Once again, we have another iAccessory from NZBargain. This time round, it's a bluetooth keyboard/case/screen protector. You've quite possibly seen something like this before, but let's see how it fares in comparison to some of the other options on the market at the moment.
I probably gave the wrong idea - this isn't going to be a direct comparison article to any other particular bluetooth keyboard. It's more of a value for money thing - can you afford to fork out the $129 that Logitech charge for their bluetooth keyboard, or would you prefer to spend the $65 you can get this one for? And that's really the question, isn't it - why are Logitech charging so much more?
I'm not entirely sure myself, to be honest. Having used both, there really isn't a whole lot of difference. But I'm getting off track here; Lets talk about this particular keyboard. We'll start with build quality, which isn't exactly going to fill the page with words, but it's important nonetheless. After unboxing said keyboard, you're greeted with a hard plastic... Well, a hard plastic keyboard. It's very well put together, quite light-weight, and clips over the screen fo your iPad when you're not using it, acting as a case-come-screen protector of sorts. And all that's well and good, until you try and take it off your iPads screen for the first time. It grips the thing like there's no tomorrow, and you'll most likely spend a fair amount of time trying the brute force technique to remove it. Trust me, it won't work. Once you do develop the required technique to remove the case, it's easy, and you'll be thankful for how well it clings to your iPad, but there is that initial moment of panic. Not necessarily sure this is a flaw so much as an ID-10T moment on my part, but thought it worth mentioning.
Moving on to practicality, which is where this thing really shines. Because it's so small, light, and... grippy, you can have it with you without really adding much extra wait to whatever it is you carry your iPad in. And for those of you who, like me, prefer an actual keyboard to a capacitive screen, that's more than enough reason to get one. The keyboard does have a few quirks, mind you. A couple of keys are too small, or laid out a little awkwardly, although after a few minutes you'll pick up what's what and be tapping away as fast as you would on your home computer. Another nifty little feature it has is the built in batteries that lock your iPad 2 when you clip the keyboard on to it, much like a smart cover. Add to that the built-in, counter-balancing stand, and we've got all the necessary pieces to make a fantastic little bluetooth keyboard.
Battery wise, this thing shines. It's got a 50 day standby lifespan, and only takes 4 hours to charge. Think, people; 50 days. That's almost two months. If only the iPad 2 lasted that long. It comes with a USB cable to charge either via computer or through a wall adaptor (which isn't included), and a little light lets you know once it's done, Again, all rather basic, but it does the job. And in reality, how fancy can a charging light be?
So, in closing, I'll say this. It's not the prettiest keyboard around. And it's not without it's (grippy) flaws. But it's far cheaper than any other bluetooth keyboard that I've personally seen, is easily on par when it comes to performance, and is light-weight enough to have with you always. Which may be the case, if you can't develop the technique to remove it. All jokes aside though, this really is a fantastic case, and you wouldn't be making the wrong decision if you decided to grab one. And if you're interested, you can pick them up over at NZBargain.