Zaggmate for iPad review

It didn’t take long to realize how much I’d enjoy the iPad when I got it. It’s a convenient, sleek, attractive, multi-function device that I can use to replace my laptop for most non-work related tasks. Away from the office I pretty much only use my laptop for writing and podcasting. When I got the iPad I had hoped to be able to get used to the keyboard enough to be somewhat proficient with it. Wrong. As often as I used the keyboard I still never got to the point where I could type quickly and with few typos. I needed a convenient keyboard solution. The offering from Apple doesn’t appeal to me in the least. Then I saw the ZAGGmate online. I’ve been very satisfied with the Invisible Shield, I’ve got it on all of my mobile gadgets, and ZAGG’s online presence and customer service are excellent. So, I thought I’d give it a shot. At first, the $100 price tag was kind of intimidating. The folks at ZAGG are free with the discount codes but they don’t offer any kind of break on the price of the ZAGGmate. Then I considered the $40 that I spent on the Philips leather, book/day planner style, case and the $50 I’d spent on the Otterbox Defender before that (God bless eBay) and it didn’t seem that bad. Both of these cases, the Otterbox and the Philips, are highly recommended as they each are excellent options
depending on protection and utility need.

My first impression wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped it’d be. The packaging looked nice but the documentation and USB power cable had shifted inside the plastic sleeve and partially covered the view of the keyboard. I looked at all of the packages available and all had similar shifting. Incidentally, if you’re interested in keeping the box you’ll have to be very careful as the plastic sleeve fits very, very tightly inside the outer box. After I destroyed the cardboard outer box and broke the glue seal on the plastic I was in! It’s a good looking case. The aluminum has a nice, slightly brushed look but the matte finish, I fear, will be scratched easily. Perhaps a layer of Invisible Shield would serve the case well. There are four clear rubber discs that can be affixed to the corners of the case to improve stability when in use. I installed them and don’t regret it. The interior of the case is nice. There is a foam rubber lip which creates a nice seal when the iPad is placed in. It feels secure but it doesn’t sit 100% flat against the keyboard and there is a little big of rocking when pushed from the corners individually. There is a cutout in the edge of the case which allows comfortable access to the keyboard and even provides a nice place to rest the edges of my thumbs when my hands are stationary. The foam seal extends approximately 1/32″ beyond the edge of the cutout and I fear that this may prove to be a problem in the future if the foam’s adhesive begins to fail. The keyboard itself is excellent. Absolutely perfect. It is about the same size as the keyboard on my wife’s netbook. All of the keys are where and they’re where you’d expect them to be. There is even the F# key row with pre-programmed keys for the iPad’s home, search, show/hide on-screen keyboard, previous track, next track, play/pause, mute, volume up, volume down and slide show. Syncing was easy and, actually, I synchronized it with my iPhone first. The iPad sits nicely in both portrait and landscape mode and the angle of display is comfortable.

There is very little that I can say that is negative about this case without nitpicking, which I’ve already done. What I can say is that the only thing that I’m using my laptop for now is podcasting and backing up my phone and iPad. Would I recommend the ZAGGmate? If you’re looking for a keyboard/case combo, yes, I’d recommend it.

Dan Fugate

Dan Fugate is marketing director for Blues Angel Music in Pensacola, Florida. He is also administrative director of the nonprofit foundation of the same name. Husband, father, and Cub Scout leader, Dan is also co-host of the Beer & Bros. podcast, an audio-only podcast where he and his brother-in-law drink beer and discuss the week's news.

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