Zagg Rugged Book for iPad Air 2 – Initial Review

I recently made a somewhat overdue upgrade of my iPad 4 and got the new iPad Air 2. This in of itself was of course a significant upgrade, jumping into Apples model line that now carry their 64-bit processor. Man does everything run nice and smooth again, very impressed with the tablet. However, I also did another upgrade to my tablet kit and purchased the Zagg Rugged Book and would like to share with you my first impressions of this ruggedized keyboard folio case.
With my rekindled hobby of photography and the advances of tablet apps, the iPad has now found itself into the field workflow of many photographers (from the amature to the professional) so I too was curious how this new device would work for me in the field. Taking anything into the outdoors requires you to evaluate how it will survive the emminent drops and tumbles. I have also recently embarked on a PAD project (photo a day) that I wanted to utilize only a mobile device for editing, creating and publishing so having a physical keyboard also looked to be something that I would be needing. I have had Zagg products in the past and was always pleased with their quality and durability so I decided to see what they might have to offer for my new device and in the niche of outdoor usage.

Enter the Zagg Rugged Book. The ad on the website looked like this was exactly what I was looking for (down to the stock image of a photographer working in the picturesque outdoors! laugh) and the reviews seemed to support my gut feeling. So, I pulled the trigger and picked it up. I won’t walk you thought a lenghthy unboxing narrative or video (there are plenty of them available on YouTube), but would like to share with you some of my first impressions after using the case for a week.

The short answer to my overall impression of this case is – Awesome! Zagg maintained my previous experiences with their products on every front. I will say right up front that you have to be willing to accept the fact that your new ultra-slim iPad will add a few inches and weight, but I was fully expecting this since I was going for somthing that was rugged and also had a keyboard.

The exterior of the case is very ruggedized and although I haven’t subjected it to a drop yet, I feel very confident that it will be able to survive one when it happens. Zagg’s design of the magnetic hinge is really fantastic. The folio very quickly converts from keyboard to ‘book mode’ to a keyboard detached mode without any parts, snaps or latches. This ability to detach from the keyboard without having to uncase the device was also very critical to my decision since I also like to read on my iPad and I didn’t want to have the bulk or obstacle of a keyboard impeeding my liesure reading time.

The keyboard’s layout and performance are stellar. It is very responsive and since it is bluetooth, there aren’t any cables or anything to mess with. When you’re ready to start typing it just takes off right away! The keys are very nicely spaced and I don’t find it difficult to type normally as I would on my desktop or laptop’s keyboards. A few bonus features of the keyboard are that it also offers backlight capability for typing in low light environments and Zagg states that you should expect about a two years on a single charge!

In closing, based on my experiences thus far I am very confident in recommending this to anyone in search of a protective case for their iPad who also need an external keyboard. I will be using this heavily in the filed this coming year as I work on the PAD project and will give you another review once I put some more miles on it.

I hope this review has been helpful to you and as always, please feel free to share and comment.

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