The transformation of the iPad Air into the iPad Air 2 forced case manufacturers to go back to the drawing board, but that's not always a bad thing. With each iteration of case, the product usually gets better. That's the situation with Belkin's Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 (US$149.99), which has emerged from a redesign truly deserving of the name "Ultimate Pro". Let's take a look, then enter for an opportunity to win a Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for your iPad Air 2.
- Dimensions: 9.72 x 7.09 x .71 inches(24.7 x 18 x 1.8 cm)
- Weight: 17.28 ounces (490 grams)
- Bluetooth Pairing: Bluetooth Smart pairing with up to 2 devices
- Battery Life: Up to one year
The Qode Ultimate Pro looks like a pretty standard iPad keyboard case until you examine it closely. The iPad Air 2 is encased in a polycarbonate shell (white or black) for protection, and that shell can be removed from the keyboard by simply pulling the iPad away - magnets hold the two together. Bring the iPad Air 2 back in the vicinity of the "hinge" and they stick together, either in landscape or portrait orientation. The magnets that are built into the iPad Air 2 are used to keep the tablet in one of several positions.
The keyboard/screen protector is made of aluminum, and there are rubber "feet" that keep the keys from touching the iPad screen. Inside the case is a battery that's designed to give you almost a year between charges in normal usage.
One thing that I was happy to see is that there is no power switch on the keyboard as it's designed to turn on and off automatically. This seems to be a feature that is becoming common with the better keyboard cases on the market.
The keyboard has all of the keys in the traditional locations, but does not use a separate row for the iPad function keys - instead, those keys share space with the number key row. The caps lock and tab keys are rather small and may be an issue for some users. The keyboard is backlit, with three possible brightness settings.
I found the feel of the keyboard to be acceptable, but a bit more "springy" than other keyboards with less of a positive feedback. As with all keyboards, you may wish to try out the Qode Ultimate Pro for yourself prior to purchase since everyone has their own take on what the "perfect" keyboard feels like.
Unfortunately, I don't have an iPad Air 2 nor is my employer going to purchase one for me, so I had to do all of my testing with an ancient, fat and heavy iPad Air. The Qode Ultimate Pro Case can be used as a standalone Bluetooth keyboard simply by removing the device, then folding the "hinge" flap under the keyboard. That made it quite easy to try out the keyboard with my original iPad Air.
One thing I find interesting is that if you decide you don't need to use the keyboard and you happen to have an Apple Smart Cover, you can pull the keyboard off and replace it with the Smart Cover.
I like the fact that the case can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. I've often thought that writing in apps like Pages or Microsoft Word for iPad in portrait mode would be much more "natural looking".
The Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case is a bit heavier than other keyboard cases for the iPad Air, so if carrying a few more ounces is an issue for you, it might be a good idea to look into some of our other keyboard case reviews to find a lighter model.
The dual pairing feature is definitely a nifty idea - I found it fun to switch between iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus with the push of the function key and one of two Bluetooth keys.
The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 provides amazing battery life, dual device Bluetooth pairing, the ability to type in either landscape or portrait orientation, and backlit keys. It's a bit heavy, though, so those who are concerned about carrying extra ounces might want to peruse other keyboard cases before buying. Small caps lock and tab keys may also be an issue for some users.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
Have a nice new iPad Air 2 that you'd like to pair up with a Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case? TUAW and Belkin want you to have one. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before December 12, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case valued at $149.99
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.