There are numerous keyboard case options for the iPad Air from a variety of firms, including Logitech, Zagg, and Belkin. This week, Belkin has introduced another option called the QODE Thin Type Keyboard Case for iPad Air.
The Thin Type is a full-sized laptop-style keyboard that Belkin says lasts for six months on a charge, though battery life is said to be 79 hours of actual use with months of standby time. It has a clever automatic on/off mechanism that detects when the iPad is set in the keyboard's stand in order to not waste battery life. Notably, it appears that there's no way to use the keyboard without the iPad set in the stand — that isn't a deal-breaker, but it is something to be aware of.
Keys are nearly full-sized and are easy to use — I'm using it and my iPad Air to write this review, and my only issue is learning where some of the non-standard keys are (Belkin has moved a few lesser-used keys around to fit them all in the keyboard's limited space). The Thin Type has a number of iPad-specific function keys across the top, including music track and volume controls, plus dedicated keys for the home button, sleep/wake, multitasking, and a button to take a screenshot. There's also dedicated keys for Siri, cut, copy, and paste.
The iPad connects to the case with a magnetic latch, though it doesn't lock shut by any means, so care must be used when carrying the keyboard and iPad around together. Since it leaves the tablet completely unprotected, transporting the iPad and keyboard in a sleeve or other protective bag is a good idea.
The Thin Type's iPad stand holds the tablet at a 35-degree angle, which makes it easy to type and use the touch-controls as necessary. The battery on the back of the device holds they keyboard at a slight angle, nearly perfect for typing, in both horizontal and vertical modes. The body of the case is made of aluminum, and it's available in white and space gray to match the colors of the iPad Air.
Bluetooth pairing is done with a single button press, which took about 30 seconds. Charging is done with a micro-USB cable, but even if you use the keyboard for eight hours per day, the battery will still last close to two full business weeks. With the smart on/off switch, it should last even longer.
For iPad Air owners looking for a keyboard option, the Belkin Thin Type Keyboard Case is a solid choice. It is roughly comparable in price to other keyboards on the market ($99.99), and its battery life is impressive. The main drawbacks include the lack of protection it offers to the iPad (though a number of other keyboard cases have the same issue) and the fact that the keyboard turns itself off if the iPad is not sitting in its cradle.
What do you look for in a tablet keyboard? Does the Thin Type meet your particular business needs? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.