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Reviewed: The Elements App

Perhaps the cleanest writing environment in the world

The cliche when writing about keyboard arrangements for portable devices (as well as voice dictation software) is that you tell the reader that you, surprise, using the very device in question to write these very words. Look, it produces words.

Anyway, a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard cover arrived here today, precharged and ready to go. And there are definitely some things to like about it compared with the Kensington I've been using. It looks kind of jazzy when you close it up against the iPad, for one thing. Hey, look! It's silver on both sides. The beast with two silver backs!

And the keyboard tray is stiff, so you can actually cradle the thing in your lap, as you might want to do while, say, on a plane or sitting on the couch. That's nice.

Furthermore, the angle at which the display leans back from the keyboard is quite comfortable. And that's good, because it's not something you can adjust (which a guy could get cranky about, but then again I can't see how you'd make it otherwise given the basic design of the thing).

The packaging says that, with a couple hours of typing a day, the battery charge for the keyboard should last six months. I suspect that that's similar to the Kensington, which I don't recall any battery life claims for, but which seems to last more or less eternally per charge.

It kind of pains me to say this last part: I'm not sure I don't slightly prefer the feel of the Kensington. I want to type a bit more on this one (which is certainly quite serviceable and which has a nice positive feel even though the keystroke depth isn't very deep), but so far I feel like I felt slightly better when typing on the Kensington.

Plus, the Kensington is cheaper. It's uglier, too, because it looks like a sloppy-ish portfolio, but that has a couple of advantages. For one thing, it doesn't scream to the world that you've got an iPad with you. For another, it's covered in a soft fabric and the construction of it in general gives it a bit of forgiveness that makes me rather suspect that it's better protection for your iPad. Finally--though it's probably not anybody's deal killer--the Kensington has a loop to hold your stylus, if you use one. The Logitech is too slim for that. Ah, the Logitech is definitely slimmer, by the way.

Either choice makes for perfectly decent typing (and both are small-than-normal keyboards, but I at least can switch back and forth between these and standard keyboards with no difficulty). And if you're going to anything halfway serious on your iPad, you need a real keyboard, trust me. Night and day.

Robert Richardson is the principle nomad here at the Mode.
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