REVIEW: Mobile Zap iPad Mini keyboard channels Asus Transformer Pad

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The iPad Mini and bluetooth dock next to a 15" Windows laptop

The iPad Mini and bluetooth dock next to a 15″ Windows laptop

IPAD Mini users looking to squeeze more productivity from their tablets can now give their thumbs a rest thanks to a new netbook-style bluetooth keyboard and dock from Mobile Zap.

The dock, available for AUD$78.99, is akin to the Asus Transformer Pad whereby the tablet sits on a hinge and becomes the ‘lid’ for a faux-laptop.

The iPad Mini itself is docked in the horizontal position, held in by a felt-lined clamp that didn’t seem to cause any damage to our device.

The greatest benefit of the hinged design is the fact you can open it to any angle up to around 100 degrees. This makes it a great presentation, charging, and alarm dock, too.

I must clarify that the keyboard won’t charge your device – it’s just handy to sit it in while your device is charging.

Disappointingly, there’s no screen lock or unlock triggered when the iPad Mini is closed or open – something Mobile Zap will hopefully resolve for a future edition.

However, once connected, the keyboard works well. Keys can sometimes be spongy, and those with big fingers may want to think twice – but for the rest of us, it’s a far more efficient way to take notes, write lengthy pieces, and gain greater productivity out of your miniature iPad.

Like most keyboard attachments, the peripheral is lighter than the device, which can make using it a hassle on the train. It’s important to keep your hands resting on the keyboard to stop the tablet falling backwards.

The keyboard has an in-built, rechargeable battery. Depending on your use, it can last quite a while – up to two or three weeks with moderate use.

Power users will be recharging more often, but I was really impressed by the battery life, especially as I used it to take notes at work meetings.

In terms of added features, a Function button pressed in concert with a button featuring a purple icon will trigger that feature, be it adjusting the device’s volume, brightness, locking and unlocking, playing music, or searching the device.

In conclusion, Mobile Zap’s keyboard is great for those who want the look and feel of a netbook when typing, and the ability to quickly remove the tablet for handheld use.

Those with big fingers, or who don’t like reduced-size keyboards, should steer clear.  But those who need to type on their iPad Mini and aren’t sold on folio-style keyboards should seriously consider this alternative.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Mobile Zap for providing the review sample.

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