Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad review

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad is slick, sleek, eminently usable and incredibly portable

Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a new implementation of the popular Bluetooth keyboard peripheral for iPad. When on the go, it can be stowed right on your new iPad or iPad 2, just like an Apple Smart Cover, and when in use it can provide a productivity boost for long form writing. But does ultra-portability put a dent in mobile productivity?

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad is the sleekest, most sophisticated Bluetooth keyboard we've tested to date. It does add some bulk and some weight -- it is a keyboard, after all -- but given the Apple-esque aluminum shell and high quality plastic iterior and keys, it's remarkably svelte.

Included in the box is the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad itself, along with a pamphlet, and a micro USB cable so you can plug it into a Mac or Windows PC, or a power adapter, to charge.

Like a Smart Cover, the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover attaches to your iPad 2 or New iPad magnetically and protects the screen (and keys) while closed. The aluminum matches nicely with a naked iPad casing, and wears well. The hinge is plastic instead of metal, but seems strong enough. (Metal would have been nicer.) Also like a Smart Cover, it will automatically sleep your iPad when closed. Carrying it around when closed, it looks and feels like two iPads secured face-to-face.

When you're ready to work, opening the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover turns on your iPad. Unlike a laptop, however, you have to remove your iPad from the magnetic hinge and reposition it in the magnetic slot. (There's also no trackpad.) While you could place your iPad in portrait orientation, and it will hold it, the Ultrathin is designed for landscape use.

Pairing is simple, with no pin required. After switching it on and tapping a few times in Settings, you're fit to type.

Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover doesn't make for a full sized keyboard like you'll find on a MacBook Air. It's closer to a small netbook keyboard. However, the keyboard is done in the current Apple chicklet style, so while the scale is smaller the feel is not dissimilar.

Unlike some other Bluetooth keyboard for iPad, the Logitech Ultrathin doesn't include a set of dedicated function keys. There is a dedicated Home key, but otherwise a Function key modifier lets you use the number keys to send commands like Spotlight Search, Switch language, show/hide the virtual Keyboard, increase Text Selection by one word to the left or right, Cut, Copy, or Paste, Play/Pause music, Mute volume, increase or decrease volume, or Lock or un-Lock your iPad.

There are also alt/option, ctrl, cmd, and arrow keys, and the iPad supports a lot of commond text editing commands and coventions, allowing you to type fairly closely to how you would on a traditional personal computer.

Logitech promises a battery life of 6 months, based on 2 hours of usage a day. That translates to 1.5 months at 8 hours a day. Since the Ultrathin Keyboard hasn't been on the market long enough to test those claims, we'll have to revisit that part of the review at a later date. Suffice it to say, it will last a good while under normal usage.

The good

  • Thin, light, and georgous looking
  • Excellent typing experience
  • Smart Cover-like design is both ultra-portable and protective

The bad

  • No dedicated function key row

The bottom line

I've used the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for going on a week now, mostly for pounding out iMore articles using Elements. (And yes, I used it to write this very review.)

There are cases that let you use computer keyboard, like the Origami and Apple keyboard combo, and there are keyboards that are integrated into more traditional style cases, like the Adonit Writer Plus.

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover isn't either of those things. If you're looking for a ultra portable, ultra stylish, ultra functional Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad, one that's as well designed as it is built, then look no further -- the Logitech Ultrathin Keybord Cover is it.

$98.95 - Buy now (opens in new tab)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Looks good. Is there a review for the Logitech keyboard case? It has a dedicated function key row and I would like to see how the two stand against one another.
  • This keyboard looks slick. If I hadn't already bought an Apple Bluetooth keyboard I would definitely be getting one.
  • iPads are retarded, now even more so.
    A FULLY functional cd burning laptop is cheaper.
    Giant iPod touch with physical keyboard? I think NOT. Lame.
    On another note, business men love to milk dumb ego driven fanboys.
  • @ MSM.......Genius take, jerk wad. Must have taken you quite a while thinking up that gem.
    Only thing is I can't have the five seconds back that it took to read your drivel. Take your "PC" and go burn some CD's ona another forum. Lug that piece of crap laptop around as you wish, and in the fifteen minutes it takes for it to boot up I will have already lapped your tired arse.
  • While both of you are just in your opinions, "dixie" has a valid point: As a student, I used my ipad to take notes, etc. All I had to do is press on and there it goes, ready to go when I am. The importance of speed on boot up probably isn't important to everybody, but I love iPad and it has done me well.
  • Oh, babubabubububu bababubu — isn't he such a cute little thing? Bababububu!
  • If you're still burning CDs, an iPad isn't for you, therefore, neither is a keyboard for one. If you take advantage of online streaming and storage, and are interested in extreme mobility, the iPad is a great choice. I prefer to use mine w/out a physical keyboard in most cases, but when attending conferences, traveling, or taking notes in random meetings the physical keyboard is nice, and allows me to to do just about anything I can do on any of my laptops, without have to lug them around. Laptops are the new desktop...for heavy lifting when you're not on the move.
  • What do you do with it when you don't want to use the keyboard? Does it fold back discreetly behind the iPad, or do you basically have to remove it and set it aside?
  • You need to set the cover aside. This is probably it's only major flaw, (but isn't a terrible one)
    I am liking mine so far.
  • Thanks Rene, this review was great however I couldn't wait to get it.
    I'm typing on one right now and I'd had my eye on it for a few months... I'd seen it on the logitech website and it always said pre-order. I assumed it hadn't come out yet but when browsing in a Best-Buy I noticed they had two in stock and immediately picked one up.
    I dont mind the nondedicated function keys at all.. the compactness of the keyboard is the biggest thing that might had been hard to work with but I also have smaller hands so, not that bad.
    I have found myself using my (new) iPad on the couch and my on screen keyboard not showing up while my keyboard was in the kitchen so.. if you are done with the keyboard or dis attach it make sure to go ahead and turn off the keyboard.
    @ Justin:
    i use the keyboard as a stand even when its not in use.. however if you want to hold the pad in your hands then you do basically have to set the keyboard aside.
    why are you here if you don't like iPads or apple?
    i think this keyboard also works with cases that cover just the back of your Pad and also work with smart covers because of the keyboard attaching via the magnet strip like a SC.
    if you're not sure about this keyboard..
    i say 6 months of battery and protection for you iPad's front.. come on. a must have.
  • I bought the Zagg keyboard, and carbon case. Did not really like the case. The keyboard has to be the Logitech. Has the same look. At the time Best Buy was out of the everything but the Zagg keyboard, and case. I use it all the time, and have yet to charge it. The nice thing, it has the function keys which is nice. I like the smart cover, and use the Incipio transparent back cover that works with the smart cover. The cover does not get in the way when putting the iPad in the keyboard. Seems like they all cost in the 90's, with a case. When you need to do word docs, and long writing, a keyboard is nice, but it is also nice to just use the iPad for fun, by it self.
  • Here is my review from Amazon. I compare this keyboard with the Zagg Folio:
    This review is from: Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad 2 and New iPad (920-004013) (Personal Computers)
    I will say up front that I am comparing this item to the Zagg folio keyboard case. I originally bought the ZFKC and liked it very much. It is the best portable keyboard I have ever used by far. It had a couple of issues for me, but overall, is an outstanding product. That said, I found it just a tad thicker and heavier than I liked. The added protection probably makes it a good trade off for most people. I found it a bit annoying to detach the iPad from the case, as there is no good way to use the iPad as an iPad while in the case. Finally, I found the stance of the iPad when typing, to be unsuited for lap use. If it will be on a flat table, then all is well. If you use it in your lap or while mobile, the iPad is easily dislodged from the slot. I was going to try and modify the case with some magnetic tape had I decided to keep it.
    As for the Ultrathin...
    It has a host of issues as well. For starters, the keyboard is not as good as the ZF. The keys are smaller, closer together, and missing the top row of function keys. The ZF has a descrete row of function keys so that you never have to use the function button. The Ultrathin is lacking that row, so doubles the numeric row with functions, thus requiring you to press the function key plus a number to do things like change the volume. That's annoying, but not a deal breaker. The magnetic hinge on the Ultrathin is not strong enough. Carrying in a certain way can easily cause the two pieces to separate in your hand. The magnet that closes the lid is also not strong enough. It can come slightly open in your bag and leave the screen on for hours when you think it is securely closed. I have had to add a lock screen password to keep that from happening. Also, the outer material of the cover can be easily scratched.
    With all that going against it, there are a couple of features that make it my choice for an iPad keyboard. First, the total package is thinner and lighter, and frankly, looks magnificent. I carry my iPad everywhere and write often. Second, the iPad detaches easily from the case, so I can use it without the keyboard with ease. Finally, the Ultrathin has a magnetic strip where the iPad is seated. It literally locks into place. Regardless of what angle it rests on your lap while in motion, and being jostled, the iPad is not going anywhere. If the battery life claim turns out to be half true, that is a huge plus. Also, if you want to work with the iPad in the vertical position, that is easy to do with the Ultrathin.
    Bottom line
    There are trade-offs with both cases. For pure typing productivity, nothing beats the ZF. As a touch typist, I can go full speak on that rig. I drop to about 85% with the Ultrathin. Still, for my particular usage style. The Ultrathin fits better for me. I find myself in many situations where I need to do some writing, but am not at a table. I am definitely looking forward to the next iteration of this product.
  • @MSN: If you are having so much with your $600 laptop, doing cutting edge tasks no doubt like burning DVD's, why are you trolling posts for accessories for a product you think is retarded in the full place. I say you must certainly lead a full and productive life!
    Anyway, I grabbed this keyboard at Best Buy a week ago and it doesn't dissappoint. It's the BEST iPad physical keyboard that I've used and do see it gettig any better than this for a long time.
    Good review Rene.
  • This is a product of form and function. If you feel the need of a keyboard, a stand, and a protective case this looks like good solution. For the business traveler or vacationing nerd this would be a great compact traveling partner. Not too sure of the price but it looks like a quality product. Can't wait to get my hands on one.
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  • THERE APPEARS TO BE A PROBLEM with the function keys. I was setting up a gmail account and I was continually getting an incorrect login or password error. I was very carefully entering in the id/pw information and it was not being accepted. After 30-40 minutes of trying, I entered the information using the iPad's virtual touch keyboard and BINGO...it worked!!!
    All of the Logitech keys appear to work (the characters entered show up on the screen) but apparently something gets lost in the translation. I believe that the culprit in my case is the # symbol that is causing the problem. I am left wondering how deep rooted this problem is. Does it extend to all of the other function/symbol keys? If I try to print something, will any letters, numbers or symbols show up as a blank? Same question if texting using the logitech keyboard. Will the characters show on my screen, but arrive as blanks on the receivers screen?
    I am amazed that Logitech is so careless they could build and sell this keyboard without comprehensive and adequate testing and quality control procedure.
  • I have now had my keyboard for about 6 months. As it says on the tin, the battery on its first charge lasted around 5 months and I was using it 1.5-2 hours a day. However, now we are at the business end, the frustration starts. I cannot get the keyboard to hold its charge for more than 3 - 4 days on a full charge. I have tried through the USB and through mains in case there were issues there, and have left it anywhere from 6 hours to 48 hours at a time, but it seems to refuse to want to function for more than days at a time....anyone else having this issue, because I am about to contact Logitech to vent....
  • I have loved my keyboard for about a year now but all of a sudden it is randomly inserting numbers while I am typing. I can't use it now. What is wrong?