Sunday, May 5, 2019

Review: IEGrow iPad 9.7 Keyboard Case

First things first, use case. I’m a writer looking to turn my iPad into a productivity device. That means no more laptop. I want a device with great battery life, access to the programs I need, and a damn good keyboard.

I’ve looked high and low, and the IEGrow iPad keyboard case is one of the best on the market. The reason I mention the above paragraph is because my needs are very specific. I need my technology to work for me, and my work involved my hands. My Surface 3 reached the end of its life, so it was time for an upgrade.

In the world of keyboard cases, the three important factors are the keyboard itself, viewing angles, and protection. Most tend to excel at two of these, rarely all three.

The case provides great protection, completely covering the iPad. This will save it from scratches and quite a few falls. The color leaves a lot to be desired and oils and scratches will show up. Your iPad will be safe though, so the resale value will hold up over time.

The viewing angles are whatever is desired, with the ability to be completely turns and held like a tablet. The hinge is strong, giving very strong support and little wobble. The first review I ever saw of this case had someone showing the strength of the hinge with their hand on the screen holding it steady. I thought something was up, but no, the stability really is that good.

The keyboard itself is what needs to be delved into. First, all the keys are backlit! Great for typing at night or in dark interiors. RGB is included, allowing a choice of seven different colors. A full function row is at the top.

The keyboard feels nice enough, until you look just a little bit closer. The Enter key and the right shift key are very small, and worse yet, in between the right shift key and the backslash key is the up arrow key. This means when I went to capitalize a word, which happens for every sentence, there is a chance I hit Up instead of shift. And as a touch typist who types about 88 to 92 words per minute, this slows me down considerably.

This is the major fault. As someone who’s last novel was over 140,000 words, I do a lot of typing. I need to use the shift key, and occasionally, I hit the up arrow instead.

Over time, I have gotten used to it, but it still is a major downside for someone who types a lot every day. I typed this review on a mechanical keyboard because the daily typing experience matters. And I’m not a snob. I wrote ten books, over 200,000 words on a Surface 3, which by the way, has the same exact keyboard layout at the Barnes & Noble Nook 10.1 keyboard case. The same design.

Sure, it’s a little small, but it works. This...I don’t know. My hope is a future model of this will copy the Surface/Nook keyboard layout, and then it will be perfect. Well, not really, but very close! Time will tell how long the strength of the hinge lasts. And I would love to set the timer of the backlit key glow. But still, this is one of the best iPad keyboard cases I could find.

The IEGrow keyboard case does pretty much everything you want, with a couple of downsides, at an affordable price. If it broke right now I would buy another. If a future model includes a new keyboard layout, I would literally be the best of the pack. The only way to get a better keyboard for an iPad is to upgrade to the iPad Pro, which also puts someone in the same league to get a Surface device or a really nice Chromebook.

For the base iPad, you can’t beat this case.