Product Review: iHome Bluetooth Keyboard and Leather Case for iPad 2: Who the heck designed this thing?
iHome Bluetooth Keyboard and Leather Case for iPad 2
Rating: Don’t buy
Available at Amazon
There are a lot of things about living in the first world that are hard to complain about. I don’t have to carry a firearm from my living room to my kitchen to feel safe (but I can if I want!). Indoor plumbing. And access to great technology like the iPad 2.
But then come the first world problems. I gain weight because I can easily get the food I want. The shower clogs. And iHome designs an iPad 2 case intended to drive you mad.
I wanted a bluetooth keyboard case for my iPad because I prefer to write longer articles using a keyboard than a touchpad. It’s easier for when I travel, so I can check my laptop with the rest of my baggage. It’s also easier for when I want to be the kind of yuppie jerk that sits in my local coffeeshop (not Starbucks) all day, sipping a machiatto and asking the barrista what this delightful indie rock is we’re listening to. I don’t have to get up to ask this question. I assume 10-gauge earrings the guy is sporting have increased his ability to hear.
But the iHome Bluetooth Keyboard and Leather Case for iPad 2 makes this an overwhelmingly unpleasant experience, because it fails in all the things you would assume it does. And it’s not alone. This is one of many cases that seems to miss pretty big priorities in iPad cases.
Let’s start with the leather. It might be leather. But it’s the thinnest bit of leather that the slightest exposure to the elements turns to tatters.
A single padded center latch folds around the opening of the folio to magnetically seal the cover. But while the magnet is strong, I can’t feel confident that precariously holding my case from the binding (as I might do while rushed and careless) will prevent my iPad from falling out.
Which leads me to another point: The iPad slides into the case with a flap that opens out just as the rest of the folio does, rather than have the security that comes of being pushed into place from the binding out. Which is a mistake you’d recognize if you’d ever owned a Trapper Keeper. Meaning that 7-year olds might have avoided this design flaw. And the flap that “secures it” is simply kept in place by friction, meaning, by nothing at all. Luck, maybe.
But the real flaw of the case is how it integrates the keyboard.
First, the keyboard is attached to the case only by virtue of two flimsy plastic clips that could be easily lost. It’s nice that it’s removable, but once those clips are lost, the keyboard could easily slide out of the case.
Second, the keyboard is attached to a flap of the case that has to be folded out in order to reveal the grooves that the iPad will lean against to be viewable. That’s a lot of real estate, and if you’re using a plane tray table, you can forget it. Even on an Amtrak train, I had to remove the keyboard and place the screen on a (fortunately empty seat’s) tray next to me.
Then there’s the problem of the case as a stand of any kind. The grooves into which you fold the iPad aren’t deep enough to resist sudden movements, meaning that the slightest touch will find your iPad suddenly deflating like a flan in a cupboard. And if you’re wondering whether the instructions might tell you to go about it a different way, you’re on your own. You just have to figure out a way to fold it in a way that won’t fall apart.
Are there any positives? Just one.
The keyboard works fine, though some of the keys are more compact to accommodate the case, leading to frequent typos for touch typists. And there’s a nifty cable that charges the keyboard battery by attaching to the power adapter you use for your iPad, so they all charge at the same time. But that’s the only clever thing about this case.
Everything else, even the pricing, is a disaster. I would suggest looking at the Belkin’s Keyboard Folio 2 for an effective model, although even that suffers a major flaw of lacking a clasp, let alone a simple magnetic cover that allows the iPad to turn off when you close it.
Just don’t buy this one.