In his Đánh Giá of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for full-size iPads (rated 4 out of 5), my frikết thúc and colleague Dan Frakes described that accessory as making the right compromises for an iPad keyboard case. Which, since the debut of the Máy tính bảng iPad mini, has had many people anxiously awaiting a smaller version. Unfortunately, the ipad tablet mini’s kích cỡ presents additional challenges when it comes to physical keyboards, & Logitech’s sequel for the máy tính bảng iPad mini, the $80 Ultrathin Keyboard mini, makes some of the wrong tradeoffs. The result is a keyboard cover that offers different frustrations than typing with the mini’s onscreen keyboard, but not necessarily less frustration overall.

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Similar, but mini

The Ultrathin mini, available with either a white or blaông chồng keyboard (with a silver or blachồng aluminum bottom, respectively), looks a whole lot lượt thích its full-sized sibling, only smaller. A hinge on the baông chồng edge attaches magnetically khổng lồ the left side of the iPad tablet mini, like a Smart Cover. The Ultrathin mini adds just over 7 ounces lớn your Máy tính bảng iPad mini’s weight, and the case lives up khổng lồ its Ultrathin moniker: It’s just 0.3 inches thiông chồng, along with 7.9 inches wide và 5.5 inches deep—essentially the same dimensions as the iPad tablet mini itself.

The cover closes snugly against the máy tính bảng ipad mini’s screen, and a set of magnets opposite the hinge support the iPad’s magnetic sleep/wake feature—an Ultrathin-clad iPad mini looks sleek and professional. As with the full-kích cỡ Ultrathin, the mini version can’t fold bachồng behind the ipad tablet like a Smart Cover; when you want to lớn use the iPad tablet, you give sầu the keyboard cover a gentle tug lớn remove it completely, which is a painless procedure.

Along the right edge of the Ultrathin mini sit three items of note: a Micro-USB port for charging the keyboard’s built-in battery, a power switch, và a Bluetooth-pairing button. There’s a thin groove, just above sầu the keyboard’s number row và running the width of the keyboard, inlớn which you nestle your landscape-oriented máy tính bảng iPad mini when you’re ready to lớn type.

The angle at which the groove holds your iPad—approximately 10 degrees from vertical—is steeper than I prefer, but that’s a minor complaint. And if you position the máy tính bảng ipad with the trang chủ button on the right, magnets in the groove will cling to the tablet, making the whole thiết lập extra stable. (Although Logitech’s quảng cáo photos all show the ipad mini in landscape orientation, the cài đặt is also relatively stable with the tablet propped up in portrait orientation.)

Logitech says that you can expect about 180 hours of typing time on a full charge, which is impressive sầu. However, there’s no easy way to determine the keyboard’s current charge level: The LEDs above the top row of keys indicate when the keyboard is charging & when the battery is running low, but I’d prefer a clearer picture of the remaining battery life. I suspect I’ll feel even more strongly about this point after a month or two of use—I’ll likely kết thúc up charging the keyboard more frequently than I need to simply because I have sầu no idea how much use time is left. I also wish the included USB-charging cable was a little longer, as its one-foot length limits where you can place the keyboard while charging.

The key factor

Those are minor quibbles. The bigger problem with the Ultrathin mini is that typing on it is simply not a good experience. While fitting a keyboard into a cover with the footprint of an Máy tính bảng iPad mini means making tradeoffs, Logitech has made compromises that, for this touch-typist, are unacceptable.

On the good side, many of the keys on the Ultrathin mini are nearly full-sized—namely, all the letters of the alphabet. The Spacebar is large enough to lớn remain within reach of either thumb. Standard nibs on the F and J keys help keep your fingers in the right places, & I like the feel of the membrane-scissor type keys themselves.

To make the keyboard “mini,” however, the keys are cramped, và the key layout is frustratingly flawed. There are missing keys, tiny keys, & very tiny keys. As I mentioned, tradeoffs are necessary with compact keyboards, especially when you try khổng lồ keep the main alphabet keys a manageable size, but I’m not convinced that the tradeoffs on display with the Ultrathin mini are the best ones.

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For example, a number of standard keys are missing, with their functions only accessible by holding down the Fn key (located in the now-standard position in the lower-left corner) along with other keys: The A key does double-duty as Caps Lock; the Q doubles as Tab. And the Shift keys are small—barely a fraction of an inch wider than the letter keys. The combined effect of tiny Shift keys & missing Caps Lochồng and Tab keys is an abrupt left edge khổng lồ the keyboard that, if you’re a touch-typist, makes it difficult to lớn keep your fingers in place as you type: You’ll find that your hvà marches steadily khổng lồ the left as you use your pinky on the (tiny) left Shift key. At least I did.

Off-key: Some of the tinier keys, such as Delete and apostrophe—shown here with a pencil for scale—are very difficult khổng lồ press accurately và consistently.

I mentioned that the space between keys is cramped, but the bigger issue is that many of the non-letter keys are too small. Certain punctuation keys (colon/semicolon, apostrophe/quote, và brackets, to name a few), are comically narrow, with the number keys and Delete key barely larger than Tic-Tacs, making them difficult khổng lồ type and making it far too easy khổng lồ hit the wrong key instead. (The number keys present less of an issue than the Delete key, which I tended to lớn use a lot with the Ultrathin mini—I found it difficult khổng lồ press reliably.) And even when I was able to lớn hit these little keys correctly, precisely aiming for the tiny targets often required me lớn take my fingers off the home row.

The result all these drawbacks is that I found typing on the Ultrathin mini khổng lồ be an exercise in frustration. Which is a shame, considering how good the original Ultrathin keyboard is: I can type 1đôi mươi words per minute on the original Ultrathin keyboard with great accuracy. My error-ridden speed using the Ultrathin mini was in the low 30s.

To its credit, the Ultrathin mini does offer a variety of iPad-specific keyboard shortcuts: There’s a dedicated trang chủ button key in the upper-left corner, along with a slew of Fn-key-activated shortcuts for functions such as Siri, Spotlight, brightness màn chơi, and volume.

Bottom line

We haven’t yet seen a good ipad tablet mini keyboard case that fits the iPad tablet mini’s footprint: Every vendor whose keyboard matches the kích cỡ of the tablet has opted for some combination of tiny keys, cramped key spacing, and a non-standard layout. The Ultrathin mini is no exception. (The best ones we’ve seen have opted khổng lồ make the keyboard larger than the iPad mini itself—the approach taken by Zagg’s ZaggKeys Mini 9.) Though my intent was khổng lồ write this Reviews using the Ultrathin mini, I couldn’t make it through. The keys are just too cramped, và too many are too small, for me to use it for long-size typing.

If you use a hunt-and-peông xã approach to lớn typing, the tradeoffs inherent khổng lồ the Ultrathin mini may be worth the payoff of the slim và lightweight approach. And the product’s thiết kế & construction are otherwise solid, earning it our 2.5 rating. But if you’re a touch-typist lượt thích me, I can’t recommend the Ultrathin mini—as much as I understvà why Logitech made such tradeoffs, that understanding doesn’t help me type with any less frustration.

(We’ll be updating our iPad keyboard buying guide next month with recommendations for iPad mini keyboards, as well as with updated recommendations for keyboards for the standard máy tính bảng ipad. Stay tuned.)