Belkin Qode keyboard for iPad Air
At igeek we love a gadget - and this week we’ve been sent two! The first to arrive was Belkin’s new Qode lightweight keyboard for the iPad Air. This new keyboard is just the right size to fit the Air, which has smaller exterior dimensions than previous iterations.
The first thing you notice about the keyboard is the aluminium unibody design; it feels solid and well made and the keys have a nice feel. I recently purchased a keyboard for an iPad Mini from another manufacturer but it's taken quite a bit of getting used to due to how close the keys are, for example hitting the wrong key has been a constant problem. There are no such issues with the Qode - it has a similar feel and size to the MacBook keyboard so I felt right at home. On the underside of the Belkin Qode, there's a strip of white plastic which acts as a table-rest and no doubt houses the battery. It's not as aesthetically pleasing as a single piece of aluminium nor as grippy as rubberised plastic but it is solid and no doubt helps to keep the price and weight down which is always a bonus. In any case, it's a very minor criticism.
Once charged, it's simple to pair your iPad with just a couple of taps in the bluetooth settings, the Air then sits just above the top row of keys in a special slot. The delay when the keyboard interfaces with the iPad via Bluetooth is very short, hardly noticeable really. There’s a small rubber nub in the centre and a soft strip a the back to grip the iPad without marking it. There’s only a single position but it’s the right angle for typing, so if you want to use your iPad in a different way, you can just lift it out. At the back of the keyboard is the magnetic hinge. To close the case, you lift the iPad out of the slot and push it towards the latch and being magnetic, it just clips on. The magnet is fairly strong and holds the iPad securely - although it’s not difficult to unclip if you lift it from one side and once closed, it feels like a single device. The magnet is just strong enough to lift the iPad if you pick up the keyboard when the iPad is in the open position - but it's not something I'd recommend - in common with all iPad magnetic covers, the iPad is likely to detach itself and you risk dropping it.
The battery life is claimed as 6 months (based on 2 hours usage per day), which is very impressive although unverified at time of writing. I charged it once on the day I got it and unsurprisingly, after a weeks use it's still going strong. I might have to get back to you on that one...but, even if it’s half as good as they say, that would still mean you’d only charge it four times a year, so it's going to last and last.
The top row of keys have special functions so you can adjust the sound level, control your music, lock the screen and show the desktop, amongst other things…I particularly like the fact that Belkin have replicated the x, c & v keys for cut, copy and paste (in conjunction with the command key, which occupies the same location on the keyboard as its Mac equivalent). I’ve used these regularly so they're not just a gimmick.
At igeek, we use iPads to take notes during meetings, in preference to laptops. The main reasons are the superior battery life, the lack of intrusiveness (iPads don’t act like as much of a barrier as laptops do), the lack of distraction (there’s nothing bobbing up and down in the dock every 10 seconds…) and the fact that they look more cutting edge. So the acid test - would I use the Qode in my day to day life? After a week with it, it'll be the one I carry to meetings from now on…and yes, I did write this review on it :) Pros Very good build quality Lightweight Impressive Battery life Good size keyboard and responsive keys Great price (around £65 / $110) Cons Screen angle not adjustable Need to manually attach screen to hinge to close it Score : 9 out of 10
Disclaimer: igeek were sent this keyboard by Belkin to evaluate. Our policy is to always give our honest, objective review regardless of how we received the product.