These days, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to a physical keyboard for the iPad. The trouble is, a lot of them aren't very good. See also: Best cases and covers for the new iPad

Apple's own Wireless Keyboard is one option, but you'll have to carry it separately from your iPad, as it isn't designed to attach to the tablet as with Archos' new 101 XS.

Logitech's Solar Keyboard Folio could be a more convenient option if you'd prefer a keyboard that's also a case.

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio

The Folio opens like a book, with the keyboard on the left and a rubber surround to hold the iPad on the right. In the middle is an aluminium tube containing the batteries which are charged by a pair of solar panels on the back of the case.

To use the keyboard for typing, two feet on the rubber surround hold the iPad in place just above the top row of keys. A sensor detects this, and turns the keyboard on. Initially, you have to pair the keyboard to your iPad by enabling Bluetooth and tapping on the keyboard in the list; thereafter it will connect automatically.

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio

There are 65 plastic keys and their 1.5mm travel is just enough to give positive feedback, allowing you to type surprisingly quickly (and a lot faster than using the on-screen keyboard).

The layout is pretty close to a desktop keyboard, and naturally beats the on-screen version by having a dedicated number row, along with punctuation. It even squeezes in a double-height enter key.

Typing this review on the keyboard, we missed having only Home and End keys, but you can still tap on the iPad's screen to quickly move the cursor around a document in an app such as Pages.

The top row of keys includes a 'Home' button, mirroring the iPad's own Home button, and every other key on the row works as a shortcut to either an app or a function such as search, zoom and others.

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio

When you put the iPad in the alternative stand position, intended for watching videos, one row of keys remains visible and acts as media playback shortcuts with the spacebar pausing videos or songs, and other keys doubling up as volume, mute and fast-forward / rewind.

The main typing angle is fine if you're using the Folio on a desk but it becomes less than ideal when on your lap as it's too upright.

Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio

Other gripes include the fact that there's nothing to hold the case shut and, despite the price, this isn't a leather case or at least one that looks extremely expensive. Neither the iPad surround nor the keyboard are removable, so you're stuck with the the bulk and weight. On its own the Solar Folio weighs 460g, taking the total (with iPad in situ) to well over a kilogram.

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Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio for iPad: Specs

  • Compatible with iPad 2 and new iPad Bluetooth 3.0 Dye-sensitive solar cells charge Ni-MH batteries Battery life: two years when fully charged 428 x 188 x 253 mm 460g
  • Compatible with iPad 2 and new iPad Bluetooth 3.0 Dye-sensitive solar cells charge Ni-MH batteries Battery life: two years when fully charged 428 x 188 x 253 mm 460g


On a desk, the Solar Folio is a great keyboard, but it's not comfortable to use on your lap. Unlike Logitech's other keyboard case for the iPad, it does provide all-round protection. Although it's well made, the case has no clips to hold it closed. The solar power is convenient but overall it's not great value.

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