Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad
Typical Price: $99.99
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: The Solar Keyboard Folio charges using everyday light, has an excellent keyboard, and can automatically turn on and off and pair when the iPad's in range.
The bad: The outer case material feels flimsier then you'd expect for a $130 product, and the case feels too floppy to use for comfortable non-keyboarded iPad use.
The bottom line: Logitech's clever Solar Keyboard Folio hooks iPad users up with a quality typing experience on the go, no USB charger required: it really does work as advertised.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
There's genius in Logitech's Solar Keyboard Folio for the iPad: no one wants another gadget to charge. So, why not use the power of the sun to charge it instead? The gadget in this case is a keyboard case, designed to fit around an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad like a book cover. The iPad has tons of keyboard case solutions, but this is the first solar-powered one I've ever reviewed.
The keyboard has no AC charger, and no hole for an adapter. Bonded to the inside of the Keyboard Folio's cover-flap, the keyboard is comfortably wide, made of plastic, and has taller keys with more travel than accessories like the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I actually preferred the typing experience on shallower Keyboard Cover's keys, but it's still very good here.
The other genius idea in this case is its automatic pairing process: insert an iPad into the hard rubberized shell bonded to the thinly upholstered Folio, bend it into keyboard position by slotting two jutting feet onto the end into slots above the keys, and the keyboard turns on and starts pairing. It happens seemingly by magic.
Those who find the idea of no backup USB charging option might start panicking, but Logitech promises that a fully charged Folio will last for two years when typing two hours a day. Charging takes up to six hours in dim light but "much faster" in brighter light. In our office-use tests, the Folio seemed good to go after a few hours. There's no charge-status indicator, so it's a bit of a leap of faith.
There are two positions the Keyboard Folio can sit in: keyboard mode, and a more reclined media-viewing mode, about 45 degrees. The iPad covers all the keyboard keys except the bottom row, and -- clever, again -- the keys switch function to media-control buttons. The arrow keys now control volume and fast-forward/rewind, and the space bar plays and pauses. Lift the Folio up off the notches that the feet rest in, and the keys revert back to normal function by themselves.
What's not so genius is this case's $129 price...and its faltering case design. The entire outer material feels flimsy, as if cut from a single sheet of upholstery fabric. It actually holds up well when the folio is closed flat or opened up into keyboard mode -- when closed, the whole package rests firmly and nests solidly like a book -- but anything in-between feels loose and floppy.
The heavy keyboard bonded to the folio's inside lid makes the whole package feel extremely impractical for basic iPad reading use in everyday situations.
Don't get me wrong: the Solar Keyboard Folio looks great in keyboard mode, and has a sharp clean design that makes even these photos look extremely attractive...but that thin outer fabric made it feel, for me, less impressive than it looked.
You can fold the cover around the back and hold the whole package in one hand, but then the keyboard keys are exposed in the back (but deactivated), and it all feels awkward. There's also a large tubular battery that, when folded up properly, rests to the side of the iPad when closed in folio mode, but when opening and closing, tended to jam against the iPad's screen. I don't know why this Folio's battery couldn't have fit into the keyboard housing alone, like on other cases.
I also feel concerned about the placement of the solar panel: it's on the back of the case, which ends up being the bottom when folded in keyboarded desk use. The panel's covered in flexible plastic that scratches easily and is oddly flexible. Dust started collecting under the surface in our review version. I'd be worried about placing the case in a wet spot on a coffee-shop table and damaging the panel.
It's great that you don't have to charge the Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio. Even better, it's eco-friendly. I'm just not wild about a keyboard case called a folio that doesn't work well in folio mode. You'll want to pop your iPad out when you're not using the keyboard, and I'm not sure over time whether that would weaken and stretch the rubberized outer ring that the iPad slots into. If you can forgive that, this keyboard has some impressive tricks up its sleeve, and the fold-down media-view mode is a great bonus. I'd be tempted to wait for a more refined version, but road warriors who want one less charging cable might like it perfectly well as it is.
|Product Description||Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio - Keyboard|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||16.9 in x 7 in x 10 in|
|Connectivity Technology||Wireless - Bluetooth|
|Wireless Receiver||USB wireless receiver|
|Features||On/off power switch, Light-powered, Integrated tablet stand|
|Manufacturer Warranty||2 years warranty|
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 2
4 Star: 0
3 Star: 0
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 0
Expensive, but makes iPad a laptop replacement,
Rating: 5 / 5
on April 2, 2013
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: full keyboard, nice materials, not too bulky, never needs to charge the keyboard, I always get complements when I take it out to use it
Summary: Amazing product. I am very happy that I bought it. Allowed me to not buy a laptop for over a year. I used this to take notes in class, watch movies in the incline mode, and surf websites aka IT MAKES IT ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE A LAPTOP!
This is the best keyboard/case combo for my iPad.
Rating: 5 / 5
on August 16, 2012
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: -The keyboard is very easy to get used to.
-The keys feel sturdy and very nicely spaced.
-The space bar is is excellently sized.
-The case feels very smooth and everything just wipes right off.
-Never needs charged, never think about the battery.
Cons: Nothing to complain about so far.
Summary: This is anexcellent choice if you are looking for a keyboard/case combination for your iPad. It is portable and easy to use. As soon as you take it out of the case it pairs to my iPad. Didn't have to do a thing. If you can afford this, get it!