Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Turn an iPad3 into a chinese knock-off Macbook Pro

Does this look familiar? It is an iPad made to look like a miniaturized MacBook Pro.

I originally spotted this bluetooth case/keyboard combo after reading an article on 9to5Mac. This was long before I saw the aluminum Brydge keyboard on kickstarter. The Brydge version is expected to debut this fall. I am sure the Brydge will be superior since it is made from aluminum vs abs plastic.

However, for many people, this may be the next best option for someone who needs something now.

So what can I say about it? This keyboard-case combo enclosure is made somewhere in the far east. There is no trackpad but the keyboard keys have a strong resemblance to modern day macbooks. Like other iPad keyboards, there are function keys for music, fast forward/rewind, brightness, search, and home.  Copy-n-paste and other keyboard short cuts work with various iOS applications.
There is a USB port for charging. Three switched adorn the top: bluetooth toggle, power toggle, and usb charging toggle.

Look below, I can now use my iPad as an expensive SSH terminal. I can say typing on it is not that bad. Using this keyboard with iSSH or Pages is pretty good.

The bluetooth keyboard case comes in two flavors – iPad 2 and iPad3. Make sure you choose the right one. My iPad 2 did not fit in my iPad3 case. As you can see, it adds a considerable amount of bulk. Pictured below is an iPad3 in the case compared to the ultra thin iPad 2.

In short, it looks good and does the job. I like the ability to charge the iPad through USB with its high capacity battery.

However and this is a big however, it does feel flimsy and cheap. After a full month of usage, I can see the plastic paint pitting. The enclosure is a bit loose and the iPad can easily fall out.  Hence, I have mixed feelings about it. It works for what I use it for. I guess I'll be one of those waiting for the Brydge when it comes out. But for the next 5-6 months, I will have one of the coolest iPad cases around.

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