The QODE Slim Style Keyboard Folio by Belkin was my least favorite. Most of the construction is a fabric/rubber material that not only attracts dust like crazy, but just doesn't look and function that great. My biggest peeve is with how you prop up the iPad with the flap in the back. It just feels cheap.
If we're talking overall design, both the Zagg and the Logitech offerings are well thought out and I firmly believe most people would be happy with either. In most cases, which you pick comes down to personal use and what features are more important to you.
Tie between Logitech and Zagg on overall design.
Durability & protection
Most of the time, some kind of case is better than no case. That holds true with all five offerings but if you're looking for heavy duty protection, you can rule out all keyboard cover options as they won't do anything for the back side of the iPad. You'd either need to buy a compatible back cover or take the risk and hope you don't drop it.
That leaves us with the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, the ZAGGkeys Folio, and the Belkin QODE Slim Style Keyboard Cover. As a general rule of physics, rubber absorbs shock better than hard plastic. That means the Ultrathin Keyboard Folio and the Belkin Slim Style Keyboard Folio may hold up slightly better than the ZAGGkeys Folio. I just can't help but feel the faux leather exterior would probably hold its own too.
Tie between all three folio cases by Zagg, Belkin, and Logitech.
The keyboard portion of a keyboard case is arguably the most important part. Right off the bat, I'm eliminating the Belkin QODE Slim Style Keyboard Folio. Why? Because they moved the colon/semi-colon key from its normal position on a keyboard to the bottom row next to the space bar. It makes the keyboard extremely hard to get used to and why Belkin would have made this decision continues to baffle me.
Moving on to both offerings by Zagg and both by Logitech. The next keyboard to go would be the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio. My main reason for eliminating it is because the Caps Lock and Tab keys are shared with the A and Q keys. It's not a terrible inconvenience, but it is harder to get used to. International keyboards also don't have a dedicated button on Logitech's folio option, which could be a deal breaker for those that toggle between keyboards regularly.
Logitech's last keyboard standing is the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I really have no complaints about it. It's easy to type on and has the same great layout its predecessors shared. However, both of Zagg's offerings have a dedicated function row at the top that don't require an Fn key at all in order to use them.
When it comes to keyboard layout and design, Zagg has nailed it.
Both keyboard options from Zagg come in only two colors, black and white. The same thing can be said for the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover by Logitech which also comes in black and white only.
Both the Belkin QODE Slim Style Keyboard Folio and the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio come in multiple colors, including two-tone options. If expressing yourself and not sticking with black and white is important to you, these two options have you covered.
Tie between Belkin and the Logitech Folio option.
I feel the need to mention additional features because it's where Zagg has really set the bar with both the ZAGGkeys Cover and the ZAGGkeys Folio. For starters, the Zagg keyboards are the only ones that feature illuminated backlit keys. Beyond that, you can change the colors of the keys to your liking in just a few taps. If you're planning on doing a lot of typing in a darker environment, Zagg is your best bet.
Zagg has also built in a battery meter right onto the keyboard. Even though most of these keyboard options are rated at 3 months with moderate 2-3 hour a day use, it's always nice to know where you stand battery wise. On the Zagg options, just tap the battery key in the lower left hand corner of the keyboard and you'll know whether you have enough battery to get you through a few hours at the local coffee shop.
Zagg packs the most punch when it comes to features.
For the most part, all five offerings are pretty much neck and neck. Both offerings from Logitech and both from Zagg clock in at $99 plus tax. The Belkin case is the cheapest at $79 but comes at the steep price of design flaws and cheaper materials.
Technically Belkin wins since it's the cheapest but if we're talking value, Zagg's offerings have the best feature set for the price.
The bottom line
It's hard not to recommend the ZAGGkeys Folio and ZAGGkeys Cover over any other offering currently available. With built-in battery meters, backlit keys, and a dedicated row of function keys, it's obvious that a lot of care went into crafting these keyboard cases. They really are that good.
I would however recommend the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover to anyone whose number one priority is having the thinnest and lightest keyboard cover available. Zagg's offering is slightly thicker and a little heavier but provides multiple viewing angles and in my opinion, just looks better overall. I'd only recommend it if thin and lightweight outweigh any other feature or concern.
As far as folio keyboards are concerned, the ZAGGkeys Folio for iPad Air is the best one on the market. If you want a folio case, you want Zagg.