Following on from the success of the larger version for iPad, Logitech has redesigned its Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for the smaller 7.9-inch iPad mini. The bluetooth keyboard greatly enhances the functionality of the iPad mini, making Apple's miniaturised slate into something akin to the Microsoft Surface, or indeed any other tablet/netbook hybrid.
Like the full-sized iPad version, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad mini is a beautifully made tablet accessory. Manufactured from a solid slab, the rear of the keyboard is made from iPad mini-imitating anodised aluminium. When closed in a clam fashion the combination of keyboard and tablet is very aesthetically pleasing. The keyboard itself it surrounded by a glossy finish in either black or white, to suit your particular iPad mini. The keys, meanwhile, are matte plastic in the aforementioned colour schemes.
The keyboard as a whole feels sturdy and robust, mostly due to the metal back panel that makes it feel like an Apple product. The Ultrathin Keyboard compliments the smaller Apple slate too, measuring in at 7.3mm thick and weighing just 208g. This makes it an appealing keyboard accessory for the iPad mini.
When not in use, the keyboard and iPad mini fuse together with a clam design, the keyboard coupling with the tablet via a magnetised hinge to the iPad mini's left hand side. When you feel the need to type, simply disconnect the slate from the keyboard's suitably strong magnetic hinge and fit it into the special groove just above the keyboard. You'll find the iPad mini fits so snugly and securely the two can be manoeuvred as one device with ease.
In the groove, the iPad mini is held in at the perfect angle for watching movies or playing games on the go. Unlike certain other full-sized iPad keyboard covers, the angle isn't adjustable, however it doesn't feel too vertical that we've found ourselves needing to.
Unfortunately, the clamshell design of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard means that the rear of the iPad mini is left exposed, making it susceptible to scratches and marks. It would be advisable to protect the pair with a thin slipcase because of this. The keyboard also lacks a magnet to hold the two devices together when they are closed. However, even when putting the combo loosely into a large bag, we didn't find this to be an issue at all.
Down the right-hand side of the keyboard you'll find a discrete power switch, a microUSB port for charging and a Bluetooth connection button. Like the full-sized iPad version, the mini keyboard comes bundled with a microfibre cleaning cloth and microUSB cable, with the keyboard able to last up to three months on a single charge.
Despite shrinking the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard to fit the iPad mini's 7.9-inch design, Logitech has been careful not to lose any of the functionality found on its full-sized counterpart. We have to admit that, at first, we found the narrow keyboard awkward to use; the keys felt too close together and our fingers kept accidentally coming into contact with the touchscreen and relocating the cursor. However, within an hour of use, our fingers became accustomed to the smaller size and we were back to full typing speeds.
The keys are well spaced despite the smaller form factor and are very responsive to every key press. The number buttons also double up as iOS function keys too, offering access to music navigation, photo slideshows and Siri at the push of a key. Sometimes the backspace key, located in the top right-hand corner felt a little slow, but this may just be a particular issue with our review sample.
The keyboard provides a much more appealing typing experience than the iPad mini's touchscreen alternative, especially when embarking on a particularly long typing session. With great feedback and solid, laptop-like keys, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard is a great addition to the 7.9-inch iPad mini.
The keyboard cover currently retails for £69.99 from the Logitech website. Whilst we understand that this is quite a high entry point for a keyboard cover, we feel that the built quality and usability of the Logitech offering makes it worth the money, especially for anyone who frequently uses their iPad mini as a netbook/laptop alternative.
Despite the fact it doesn't protect the rear of the iPad mini, the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard is a great investment for those looking for a much improved typing experience. The keys are responsive and a pleasure to use, although you may have to exercise a little patience at first to overcome the initially uncomfortable compact size. The viewing angle is also well-chosen, meaning the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard is a great all-round product.