Kensington KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air review
The Kensington KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air is an impressive-looking keyboard case. Our KeyFolio Pro review takes a hands-on test of this keyboard. We discover what the Kensington KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air is like to type on, how easy the KeyFolio Pro is to use, and compare the KeyFolio Pro to other iPad keyboard cases on the market.
In terms of details: the KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air is a sheepskin leather executive case with a distinctive Bluetooth keyboard that you can detach and use separately. The KeyFolio Pro keyboard connects wirelessly to the iPad Air and enables you to type on the raised plastic “chiclet” style keys. This is the same keyboard type as used on the Apple Wireless Keyboard.
There are a number of interesting features on display for the KeyFolio for iPad Air. Our KeyFolio Pro review looks at the following:
- What is the KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air like to use?
- How easy is it to type on the KeyFolio Pro for iPad Air Keyboard?
- Is the KeyFolio Pro the best keyboard case for iPad Air, and is it worth buying?
What is the Keyfolio Pro like to use?
The Kensington KeyFolio Pro is an executive leather case. This is a type that will be familiar to most professional iPad Air users. The KeyFolio Pro is made from sheepskin leather and folds in half, with the iPad Air sliding into the top half. It uses the flap and pouch approach to the iPad Air in place and offer all-round protection. You slide the iPad Air into the top of the KeyFolio Pro and the iPad Air bevel is covered by the pouch which holds it in place. A flap of leather at the top folds over to secure the iPad Air in place.
The bottom half of the KeyFolio Pro is a normal leather flap that folds to cover the screen. It is held in place with a magnetic clasp. The cover flap can also fold around the back of the case so you can hold, and use, the iPad Air vertically as normal.
So far, so average. What’s special about the KeyFolio Pro is the presence of a six row chiclet-style keyboard. This is attached magnetically to the inside of the front flap, and you use it to type on the iPad instead of using the on-screen keyboard.
The KeyFolio Pro can be folded up to form a stand. This holds the iPad vertically while you type on the keyboard. The iPad rests into plastic grooves running along the top of the keys. This enables you to position the iPad in several different viewing angles.
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Removing the KeyFolio Pro keyboard from the case
What’s more interesting about the KeyFolio Pro is that you can remove the keyboard from the case (the keyboard is also held magnetically) and use it separately while the iPad is held in the case magnetically. This system offers a virtually limitless array of angles to hold the iPad while you use the keyboard elsewhere. While we’ve used iPad keyboard cases of this type before, this magnetic unclipping of the keyboard and stand formation is a new technique.
One striking aspect of the KeyFolio Pro is how thin and light the keyboard is. Even attached to the KeyFolio Pro case it’s a thin frame (in keyboard case terms). When you disconnect the keyboard the KeyFolio Pro case becomes a lightweight, and regular-sized iPad cover. This solves one of the key problems we have with many keyboard cases: the weight. Most keyboard cases are too bulky or heavy when holding the iPad normally, but with the KeyFolio Pro you can stash the keyboard in a bag and use the iPad Air as normal.
Using the KeyFolio Pro as a laptop
We did quickly run into one problem with the KeyFolio Pro’s ingenious keyboard system. When you unfold the KeyFolio Pro Case and turn it into a stand with the keyboard attached, the iPad Air is held in place with a groove on top of the keyboard (instead of the magnetic flap). This doesn’t work so well when you place the KeyFolio Pro on your lap: the iPad Air tends to slide down. It depends on how much you sit still, it's fine on the couch, but not so hot when you're on a train or bus.
There is a solution. Slide the keyboard down towards you and clip the case onto the magnetic flap space above the keyboard. This works fine, but it seems a little bit of a hack for what is going to be an extremely common use.
What is the KeyFolio Pro keyboard like to type on?
The keyboard itself is flat and thin, but it features plastic clickable keys. The KeyFolio Pro keyboard is slightly smaller than the regular Apple keyboard (a problem that many iPad keyboards have to live with). The keys themselves are also slightly smaller than those on the Apple keyboard, but unlike the iPad on-screen keyboard you get a full complement of keys: left and right Shift, Caps Lock, Tab, Control, Option, Command and arrow keys. At the top is a sixth row of keys for functions such as: Home, Safari, Siri, Play, Shuffle, and Volume.
We found it easy and efficient to type out articles the KeyFolio Pro keyboard. Although the keys are small, the overall layout hits a sweet spot and the presence of additional keys makes it far easier to type on than the on-screen keyboard. Beyond that, we really liked the ability to detach the keyboard and place it flat on a surface while the iPad sat to one side. This turns the iPad into a mini computer rather than just a micro-laptop. Another bonus of the KeyFolio Pro's detachable keyboard is that you can pair the keyboard with an iPhone if you want. In fact we'd be tempted to buy just the keyboard separately if it were available.
The KeyFolio Pro is a nice package of keyboard and case, and we like the way the keyboard clips magnetically into the case, and the way the case holds itself magnetically vertical when you are using it as a stand. and we like the lightweight nature of the whole package.
The KeyFolio Pro version we are testing here did not feature the backlit keyboard. We tested Kensington's backlit keyboard in our recent KeyCover Plus for iPad Air review, and found it to be a swish feature, but we had doubts over the battery life. A KeyFolio Pro Plus model is available (£139.99) which is the same as this model but with a backlit keyboard. We get along just fine with the KeyFolio Pro model here.
We like the KeyFolio Pro keyboard a lot. For us it hits a sweet spot of functionality and weight. We’re particularly keen on the removable keyboard that enables the case to function without the additional weight off the keyboard. The keyboard itself works extremely well and we like being able to type on a keyboard that is separate from the iPad Air. It’s also a really professional looking system and we can see it being welcome in the boardroom. If only it had just worked when we placed the KeyFolio Pro in our lap and used it like a laptop (if it wasn't for that single issue this would be a five-star keyboard). Despite that though we still like the KeyFolio Pro keyboard a lot. This is one of our favourite keyboard cases for the iPad, and is certainly one we recommend.