Factor reviews: Logitech Ultrathin keyboard for iPad Mini

‘Why have a normal iPad case when you can have a case that doubles as a keyboard?’ is the thought that ran through a Logitech designer’s head when they designed their range of cases.

Now they have scaled it down for the iPad’s smaller sibling.

What really shines for the keyboard, which is designed for the iPad mini and the iPad mini with Retina display, is its ability to double up as a cover and its command functions.

As someone who carries my iPad mini around in the bottom of my bag,without a case, a cover that offers a second practical use makes perfect sense.

It clips to the iPad by a magnetic clip and holds the tablet securely (even when tipped upside down), and when being held the keyboard feels sturdy as well as being capable of protecting the iPad.

The keyboard-cover, which is just 6.4mm in depth, retails at £49.99, allows the iPad to be protected when not in use and also doubles as a stand.

The keyboard, which connects to the iPad via Bluetooth, is comfortable to type on with the pressure needed to execute each stroke not being either excessive or too light.

Based on two hours use a day the keyboard will retain its battery for three months, which is perfect for anyone wanting to use it on a train commute to work.

The biggest issue I had when using the keyboard was adapting to the size and spacing of the keys.

While the amount of space between the keys is generous there are naturally limitations to the overall shape and length of the keyboard.

As with almost all cases designed for iPad, the Logitech creation doubles as a stand and is also hinged to change to a more comfortable viewing angle.

photo2

The most irking design element, which may come down to a unfamiliarity compared with my current set up, was the positioning of the shift key.

I often while typing found my hand resting on the outer keys of ‘q’, ‘a’ and ‘z’ whereas when typing on a desktop computer my hands tend to hover over ‘Shift’, ‘Caps Lock’ and co.

This led to a lot of red squiggly lines underneath the incomprehensible sentences.

However, there were times while using the keyboard where typing felt natural and could easily flow without no more mistakes than I usually would make.

With a prolonged use I can see that it is very possible to adapt to using the keyboard and type in a way that is comfortable and accurate.

The biggest question that has to be answered when using a keyboard designed for iPad is how does it compare to the onscreen keyboard?

The native keyboard on the iPad feels less cluttered due to the one less row of keys but it does have the flexibility of being able to change the character set with the press of a button.

If you are typing a large amount on the iPad then having a pressure sensitive keyboard will be better for the fingers.

One huge advantage over the iPad’s inbuilt keyboard is the softness which is felt when typing, rather than the solid glass screen of the tablet.

The keyboard also has a range of function keys (operated in the same way as an Apple-made keyboard) which allows you to change music, lock the iPad, easily take a screenshot and do anything it is possible to do with a traditional keyboard.

Overall the Logitech devices makes having a case for you iPad mini more practical while also offering protection that you can trust.

Factor’s verdict:

factor-rating-3

3/5: USEFUL BUT NOT ESSENTIAL


Factor reviews: Microsoft’s mobile apps for grads

With 2014 university graduates now released into the professional world, Microsoft has developed a line of apps to help ease their transition. We reviewed them on the Nokia Lumia 925, a sleek smartphone that operates on Windows.

JobLens

Untitled-9

This app helps grads on their job hunt by connecting to contacts through LinkedIn and Facebook.

The highlight of the app is an augmented reality feature that allows you to see available jobs around you using your phone’s camera. Move your phone screen around and you can see the general direction of the companies that are hiring, listed with their distance from your location and the position they are looking to fill.

I found the augmented reality feature rather unnecessary and difficult to navigate, preferring the display that showed available jobs on a map, so I could get a better idea of a company’s exact location and nearby landmarks.

The app also allows you to create a resume, though it seems impractical to type out your entire resume on your phone rather than a full keyboard.

Looking for jobs through an app is certainly useful, but augmented reality just seems to be a distraction to the job search, especially for grads that have no time to waste as they start to pay off student loans.

CityLens

Untitled-8

CityLens gives you a comprehensive look at everything there is to do in your city of choice. From reviews and locations of restaurants to event and venue listings for daytime and nightlife activities, CityLens is extremely useful for grads who want to stay busy as they transition into working life.

In fact, this app would be useful to just about anyone who travels. It provides transportation information to make sure users always know how to find venues, as well as accommodation listings with reviews from TripAdvisor for people trying to find a place to stay.

The augmented reality feature is better served on CityLens than its job search counterpart, since people are more likely to look for nearby restaurants than careers in the spur of the moment.

This is a quality app for anyone who lives in a city or is looking to visit one, and it would definitely help grads find something fun to do on a night out.

Waze

Untitled-7

Traffic can be a pain, especially if you are heading to your first day at a new job. Waze is a handy app that gives full traffic reports, complete with the direction of the traffic, the cause and the average speed.

It gives moods and locations of other Waze users and allows you to report the traffic around you both actively and passively through your phone’s location services.

The app also contains a navigation system so you can figure out the best route to avoid heavy traffic.

Generally, it seems quite helpful, but it appeared that very few users were reporting information around me.

Waze would be more effective if more people used it, so I recommend downloading it and taking advantage of its features.

Overall

Other apps in the grad collection include Travel, Real Estate Search, LinkedIn, and the particularly fun-to-use notepad OneNote.

I found the apps for grads mostly user-friendy, but to be honest, there are some things you just shouldn’t do on a phone. It’s much easier to plan a vacation, look for a house or a job on a laptop than a tiny phone screen.

So if you want to browse these apps to find your perfect career, you should probably expect a little augmented reality-induced frustration.

Factor’s verdict:

factor-rating-3

3/5: USEFUL BUT NOT ESSENTIAL


Featured image courtesy of 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com