ZAGGkeys PROplus portable backlit keyboard for iPad 4, iPad 3, and iPad 2
December 5, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
While the bad news for iPad 3 users is that their model is suddenly no longer the current one, the good news is that the compatible cool accessories are still coming – this time in the form of a backlit keyboard. Just what percentage of iPad users need a physical keyboard add-on has always been up for debate, but for its part ZAGG has been catering to that market from the start. The latest iteration is the ZAGGkeys PROplus. Like previous versions, the PROplus is a shell piece which covers the front face of the iPad when not in use, acting as a half-case. But this time around, magnets hold the PROplus to your iPad, a nice refinement.
But of course you’re not buying this product just to use it as a case. The inside of the shell contains a physical keyboard whose separated chiclet-style keys will feel familiar to those users who are accustomed to one of Apple’s Mac keyboards. Your iPad connects via bluetooth, so there are no cables involved and you can position your iPad in either portrait or landscape mode. In my tests I found that the iPad was sturdy and secure in both orientations, and typing on the keyboard felt about as comfortable as doing so on my MacBook Pro.
Of course the headlining feature on the PROplus is that the keys are backlit, again in a similar manner to MacBook Pro keyboards. This proved to be very useful during my tests in darker settings. But ZAGG goes a step further by giving you a choice of seven different backlighting colors. This is of no practical use, but I did have to admit that it was fun and, if you’re using it in public, bound to garner some attention. For those who don’t want the backlighting, the standard ZAGGkeys PRO (not tested) sells for thirty dollars less and is otherwise identical to the “plus” model.
The PROplus is the most sophisticated and refined iPad keyboard I’ve ever used. It does come with a couple of caveats. Because it’s a wireless product, it runs on a battery which you’ll need to recharge when at home via USB. And because it only covers your iPad’s screen and not its rear surface, it’s not a full blown case; ZAGG suggests that you use its Invisible Shield product to cover the back of the iPad for fully body protection. And $129 isn’t a small chunk of change for an iPad keyboard, suggesting that it’s only worth it to those users who do a good amount of typing on their iPad while on the go. But that doesn’t keep it from being a five star product, the first iPad keyboard to receive that rating from us.
But offering a built-in keyboard that I actually enjoyed typing on while keeping the unit under a quarter inch thick is no small feat, and the magnetic closure combined with the backlighting make the PROplus the cream of the crop. Works with iPad 4, iPad 3, and iPad 2.
Rating: 5 out of 5 • Price: $129 • zagg.com