Belkin's Ultimate Keyboard case for iPad is about as good as it gets when it comes to tablet typing. The whole case is put together just like an Apple product, complete with brushed aluminium and top of the line build quality.
The result is a Bluetooth keyboard case that keeps your tablet safe, while providing a proper full Qwerty keyboard typing experience. Belkin has been turning out some great products of late and this is no exception.
The front of the case is a single solid piece of aluminium, which while not being hugely thick, definitely feels as if it will keep your device safe. Belkin has opted to engrave its logo on the bottom right-hand corner of the case, which is the only thing to stop the tablet from looking like a miniature MacBook from the top.
On the back is a plastic wraparound, available in black or white, which houses the keyboard and battery while keeping your iPad safe. There is also a faux leather insert which acts as a flap to keep the iPad stable when you fold out the case.
Opening the case is easy, thanks to the MacBook style indent on the side. Belkin has also been crafty with its design in order to stop audio quality being affected by the case. Called the Soundflow, there is a small notch next to the speaker on the tablet which the case uses to direct audio towards you. While it never sounded muffled, we aren't so sure it delivers a hugely enhanced audio quality.
Once the case is open, you have a choice of either setting the tablet into its stand, which will turn on the Bluetooth keyboard, or folding the keyboard backwards to use the iPad by itself. If you do choose to stand the tablet, it sits really well, if a touch close to the keyboard.
The keyboard itself is very good. Belkin has clearly put a lot of effort into making sure the keys have a satisfying action to them, rather than the usual mushy feel you find in keyboard cases. With the white model we tested, each key was nicely marked with easy to understand symbols. The keyboard allows you to control everything from audio playback, to volume and even has shortcuts for things like copying and pasting documents.
The keys aren't particularly small, so rarely do you hit the wrong one. If you are a frequent typer then you might find your muscle memory needing to adjust slightly to the layout, but a few weeks of use and you shouldn't find it an issue.
Belkin promises 160 hours of battery life with the keyboard, which we very much believe. We are yet to flatten the battery after just a single charge and some fairly heavy usage.
Really though what is most impressive about the Belkin is its size. The whole case weighs in at only 17 ounces, which adds very little extra bulk to the iPad. It's also just 6.4 mm thin, which stops the tablet from feeling too chunky.
Belkin's Ultimate Keyboard case is available now on the company's website and retails for £99 in both white and black versions.