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Kensington – Keyfolio Executive Case and Bluetooth Keyboard

Having recently bought a new Apple iPad, and having previously been a victim of a smashed iPad screen (courtesy of our daughter who was 3 years old at the time), I was keen to make sure this one didn’t suffer the same fate. Perhaps I could concede on the iPad’s appearance and gain a little something in terms of safety and protection?

The case itself is made of durable (leather look) plastic, and looks more like a binder than a case. Once you unzip the contents and remove the dummy iPad from the holster you see that it’s actually built to hold a lot more than just the iPad itself. There is room for business cards, credit cards and other paper notes etc.

The holster for the iPad is very secure. It slips in without having to push or prise anything apart and a small material lip secures it in place (curiously without a fastener of any kind, but this does not make it feel insecure).

On the opposite ‘page’ of the organiser sits the bluetooth keyboard.

Pairing is incredibly easy; go to the iPad’s Settings >; Bluetooth >; Activate Bluetooth and an option for the ‘Kensington Keyboard’ appears. Tap on it and iOS asks you to enter a four digit number onto the Kensington keyboard before hitting return (or enter).

Our unit shipped with enough power for me to type two reviews, and it’s still going the next morning. The keyboard comes with a mini USB cable for charging. A fantastic feature would be if the keyboard could draw power from the iPad itself, thus negating the need for a separate charger. Perhaps a feature for the next version?

Once hooked up, the keyboard works like a dream. The keys themselves gift a soft yet satisfying response, and there are no missing characters (as can sometimes be the case with Bluetooth powered keyboards).

The keyboard itself has a custom layout to match the keyboard within the iPad’s iOS. It also (which is a very nice touch) includes an Apple ‘option’ key, for Mac users. The Esc or ‘Home’ key returns you to the home screen, without having to touch the screen itself. A small feature, but one which makes a huge difference to the iPad experience.

Along the top of the keyboard you will notice several feature keys, pertaining to extremely useful functions. One touch access to photos on your iPad, on-screen keyboard, search your iPad, previous/play+pause/next, mute, volume up/down, and iPad lock. There are also insert and delete keys for document editing too.

It is worth noting the the music control keys not only work with iTunes and Music, but also Spotify.

Another nice touch is the status indicators above the keys; caps lock, bluetooth pairing symbol, charge and power icons are all displayed here with blue LED lights above each one. Next to these on the side of the keyboard unit is a power on/off button, which does exactly that. Above all of these sits a ‘connect’ button which forces a manual bluetooth connection if you are having problems connecting to your iPad. We didn’t encounter this particular issue at all.

There are plenty of cases for the iPad, performing a variety of tasks and in various guises. This case isn’t designed for light, casual use of the iPad. It’s designed for the business or heavy user. I’m finding that my iPad in conjunction with the Kensington case is becoming a substitute for my MacBook Air when writing reviews.

With the Kensington keyboard, you can really get some work done on your iPad. I typed this review entirely on the iPad using the keyboard, and didn’t have to switch back to a Mac (or PC) once.

The only negative I do notice is that when sitting on a sofa, the case doesn’t sit properly without needing to be propped up at the back. This case is definitely for sitting on a train, plane or at your office or hotel desk. On your lap, it doesn’t work so well. I’d say that the Kensington Keyfolio is aimed at the business user.

In terms of actually protecting the iPad, the Kensington does a great job. The cushioning within the case itself would protect the iPad from some pretty severe drops or falls. The iPad folds away in such a way that the keyboard does not come into the contact with the iPad screen, thus preventing any scratches whilst in transit for example. It feels sturdy in your hands and I would feel confident carrying my iPad around town in it.

When you need to respond to emails with anything other than ‘Thx, K’, and you want some real protection for your iPad then the Kensington Keyfolio Executive is perfect.

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