I have enjoyed using the Belkin QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad with my iPad 2. It has drastically increased my typing speed on the device because now I can actually feel the tactile keys on it, as opposed to the on-screen one that comes on the iPad.
When I bought the device, my hope was not only to review it but also to churn out reviews and tutorials for JustMadeBetter much faster. To a sense, this speed has been realised in my workflow and now the challenge that remains is getting my brain to always be in the right frame of mind to write articles.
I chose the Belkin version of the iPad keyboard specifically because of the form factor, the hardware. It is a combination of the a rugged exterior case and a well made keyboard sitting on a solid silver, aluminium back. These two pieces are connected by a small leathery material that acts as the device’s spine.
Other product choices on the market, competing with the Belkin keyboard, all had a soft back and/or covers which I shied away from as I didn’t feel at peace with them protecting my device. I am prone to dropping and bumping the iPad in my bag and I just wanted that extra protection for my iPad. The rigidity of the Belkin QODE Ultimate keyboard case acts as a sort of exoskeleton for it.
In the hardware department overall, I would say this device is made well. It snaps well into the magnetic grooves that keep it in place, or at the angle of your choice, while you type or watch a movie on the iPad. My only criticism is they shouldn’t have put silver aluminium for the bottom that sits on the desk’s surface while you type. While this was not only counter intuitive when I first used the accessory, as I naturally thought that was the top, it also exposed the more scratch prone surface of the keyboard to be in direct contact with different surfaces most of the times in use.
How the Belkin keyboard works with the iOS software was another fundamental piece to the puzzle. I will say I returned the first device I bought thinking it had gone cook, only to discover in use of the second one that I didn’t quite understand the bluetooth syncing process for the keyboard with your iPad.
Once I had figured out how to sync and un-sync the keyboard, it worked beautifully. Occasionally you got that effect where you type faster than the software could pick up, but it read the input & displayed accurately after a few seconds.
I was more impressed by how well it stayed working even after updating to major versions of iOS. When I got the Belkin QODE Ultimate keyboard case, my iPad was running on iOS 7 and I later upgraded to iOS 8. Every key remained functioning as it was intended to with the exception of the microphone or dictation button, which now seems to do the same task as the home key instead of launching SIRI or voice detection. That is impressive ongoing support either from both Belkin or Apple there.
Impressions & Synergy
Another feature I wanted to highlight on the Belkin QODE Ultimate keyboard case for the iPad, is the way it integrates the hardware feature to snap magnetically in to grooves that hold the iPad half sturdy to the keyboard half. These grooves have a secondary purpose that is letting the iPad know when you are and are not using the keyboard. Allow me to explain.
If you sit the iPad in the grooves, the software keyboard on the iPad disappears and switches control to the Belkin keyboard. When you lift the iPad out of the groove, the Belkin Keyboard is disabled and typing control is given back entirely to the onscreen keyboard.
This is a pretty handy feature as you don’t have to worry about hitting the Belkin keyboard keys by mistake when you fold the device on itself so you can handle it with one hand. If you are having hard time imagining this, don’t worry as we will demo this in a YouTube video review.
Conclusion: Belkin QODE
Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad
I have to be honest, adding a keyboard to an iPad is a bit like moving back towards a laptop setup that the tablet form factor was created to move away from. In my experience it is not quite the same as carrying a laptop. It does away with the awkwardness of pulling out a laptop anywhere while improving on the netbooks that came and left in a flash.
Netbooks, while having a small and portable form factor, had a small screen real estate, poor battery life and long start up times. The Belkin keyboard & iPad set up does away with all of those problems, making it a joy to pull out everywhere and anywhere. The keyboard battery can last 2 weeks with heavy use on a single charge and the iPad easily does days to a week depending on your usage. This means you can pull out the device and be ready to get productive instantly, no looking for a power point wherever you go. I used mine everywhere, restaurants, meetings and even while killing some time on the KTX bullet train while in South Korea.
“It does away with the awkwardness of pulling out a laptop anywhere while improving on the netbooks that came and left in a flash.”
The iPad Air 2 has just been released. While there are other slicker looking bluetooth keyboards released for the 3 generations of iPads released in between it and my iPad 2, I have never felt the need to upgrade either the Belkin keyboard or the iPad. That’s almost 4 years later and they simply just work showing no signs of giving up. This keyboard is just made better.