Review: Kensington’s KeyFolio Thin X3 iPad Air Case Extends The Bluetooth Keyboard

Review: Kensington’s KeyFolio Thin X3 iPad Air Case Extends The Bluetooth Keyboard

Graduating from a simple iPad case to something more useful is not easy with so many options out there. Kensington has made the decision making process very easy. Their KeyFolio Thin X3 with PowerLift battery technology nearly fulfilled all of my wants.

Review: Kensington's KeyFolio X3 iPad Air Case Extends The Bluetooth Keyboard

Overview

iPad compatible Bluetooth keyboards and cases have existed for many years. Combining them makes sense keeping them lightweight for travel. Kensington has gone a step further by integrating input, battery and protection technologies while keeping everything very portable.

I have evaluated many keyboard cases that fold together or provide a less than desirable typing experience. I decided to utilize the KeyFolio Thin X3 for iPad Air as my main tablet keyboard for over a month. It surprised me in many ways.

Typically, keyboards for smaller mobile devices like a tablet receive a moments worth of thought from their designers. Up until I received this keyboard case, I was using an Apple Bluetooth keyboard for use with all of my mobile devices, because it provided me the best experience.

The KeyFolio Thin X3’s feel and responsive key layout allows me to type as fast as with a desktop keyboard. I scored 85 words per minute via 10FastFingers.com on my Apple Bluetooth keyboard and the one from Kensington. That is fast for an integrated keyboard.

That is not all the X3 has to offer. It can be adjusted for multiple angles, has a 1,650 mAh battery with a 1A charging port for smartphones called PowerLift, a QuickFold design, KeySense Power Channel, automatic wake and sleep and a magnetic closure to keep the case secure.

Adjusting the iPad Air in the KeyFolio Thin X3 was easy. Two angles of tilt kept it from toppling over while I used it to type and to stream video on a pillow. It balances well on a leg, small tables and airplane tray tables.

Kensington-KeyFolio-Thin-X3-iPad-Air-2

Because it has a nearly 2,000 mAh internal battery, Kensington included their PowerLift technology. A special USB cable came with the kit that turns its micro USB port into a 1A charging port for smartphones. It worked with several different types of iPhones and Android devices. The power key located on the bottom right activates the flow of power to external gadgets.

Some keyboard cases coverup up all of the ports, speaker, buttons and camera. This combination case allows you quick access to the camera, use wired headphones and still have access to all of the iPad Air’s buttons and switches, even while folded because of their QuickFold design.

Rather than including a button to turn on and off the Bluetooth keyboard, a magnetic channel that the iPad Air rests in activates its wireless connection. It paired quickly with my iPad and has activated properly each time, even after multiple firmware updates.

A specially marked key row above the numbers, allowed me to activate Siri, search, launch a web browser, adjust volume and more. Each key has a nice size and are located where you would expect them to be. Props to Kensington for not re-adjusting key sizes and layout, it helps when typing in long form.

Flipping the iPad Air out of the KeySense Power Channel turns off its wireless Bluetooth connection and puts the system into a sleep mode. I have yet to recharge its internal battery after more than a month of use. If you use its PowerLift recharging tech, 1,650 mAh will almost recharge an iPhone up to full.

Verdict

Overall, my experiences with the Kensington KeyFolio Thin X3 was positive. The only feature I would swap is its PowerLift for a backlit keyboard. The company makes a backlit KeyFolio for the iPad Air 2

The scissor keys on the KeyFolio Thin X3 provided nice feedback throughout my testing. I particularly enjoyed my typing test results of 85 wpm. The magnets were strong enough to hold my iPad Air and keyboard together. PowerLift is a nice feature from Kensington that helped to top off my iPhone’s battery. Its weight distribution, while the iPad is attached, allowed me to stream movies on a pillow without it toppling over.

At $89.99 available directly from the Kensington website, it costs slightly less than other quality keyboard cases.

Rating: [rating:4.5/5.0]

Pros:

  • Thin design with magnetic closure
  • PowerLift power technology can top off a smartphone’s battery
  • Auto wake and sleep for the iPad Air
  • KeySense Power Chanel that turns on Bluetooth
  • Function keys that activate features of iOS

Cons:

  • No backlit keys
  • Relatively small internal battery
  • Only two angles of view

Disclosure: I was provided the above Keyfolio Thin X3 for the iPad Air from Kensington at no cost for review. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine. All photos are courtesy of Kensington.

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