Up for review today is the Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard Pro for the iPad 2 (and new iPad). This keyboard case is selling for $149.99 and is currently available by way of the Brookstone website.
Disclaimer: The Bluetooth Keyboard Pro was provided to GadgeTell by Brookstone for the purpose of this review.
The Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard Pro is a keyboard and portfolio style case combo. The folks at Brookstone tout this as being made of “luxurious top-grain leather” right on the box. And well, true to the words — this case is made of a nice leather. As soon as the box was opened the room filled with that wonderful leather smell. The model that I had in for testing and review was brown, however there are a few options available including matte black, shiny black, matte brown, distressed brown and shiny red. Perhaps more important than the colors though, this is real leather, which means that it looks good now and will continue to look good with age. Well, that is assuming you care for it properly which really means avoiding water and moisture and the occasional wipe down with a soft dry cloth. On that note, when visiting a public place such as a coffee shop, you may want to give the table a quick wipe before setting down.
This keyboard case combo has a magnetic closure as well as magnets holding the keyboard in place on the inside. The keyboard being attached with magnets is nice for a few reasons — one being that is is easy to clean and remove and two being that it can be removed easily for charging. Of course, the keyboard has rather nice battery life which should keep that charging to a minimum. According to what was posted, the keyboard will get about 90 hours of use from a 4.5 hour charge. And while I can say that I have not used the keyboard for 90 hours yet, I have not seen any flashing lights. The flashing lights are the LED indicators which blink when the battery gets low. Otherwise, the keyboard is charged using (an included) USB cable and the keyboard has an on/off switch, connect button to pair with your iPad and indicator lights for caps lock, Bluetooth, charge and power.
In terms of the case itself, I already mentioned the leather on the exterior. On the inside you will find a soft rubber material, which I would assume will not only hold up nicely over the long term, but also clean easily should the interior ever get dirty or dusty. The iPad can be propped up in two different viewing angles and the back side has an opening for the rear-facing camera on the iPad. The same goes for the front facing camera and the iPad home button — both are accessible and useable.
Touching back on the keyboard, it is on the thin side, which makes it nice when typing. Though it does feel on the flimsy side when removed from the case. Of course, I suspect that would never really be an issue as the keyboard is intended to be used in the case. Still, something worth mentioning. Otherwise, the keyboard is comfortable to type on. In fact, I am using it to write up this review. In terms of size, it is comparable to other keyboards made for the iPad. Similar in size anyway. Lets say that this is smaller than your standard notebook, certainly smaller than the keyboard on my 13″ MBA, but still plenty big enough to knock out lots and lots of words. The keys are chicklet style and feel durable. That is to say that you can mash the keys with little worry about having them stick in place.
The bottom line
All said and done, there are plenty of similar offerings for your iPad. On that note, the keyboard seems to be pretty standard in terms of build quality and battery life. What really shines for me is the case, of course I am sort of a sucker for leather. For that reason I would recommend this case. Similar to the Brookstone iPhone projector that I recently reviewed, this is another review item that I wish was able to stick around. That being said, I am not all that convinced I need one personally, however can see the use for the person that has an iPad and does not have a notebook. More to the point, the person that already has an iPad and sometimes finds the need for a notebook style device (without necessarily needing a full notebook). And with that, I am going to close this review out and move onto some other writing work, after all, this leather smell deserves to stick around for a while longer.