Kensington KeyFolio Expert full review

The Kensington KeyFolio Expert is an iPad case with integrated Bluetooth keyboard. And it's quite good, as the following review will reveal.

Typing on an iPad is never truly easy: it's just one of those areas where a touchscreen can't quite match up to a desktop setup. Which is why Bluetooth keyboards, particularly those that are neatly integrated into an iPad case, are a perennially popular iPad accessory.

One that we've been trying recently is the KeyFolio Expert from Kensington. The keyboard sits on a soft, rubbery black material that does a reasonable job of keeping it in place on the desk; there's a folding flap with a plastic slot that the iPad fits neatly (and securely) into, most obviously in a landscape orientation but (slightly less securely) a portrait mode is possible too. You can then prop the iPad up into a variety of viewing angles by folding the flap in various cunning ways. It's a convenient and pleasant setup for working away from home.

The Kensington KeyFolio Expert device adds a fair bit of weight to the iPad's petite frame but it does feel robust and protective. Some magnets are built into the folding flap to help it stay in certain positions, but one oddity is that for this to keep the whole affair closed you'd need to fold the keyboard over first - leaving those hard plastic keys facing the iPad's screen, instead of the soft, buffing flap - and then fold the flap on top to close it all magnetically. Fold the flaps in the more logical-seeming order and the magnet doesn't keep it closed.

The instruction booklet confirms that the former is the expected method. It's weird but at least non-damaging, since most of the Kensington KeyFolio Expert's keys don't actually sit in contact with the screen, but it's a shame you have to either miss out on buffing, or a magnetically sealed case.

Kensington KeyFolio Expert

Kensington KeyFolio Expert review: Typing action

In terms of typing, the Kensington KeyFolio Expert is unsurprisingly a big step forward from using the onscreen keyboard, but we still found ourselves making a lot of errors: unavoidably, any keyboard that's small enough to fit into an iPad case is going to be quite cramped and less than optimal for fast, accurate typing. The keys are on the small side and there aren't any of the usual reassuring gaps that help to guide your fingers into their favoured typing position.

Beyond size, however, the action of the keys takes a little getting used to. Again, this is probably a function of trying to maximise portability, but the keys lack the reassuring, firm action of a weightier keyboard, and those on the first review model we tried felt a bit sticky - early in this review (which we're writing entirely on the KeyFolio Expert, incidentally), a lot of proper nouns went uncapitalised because the Shift key required more pressure than we're used to. A replacement model was better, though, and while still quite loose and fly-away in action produced better typing results.

You do get used to the feel of the keyboard, in any case, and after 10 minutes or so we had got the accuracy up to a respectable level (and admittedly slightly lowered the speed). It's mainly a question of learning to type with a punchy, firmer action than normal.

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