Connecting a keyboard to a tablet goes a long way toward making the tablet more like a laptop. But one keyboard, the Zagg iPad Mini Folio, takes it a step further with one small refinement: a hinge that allows you to set the screen to any angle, just as you would with a laptop.
Most keyboard covers, which close over the screen when the tablet is not in use, have a way to stand the tablet at a single angle. Those keyboard covers — including some by Zagg — usually have one advantage over the new Folio, however. Those with single position slots let you stand the tablet up horizontally or vertically, while the Zagg Folio has only a horizontal orientation.
Outside of that, the Folio makes the iPad Mini so much like a laptop that I kept fumbling for the touchpad control (there isn’t one, of course), rather than immediately reaching for the touch screen.
The Folio adds only a little bit to the outside edges of the tablet. It is roughly a quarter of an inch thick, and when closed, the entire contraption is about two-thirds of an inch thick.
The keyboard is larger than the one on the iPad screen, although it will still seem a little cramped for people used to a fuller-size tablet or laptop keyboard. Setup was easy enough, with a push button to start the Bluetooth pairing of keyboard and tablet.
A neat aesthetic feature of the keyboard is the ability to backlight the keys with a variety of colours. It drains the keyboard’s battery faster, but it does look good. The company says the lithium battery will last three months with two hours of use a day without recharging. It is charged by USB but is not replaceable.
My only real quibble with the keyboard is that even with the faux leather finish, the polycarbonate feels a little cheap. But at a list price of $100, the street price may not be much more than that for a high-quality case without a keyboard.