I've reviewed a lot of iPad keyboard cases over the years, finding some that are amazing (the four-star rated US$169 ClamCase Pro for iPad Air, for example), and some that aren't that great. The new Logitech Type+ for iPad Air (US$99.99) is a billed as a protective case with an integrated keyboard. Surprisingly, I found the Type+ to actually be as good as the ClamCase Pro, with a few bonus features that may throw it into my top spot for iPad Air keyboard cases.
- Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.2 x .71 inches (255.9 x 183.4 x 18.1 mm)
- Weight: 14.29 ounces (405 grams)
- Colors: black and red
The Type+ reminds me of some of Logitech's older keyboard designs, but the company has taken feedback on the earlier keyboards to heart and resolved issues that those models seemed to have.
The iPad Air is held into place by two polycarbonate clips that hold the right side of the device. It's easy to slide the iPad in and out of the case when you need to, but otherwise it is held very securely.
The Type+ is a bifold design with the device on one side and the keyboard on the other. When you open the case, the device turns on; closing the case shuts the iPad off. There is a strong magnet that holds the iPad into an upright position for typing, and the keyboard can also be folded back out of the way for comfortable non-keyboard usage.
On the outside of the case is a water-resistant material that should help the Type+ shake off the occasional spill. The Type+ comes in either basic black or a vibrant and attractive red.
The keyboard itself is very standard, with all of the keys right where you'd expect to find them on a desktop or laptop keyboard. Rather than the function keys you'd find on an Apple Wireless Keyboard, there's the now-standard set of iOS function keys. Those keys are separate from the number keys, so there's no need to push a Fn key prior to accessing one of those functions.
The keys are black, the letters white, and the combo looks good.
As I've noted in other iPad keyboard case reviews, things that I really look for are the typing feel, how well the device turns on and off by itself (if it's designed to do so), and how well the function keys do what they're supposed to do. I also try the keyboard case out on a table, on a lap, and (if it's possible) folded into a "tablet-only" mode.
The typing feel of the Type+ is incredibly good. It has a light touch, yet I found the spacing of the keys to be such that I wasn't accidentally typing characters. If your hands get tired after a lot of typing, you're going to like the fact that your fingers aren't going to have to press down extra hard to finish a keystroke.
As for turning on and off, this is about the most simple design I've seen for a keyboard. There's no on/off switch at all. When you open the Type+, the iPad turns on. Place the left side of the iPad onto the magnetic bar to put the device into a typing position, and the single LED turns green to indicate that the keyboard has power, then blue to indicate the Bluetooth connection. The keyboard quickly turns off when the iPad is moved out of the propped-up typing position.
That method of turning the Type+ on and off also keeps the iPad from turning on in transit, something I had seen with other keyboards that turned on when the case was slightly ajar.
The function keys work very well, with a fast response that's lacking on some other keyboard cases. From left to right, there's a Home button key, a "double-tap" key that brings up the list of running apps and (on iOS 8) your Favorites and Recents. Next, there's a dedicated Siri key, followed by a Spotlight key.
The next two keys let you switch virtual keyboards (i.e., regular and Emoji) and actually bring the virtual keyboard up onto the screen. I've found this useful sometimes when login screens don't want to take input from a real keyboard.
I really came to like the dedicated screenshot key, which performs the task of holding down the Home and sleep/wake buttons simultaneously. There are three keys for music or video playback (rewind, play/pause, fast forward) and then three sound keys (mute, lower volume, raise volume). Last but not least is the lock button, located right under the LED.
On a desktop or table, the Type+ holds the iPad Air screen at an angle that's perfect for typing. You can't change that angle, which is probably about the only negative with the Type+. I found that the Type+ also worked well as a "laptop", with the magnetic bar holding the iPad firmly in place as I typed. Once again, the inability to change the angle of the screen may be a downfall to some users.
When folded into the "tablet only" position, the keyboard turns itself off and holding the iPad in the case is quite comfortable. With the ClamCase Pro, I always need to remember to turn off the keyboard when using the iPad in a "tablet only" mode or my fingers end up typing nonsense...
A couple more comparisons with my current favorite keyboard, the ClamCase Pro. It weighs 19.2 ounces, while the Type+ is a light 14.3 ounces by comparison. The Type+ is slightly wider by .36 inches, which allows some keys (delete, backslash, tilde) to be slightly larger and easier to hit with your pinkies. That extra width also provides drop protection by creating a quarter-inch gap between the edge of the case and the iPad itself. While the ClamCase may be constructed of polycarbonate and aluminum, I think the design of the Type+ could provide some really good drop protection for the iPad with less weight.
A final comparison - the battery life of the Type+ is calculated as three months based on two hours of use per day. That calculates out to about 180 hours of use. The ClamCase Pro for iPad Air provides about 100 hours of use time.
With a low price tag, a solid automatic keyboard on/off mechanism, a great typing feel, good looks, and better battery life and less weight than the leading competitor, the Logitech Type+ for iPad Air moves into a tie for the top keyboard case for Apple's flagship tablet with the ClamCase Pro for iPad Air. The one negative - an inability to swivel the iPad to a variety of angles - is countered by all of the other positive aspects of this keyboard case.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible