Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 review

Some people might look at the larger iPad Pro as “the iPad that has keyboards and a stylus.” Well, actually, any iPad can get those things too — maybe not quite the same, but good enough that the average person will be super-satisfied. My favorite used to be the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard, for its pure portability. But the better choice if you have a new iPad Air or iPad Air 2 is the Belkin QODE Ultimate Pro keyboard case. It’s $150 (£149.99 in the UK, or AU$200), and if you’re a major iPad-writer, it’s worth it. The keyboard acts as a lid for the Air 2, while a back cover protects the whole thing for easy travel. Belkin sells two different versions for Air and Air 2, to fit their slightly different tablet thicknesses.

belkin-qode-ultimate-pro-keyboard-case-for-ipad-air-2-03.jpgFirst of all, the keyboard feels great. I’ve typed on it furiously, and written whole articles on it easily. The keys flex a bit, but the layout and responsiveness are top-notch — and I’m picky. The keys are backlit, too. The case can be adjusted to two different angles, all magnetically, for working at different places like cramped airplane tray-tables.

The case auto-pairs the moment you open it, and the keyboard bottom half can be detached from the top-half case — again, thanks to magnets — to use the case in a basic protective, non-keyboard mode. An iPad will work in landscape or portrait mode while in it, and even better, the keyboard will pair with other devices if needed: up to two at a time, switchable from the keyboard. The keyboard charges via Micro-USB, and gets enough battery life for a year of use. I’ve never needed a recharge.

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 The Pro model is the best for its backlighting, and I think it types a bit better. I like the Pro better than Belkin’s recent Slim model, which feels cheaper and doesn’t type quite as well. The QODE Ultimate Pro is now the case I use almost all the time, and with Apple’s new iOS 9-specific keyboard shortcuts it becomes a damn useful on-the-go tool, too.

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