After using Logitech's £120 Solar Keyboard Folio, the Adonit Writer Plus looked like a considerably cheaper alternative for the iPad 2. Don't be disheartened if you have an iPad 3/4 though, as Adonit has created the same case and made it compatible with the 3 & 4.
Initial impressions weren't great, though. The plastic frame into which your iPad clips looks and feels like cheap plastic. Plus, as it was designed for the iPad 2, the new iPad doesn't quite fit perfectly. It clips into place easily enough, but the corners bow outwards a little due to the iPad 2's extra thickness.
Adonit Writer Plus: design
Design-wise, the Writer Plus is quite different to the Logitech. The plastic frame is only attached to the outer case at one side, allowing it to hinge away to form a stand. The keyboard isn't attached to the outer cover, either.
The fact that it's detachable is a real boon, not simply because you can move it to wherever is most comfortable, but also because you can leave it at home if you know you won't need it, saving 187g of the case's 422g total.
Without the keyboard in place there's an inevitable gap between the iPad and front cover near the hinge, but it's not a big problem. With it there, the magnets aren't strong enough to keep the cover closed, and it flapped open a few times during our tests.
Adonit Writer Plus: keyboard
The keyboard itself is a sturdy unit made from aluminium. It's just 4mm thick, with the keys adding another 2mm on top. The keys have proper laptop-style scissor springs although they're slightly smaller than you'd find on most laptops.
The layout is impressively close to a standard keyboard, but note the single-height Enter key with the backslash above it. Disappointingly, there's no £ symbol.
A row of function keys provides shortcuts, just as with Logitech's version. Top left is a Home key, but you can also jump straight to Spotlight and the photo frame mode. There are also cut, copy, paste and media playback keys.
Once you've paired the keyboard with your iPad, it connects automatically so is always ready to use when you need it - as long as you leave Bluetooth enabled on your iPad.
Magnets in the tab (onto which the keyboard connects) hold the iPad in place at various angles, from almost vertical to around 45 degrees. Five rubber standoffs help to prevent the keys touching your iPad's screen when the case is shut, but the aluminium keyboard bends and the keys do come in contact with the screen if anything heavy is put on top of the case.
More magnets activate the iPad's wake/sleep function (these work with the new iPad) and also automatically turn the keyboard on and off to avoid wasting battery power. You can charge the keyboard's internal battery by connecting the included micro USB cable to your iPad's charger or a free USB port on your computer. Adonit says the battery should last for two weeks of normal use.
The case has cutouts for all ports and buttons, and the new iPad's camera lines up perfectly with the hole in the rear panel. We also like that the front panel's magnets hold it folded in half so it doesn't obscure the camera.
While the version of the case designed for the iPad 2 retails at around £13-18, the case compatible with the iPad 3/4 costs between £60-75 on Amazon. We can't work out why the price is so much higher with no real difference between the two models.
Review unit provided by ExecSpot.com