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Zagg Folio keyboard case for iPad mini 5 review: Like a book-sized MacBook

I am at all times searching for methods to do my job on the go whereas utilizing the least quantity of house in my bag, and that is why I like the Zagg Folio wi-fi keyboard case for the fifth-generation iPad mini. Slip it on, and Apple’s smallest pill transforms into an lovely little laptop computer. I’ve discovered myself wishing Zagg would have leaned into that and made otherwise coloured instances that match the seven hues used for the keyboard backlighting, however nah, we’re caught with the workaday black material and plastic defines Zagg’s instances as of late.

It’s a great factor, then, that nearly each different function of this pleasant case makes up for it. It is barely thicker than half an inch when it is closed. It’s robust sufficient to endure the ache I put my stuff via on my footbound commute, and the keyboard—although small—provides a lot of the satisfaction I’d anticipate from a correct laptop computer. After dealing with it for some time, I type of want Apple would take some cues from Zagg for a few of its personal designs.

Making a robust case

Owing to the tiny dimensions, this Bluetooth case doesn’t have a number of the additional options you’ll discover in larger instances. In contrast to Zagg’s Slim Ebook Go for the 9.7-inch iPad, as an example, this model doesn’t have a helpful slot for Apple’s first-generation Apple Pencil, doubtless as a result of the prolonged stylus would find yourself protruding the tip. The Folio’s sturdiness makes up for its slightly plain design, and I do know from expertise that each the iPad and the keyboard can survive tumbles off a counter and onto a tile flooring (as long as the case is closed, anyway).

Dropping it shouldn’t occur all that always, although, due to the grippy textured materials enveloping nearly your complete exterior. The one exceptions are locations the place the fabric would doubtless see plenty of put on and tear via regular use, such because the Lightning port, the headphone jack, the digicam port, and quantity buttons. Round these areas and alongside the perimeters, Zagg left uncovered black plastic that ought to final all through the case’s lifespan.

Leif Johnson/IDG

It feels a bit like a clothbound e book.

You’ll additionally discover that plastic across the cradle-style hinge, which is difficult to pry aside as a result of it’s meant to carry up the iPad while you’re writing in “laptop computer mode.” I often hear complaints that Zagg’s hinges aren’t sturdy sufficient to assist the pill after a few months, and true, the inherent structural weak spot of hinges is probably going one cause why Apple prefers magnets and “origami” folds for its personal designs. Luckily, I’ve had no troubles with the near-identical hinge on the 9.7-inch mannequin I’ve used since final yr. The truth is, I want it over Apple’s origami designs as a result of I can tilt it to the correct angle.

This plastic extends to the Micro USB port used to cost the keyboard, though you will not be utilizing it that always. Zagg claims the keyboard will maintain a cost for so long as two years, though I had no means of testing such a long-range declare. Suffice it to say that I had no points over the few days I used it (and I had no points pairing with the iPad, for that matter).

Keys to success

I like the keyboard itself, even when the tightly-bunched keys take a couple of minutes to get used to. The Folio sports activities pleasantly tactile and responsive keys, that are way more comfy to sort on than the canvas-covered keys Apple makes use of on instances just like the Sensible Folio Keyboard for the iPad Professionals. Technically, via, Zagg’s keyboard isn’t as structurally sound as a result of the openings beneath the keys would possibly let crumbs and different particles get caught beneath.

Nonetheless, I say it is well worth the danger for a greater typing expertise. The gaps permit for extra key journey than I’d have anticipated for therefore skinny a case, and I particularly like how I could make them glow in teal, inexperienced, yellow, crimson, purple, white, or blue by urgent the Operate key and the best arrow key on the identical time.

ipad mini 5 zagg folio keyboard Leif Johnson/IDG

Altering the backlight colours is a surprisingly efficient means of creating the case few “new” once in a while.

The keyboard boasts different shortcuts, too, together with ones for music playback, house display, Expose, Highlight search, hiding the keyboard, and adjusting the brightness of the backlit keys. You’ll have to make use of the operate keys for a few of these shortcuts because it’s such a small keyboard, however that’s hardly an enormous hurdle.

That limitation, although, jogs my memory that Apple didn’t actually intend for us to make use of the iPad mini like a “laptop computer.” It’s greatest used like a Kindle—for digital studying and late-night web browsing—and it’s annoying to make use of it this fashion when the pill stays ensconced in its case, hampered by a hinge that solely bends again thus far. Zagg appears to have guessed folks would nonetheless need to use their iPad this fashion, and so luckily it’s not onerous to pop the iPad out of the Folio and slip it again in when you’re performed. However can it endure greater than a yr of fixed switch-outs like this? I admit I’m slightly skeptical.

ipad mini 5 zagg folio outside Leif Johnson/IDG

This photograph additionally illustrates why this case seems greatest with the house grey iPad mini. The white is a stark reminder of how huge the bezels are.

Backside line

The Zagg Folio keyboard’s different strengths are so nice that I’ll give it a shot anyway. I’ve already taken to leaving my MacBook behind after a couple of days of utilizing Zagg’s new instances, and I like the way it takes up no extra room in my bag than a regular paperback e book. At 1.42 kilos (in comparison with the iPad mini’s base weight of 0.66 kilos), it barely even weighs extra. If you happen to’re searching for a case that lets the iPad mini act like slightly MacBook, it is a good case to carry house.

Newton Allan
Newton Allan is an expert of Apple and has started as a journalist for us (Trevino). He currently contributes for Trevino by writing about the latest happenings in the Apple INC.


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