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

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.