ZAGGkeys Folio for iPad Air review

The ZAGGkeys Folio for iPad Air by Zagg is their newest offering for Apple's newest iPad. This case features back illumination, a full, dedicated row of iPad specific function keys, a battery meter, and an elegant and attractive design. Overall, it looks great... but does it work just as well? Let's find out!

I've been using the ZAGGkeys Folio for a few days now as my main keyboard case on my iPad Air. I do a lot of writing on my iPad, especially when I want to hammer out a bunch of text without being distracted. I've written tons of articles for iMore on my iPad, including this review.

After using the ZAGGkeys Folio as my main option for iPad writing, I've found that not only does it have an appealing and slim design, but it's one of the best laid out keyboards I've used thus far. Starting with the actual keyboard itself, since it is the most important part, the top row of function keys are well thought out when it comes to how we use iOS. You've got shortcut keys for the Home button, Lock button, copy/paste, Siri, volume controls, and more all within a finger's reach away. Most keyboard cases tend to use an Fn key opposed to a dedicated row and while it works, it's nowhere near as conveinent and easy to use.

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review: Keyboard layout

The ZAGGkeys Folio is also one of the only offerings I was able to find that features illuminated backlit keys. If you travel frequently or find yourself wanting to write at night, the illuminated keys are a godsend. There's been a time or two that I've been on a plane and wanted to get some writing done but didn't want to haul out my entire laptop. The iPad is just so much more convenient when space is an issue. When flying at night, seeing function keys and shortcuts isn't the easiest thing in the world. It's not an issue any longer with the backlit keys option. Tap between three different brightness settings or turn them off in just a tap. Since the backlit key option is right next to the space bar, it's easy to toggle it on and off quickly. You can even change the colors by holding down the lightbulb key while the backlight is on and tapping the left arrow key to cycle between colors.

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review: Closed top view

The materials used for the case itself aren't cheap and feel high quality. The case comes in both white and black. The white version that I've been reviewing is actually two-toned white and grey. The trim that runs along the edges is a tasteful grey plastic while the interior is a faux leather white material. Over time, my only concern is whether or not the white portions will show signs of age by becoming yellowed or dingy from the oils on your hands or dirt on tabletops. That's something we'll have to wait and see about.

The good

  • Illuminated keys for typing in dimly lit environments, change the colors by holding down the lightbulb key and left arrow simultaneously
  • Battery indicator light on the keyboard that quickly tells you where you stand battery wise, not something a lot of keyboard cases feature
  • Slim design that still manages to add quite a bit of protection to both the front and rear of the iPad Air
  • Dedicated top row of function keys makes quick access to commmon iOS tasks a breeze
  • Small cutouts around the dock don't seem to block sound, but project it towards you, even though the speakers are technically covered by the case

The bad

  • Case doesn't sit perfectly flush on the side that opens and while it isn't a huge deal, it may bother some people
  • Charge port doesn't take a lot of third party cables, so you most likely need to use the cable that came with your iPad Air or take off the case to charge it
  • Hinge design where you lift to open seems backwards to me and sits on the bottom instead of the top, but that could just be my preference more than anything

The bottom line

If you're looking for a sleek keyboard case for your iPad Air that not only adds protection but looks good while doing it, look no further than the ZAGGkeys Folio. It's also one of the only options with a dedicated battery meter and illuminated backlit keys.

$99 - Buy Now

See also:

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review: Hinge view

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review: Bottom view

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review: Side view

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review

Zagg Keys Folio for iPad Air review

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • I really like this case. After test driving several, this is the one I ended up keeping for many of the same reasons mentioned. If I may add two positives - the case acts in Smart Cover fashion and puts the iPad to sleep when you close the lid, and wakes it back up when you open the lid. Also, the keyboard backlighting features multiple colors that you can toggle through. The only negative I have found is that sometimes the keys double strike and I get duplicate letters. I don't know if that is an anomaly of my case, or a prevailing issue. Still, I highly recommend this keyboard. I can type it on almost as fact as my full sized keyboard. Personally, I also think the Ipad/Folio combination creates a very cute looking "laptop" also.
  • How do you toggle different colors?! I know you can change the brightness level, i do not see other color options? As for the duplicate letters, i've gotten that on all cases from time to time. More to do with the connection I think than anything else.
  • Hold down the lightbulb button and simultaneously press the left arrow
  • whattttt.. i have NO idea how i missed that! You rock! Thanks, and added it in :)
  • All Bluetooth keyboards double strike. I've used many Bluetooth keyboards, including the Apple keyboard, and you have the same issue from time to time.
  • Yep agreed, Never had one that didn't do it a time or two here and there. Heck, I've even had it happen on my Macs sometimes.
  • Thanks for the review. How easy is it to remove and insert the iPad? I do that daily with my current case.
  • Very easy. Just a clip at the top, gently pull it back and the iPad slides right out.
  • Just a head-up, the notch where you grab to open the case is in a consistent position with the MacBook air. Due to that, I'm under the impression that it is by design. Great review.
  • Yeah, I noticed that. The Apple logo is probably the only thing that keeps me from wanting to open that upside down too :P
  • I have this case , and I like it, however my iPad Air now has TONS of micro scratches along the bottom where the hinge is. I'm guess this is where tiny dust particles have gotten in between the plastic of the case and the iPad's screen and rubbed together over and over. It makes me sad that my new shiny baby is no longer new and shiny due to these scratches.
  • screen or bezel?
  • I like. I want. I shall procure. (Haha)
    Nice review Ally, thanks.
    No Zagg give-away contest? :-) Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for the review and great video! Looks like solid keyboard case. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great review!!! I'm definitely getting one for my mom
  • my biggest is swiping up to get to the control center. It takes multiple tries; I've learned to just rotated the iPad to portrait mode to get to control center. Minor, I know, but irritating at times.
  • I didn't have any issues swiping up but i can see where the hinge may create an issue for people who don't have tiny fingers.
  • Great review. I like that it has illuminated keys. Aside from its usefulness when you're on a dimly lit environment, it looks fancier too.
  • Hey Ally, do the keyboard buttons hit the screen when it is closed. Do you recommend getting a screen protector for someone who uses this keyboard case? Sent from the iMore App
  • Nah, all keyboard cases may touch it lightly but they won't scratch it by any means.
  • Ally, do you think this can be a laptop substitute if you have a desktop?
  • What you're leaving out is that the keyboard doesn't open all the way enabling the user to use the iPad like a tablet. Every other folio allows this that I'm aware of (Logitech, Belkin, etc.). Without this ability you've effectively turned your iPad into a notebook. I think that's called a "MacBook Air."
  • It looks like this case completely covers up the speakers on the iPad. Is it noticeably muffled?
  • How rugged is the case? In particular, if it gets dropped on its corner, is there enough cushion/protection to prevent the screen from cracking?