If you intend to do any more than the most basic typing in any app – emails, documents, spreadsheets, extensive searches, whatever – you are a fool not to opt for a Bluetooth keyboard, no matter what Apple or anyone else tells you. In our experience, Logitech's latest is the king of an ever-expanding heap of them because it adds maximal functionality with minimal impact to the iPad's signature physical features, notably its weight, thinness, and battery life.
The Ultrathin Keyboard – and, for the record, it is slim, or about the same thickness as the iPad – uses the same clever magnetic fastening system that Apple's foldable Smart Covers use. So, when it's folded closed against the screen, the iPad nods to sleep. And unlike some Bluetooth devices we've used, the keyboard's pairing feature is bog simple and doesn’t require inputting a passcode or magical timing to get it to connect to your tablet.
Now, to work. Opening the cover nudges the iPad awake. Next, you pull it away from the magnetic fastener and pop it vertically or horizontally into an angled slot that also has magnets to ensure a tight grip, and set the whole shebang on a flat surface. While the keys aren't a one-to-one equal to the full-size chiclet keyboard you'd find on a MacBook, they feel precise and are a quick adjustment.
The physical attributes of this cover are phenomenal, but what really sold us are the keyboard functions. We were lost before without the ability to use command-X, C, and V, for cut, copy, and paste, and most of the standard keyboard shortcuts for quickly navigating the cursor around a document. A dedicated button that functions as the iPad's "Home" button is useful for flipping back and forth between apps without having to pull your fingers away from the keypad. Using Apple's own Pages ($9.99) word processing app, we quickly found ourselves in an easy groove – in fact this very piece was typed using it.
In the few weeks we've tested the Ultrathin Keyboard out, we've all but abandoned lugging around our laptop and haven't yet found reason to look back. An added bonus, Logitech has managed to stuff enough juice into this thin machine to last about six months without a charge. If only the rest of our devices could match such stamina. [$99; logitech.com]