Apple’s newest iPad —the 6th-generation 9.7”— follows in the footsteps of last year’s $329 iPad offering. It is an almost full-featured device, lacking in one area: it has no smart connector. Consequently, Bluetooth is the only wireless option for connecting your new iPad to a keyboard. No fear, however, as iEGrow has two Bluetooth keyboard cases that offer a lot for a very reasonable price. We go hands-on in this mini review of the iEGrow F8S iPad keyboard case and the F180 iPad keyboard with rotatable cover.
iEGrow F8S iPad keyboard case
The iEGrow F8S iPad keyboard case is a conventional clamshell keyboard case made of a sturdy and hefty aluminum finish, weighing in around 1.3 pounds. The case opens up folio-style to a maximum 130º angle and allows you to type away: no bells or whistles.
It has a function row on the top of the keyboard, which is extremely useful on a mobile device such as the iPad. The keys themselves are excellent for typing on: very clicky, responsive, tactile, and a lot of key travel. I can type at nearly 100% speed, which is impressive from a mobile keyboard.
Then bonus points: there are also seven colors (and three levels of brightness) of backlighting on the keys making for a functional, stylish typing experience with this case. A screen protector is recommended with this case, however, due to proximity of the screen to the keyboard’s keys when closed shut. At $56, this is a very affordable option you should consider.
iEGrow F180 keyboard with rotatable cover
The first apparent difference between the F180 and the F8S is the swap for glossy plastic (with some aluminum-esque coating on the bottom side) rather than the fully aluminum finish on the F8S. The coating attracts fingerprints and oils and isn’t super attractive, but isn’t a deal breaker either. It features the same function row on top and a very similar, equally impressive typing experience with the keys: no problems whatsoever. The keys are backlit with the same seven color options, but the key lettering does not light up: only the key perimeters.
The big story of this keyboard though, and the reason for the slightly larger footprint when compared to the F8S, is that there is a swivel hinge connecting the iPad to the case. You can fold the iPad completely flat (180º), and rotate it 365º. It is perfect for presentations, for media-viewing, for tablet mode, and Apple Pencil use. It is an extremely practical and well-executed design perk that really takes the keyboard to the next level. You will be sacrificing some portability, it is slightly heavier (~1.6 pounds), offers a larger keyboard, and features slightly inferior build quality, but the swivel functionality trumps those limitations in my opinion.
Coming in around at $56 for the F8S and $57 for the F180, both keyboards are second-to-none if you’re looking for a solid typing experience for your iPad 6th/5th generation or your first-get iPad Air. Whether you’re looking for an aluminum clamshell or a plastic-aluminum combo with a rotating hinge as the determining factor, both are awesome options.