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Logitech's Ultrathin mini keyboard cover makes the wrong tradeoffs

Lex Friedman | Feb. 26, 2013
In his review of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for full-size iPads (rated 4 out of 5), my friend and colleague Dan Frakes described that accessory as making the right compromises for an iPad keyboard case. Which, since the debut of the iPad mini, has had many people anxiously awaiting a smaller version. Unfortunately, the iPad mini's size presents additional challenges when it comes to physical keyboards, and Logitech's sequel for the iPad mini, the $80 Ultrathin Keyboard mini, makes some of the wrong tradeoffs. The result is a keyboard cover that offers different frustrations than typing with the mini's onscreen keyboard, but not necessarily less

To its credit, the Ultrathin mini does offer a variety of iPad-specific keyboard shortcuts: There's a dedicated Home button key in the upper-left corner, along with a slew of Fn-key-activated shortcuts for functions such as Siri, Spotlight, brightness level, and volume.

Bottom line

We haven't yet seen a good iPad mini keyboard case that fits the iPad mini's footprint: Every vendor whose keyboard matches the size of the tablet has opted for some combination of tiny keys, cramped key spacing, and a non-standard layout. The Ultrathin mini is no exception. (The best ones we've seen have opted to make the keyboard larger than the iPad mini itself--the approach taken by Zagg's ZaggKeys Mini 9.) Though my intent was to write this review using the Ultrathin mini, I couldn't make it through. The keys are just too cramped, and too many are too small, for me to use it for long-form typing.

If you use a hunt-and-peck approach to typing, the tradeoffs inherent to the Ultrathin mini may be worth the payoff of the slim and lightweight approach. And the product's design and construction are otherwise solid, earning it our 2.5 rating. But if you're a touch-typist like me, I can't recommend the Ultrathin mini--as much as I understand why Logitech made such tradeoffs, that understanding doesn't help me type with any less frustration.

(We'll be updating our iPad keyboard buying guide next month with recommendations for iPad mini keyboards, as well as with updated recommendations for keyboards for the standard iPad. Stay tuned.)


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