If you have been looking for a bluetooth keyboard case for your iPad or iPad 2 you will most likely have come across some that look exactly alike with the only difference being the packaging and branding. It seems multiple companies purchase the same generic bluetooth iPad keyboard case to rebrand as their own, or they make slight changes to the case design but use the same silicone keyboard.
I found one of these generic bluetooth iPad keyboard cases while shopping at a Kohls store. The branding on the package is by Innovative Technology (it.). While I am not 100% sure, I do believe you will also find the exact or very similar bluetooth iPad keyboard case under the following names: Kensington Keyfolio, Luxor, Koolertron, Gembox, and GSI.
I must state that the following review is for the Innovative Technology (it.) bluetooth iPad keyboard case and while it is very likely that all the brands stated above will share the same pro / cons, I cannot be sure without testing them.
Once I removed the outer plastic wrap from the Innovate Technology branded iPad keyboard case I was overwhelmed with an intense rubber-tire-like chemical smell. My guess is that the silicone keyboard out-gasses fumes that mix with the smell of the synthetic leather used on the case. With the case wrapped up tightly in plastic it just creates this disgusting concoction that bombards your nostrils when you open it. In order to even use this keyboard case without covering my nose I had to let it air out outside for awhile.
Padded Faux Leather – iPad Protection
Once I was able to stand next to it without feeling lightheaded, the first thing I noticed was that the padded faux leather case offers much greater protection for the iPad. I would definitely trust my iPad in this case much more so than the Adonit Writer iPad 2 keyboard case we reviewed.
While the case does have a magnetic clasp to keep the case closed, it does not contain any magnets to automatically awake or put to sleep your iPad like Apple’s SmartCover does.
Although the buttons, docking port and headphone jack are accessible when the iPad is in the case, there is no open hole for the iPad 2′s camera. This case must be designed for the original iPad as it didn’t have a camera. The case fits the iPad 2 without issue though. Although I can’t test it, it should also fit the new iPad (2012) without any problem as I believe it is still slimmer than the original iPad.
The top of the silicone keyboard has a set of raised areas that allows for the case to be propped up at various angles while in use. I found that the Adonit Writer offered a wider selection of operating angles.
It appears that the silicone keyboard is glued down to the case, and can’t be easily removed.
Connecting the Bluetooth Keyboard to the iPad
Once I switched the keyboard on, it was very easy to connect it to the iPad 2 using the bluetooth settings screen.
Keyboard / Typing Feel
The keyboard is almost entirely made of silicone. All the keys are sealed together. What’s great about this is the silicone doesn’t scratch up your iPad’s screen when you shut the case. Also, if you spill food or drinks on the keyboard you can easily clean it right up. You will never have liquid seeping under the keys causing the keyboard to stop functioning.
The delete key is much larger than that on the Adonit Writer and I found I prefer this larger version.
One of the most important aspects of an iPad keyboard case is how it feels while typing. The problem with having a silicone keyboard is it drastically changes the sensation of typing compared with using a normal desktop or laptop keyboard. The silicone keys are extremely mushy. For example, if you hit any key off center, the key flops down only in the corner your finger is putting pressure on. It is a very odd sensation. As you are typing your fingers almost feel wobbly. I also kept feeling as though I would need to press the keys down harder. While I was able to type at a normal speed, I just couldn’t get past the odd squishy feeling of the keys.
Battery Life / Charging
The keyboard has an LED light for power and charge indictaion. The built-in rechargable battery is stated to last 40+ hours. To recharge the battery, you plug the included keyboard cable into a powered USB port, either on your laptop or desktop for 3 hours. What I hate about this is you need to carry around a charging cord — something that is easily lost. I greatly prefer the replaceable battery that the Adonit Writer uses.
If I was looking to purchase a bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad, iPad 2, or possibly the new iPad (if it fits) I’d only suggest getting this generic keyboard case if:
- It was on sale (around $30 or less).
- You absolutely need a spill-proof keyboard.
However, don’t buy it if any of the below cons would bother you:
- Extremely mushy / floppy keys.
- Silicone emits awful smell at least for a while.
- Need to carry around extra cable to charge the keyboard.
- Doesn’t have auto on/off when you open/close the case.
- Case doesn’t have an opening for the camera.
If you don’t need a spill-proof keyboard and don’t mind a little less protection for your iPad, I would go with the Adonit Writer.