We’ll admit it, we were a bit disappointed when our Gen1 ZaggMate did not fit the iPad2. However, there was no way Zagg could have anticipated the change. We would have been really impressed had the design been able to accommodate both versions of iPads. Don’t get us wrong, the Gen1 ZaggMate works just fine as a keyboard for either iPad, it’s just that the size of the case is a hair too big for the iPad2 to fit snuggly. We probably could have made it work with some strategic addition of padding, but when we read that Zagg had updated the ZaggMate, we knew readers would want us to check it out.
In April, Zagg announced an exclusive master license and distribution agreement with Logitech for the ZAGGmate™ case with keyboard. The deal makes a lot of sense for both companies and is a boon for users. As keyboard configurations vary by country, the deal enables ZAGG to be a significant player in the global market. Customers outside the US get a device that is tailored for their locale. A win-win for everybody.
It is true that the iPad will work with most Bluetooth keyboards. We got it to work with our 6-year old Anycom folding unit. However, the ZaggMate for the iPad2 has special function keys for music control, volume control, slideshow, home, search, etc. Remove the iPad 2 from the ZaggMate case and the iPad2 will automatically wake up. Place it back and the iPad 2 goes to sleep. Try THAT with any other keyboard case. (Of course, when you are using the ZaggMate as a keyboard there is complete communication between iPad and keyboard; we’re talking about when you are using the ZaggMate as a case.)
The Logitech ZAGGmate Case is made of precision-cut aircraft-grade aluminum and features military-grade, high-density padding. The flexible, folding hinge makes it easy to place the iPad 2 in either portrait or landscape stance. The corners are high enough to allow the iPad to be used in multi-touch mode when the keyboard is not required. The keyboard syncs with the iPad via Bluetooth® connectivity. After the initial setup, it pairs quickly and easily. The unit is powered by an internal battery and charges over USB. We have easily gotten over a week of use between charges.
When not in use, the ZaggMate is also a protective case for the iPad. For transport, the iPad is placed screen-down onto the keyboard and is held snuggly in place by foam around the rim. Users concerned about bulk will be happy to know that the case only adds about 1/8″ to the overall thickness of the iPad 2. Our only quib with the ZaggMate as a case is that neither the Gen1 nor this version will fit onto the back of the iPad. This is a little inconvenient for times when we don’t want to put aside the ZaggMate (surfing while sitting at Starbucks, reading on the subway, etc…). Also, it would have been slick to have been able to use the Apple SmartCover for the front and have the ZaggMate protect the back.
There are tablet purists who scoff at the idea of using a physical keyboard with the iPad when there is a virtual version available on demand. We used to be of that camp. However, the ease of carrying a ZaggMate with the iPad and the convenience of being able to use a real keyboard for longer typing tasks have changed our minds. If you use your iPad for a lot of typing-oriented tasks (articles, long emails, etc…) and find the use of the virtual keyboard tiring, give the ZaggMate a try. You may just find yourself moving out of the “tablet-purist” camp and into ours 🙂