Logitech BLOK Review – Robust case for iPad
In this Logitech BLOK review, we cover the latest iPad Air keyboard case from Logitech. Can this uber-robust case with detachable Bluetooth keyboard boost usability and productivity of the iPad on the go? Let’s check it out.
However, in reality, tablets have generally offered a less than satisfactory productivity solution
The notion of using tablets for mobile productivity has always been enticing. To have a small, lightweight mobile computing platform with long battery life and well supported by applications would seem ideal. However, in reality, tablets have generally offered a less than satisfactory productivity solution for a number of reasons….
- Lack of screen real estate when the on-screen keyboard is engaged, see example below.
- The limited productivity solutions
- For IOS, the lack of mouse support. So you have to rely on key strokes and stabbing the screen with one’s plump fingers to get around.
- Another IOS problem – getting information on and off the iPad when cloud options are not available. One cannot always depend on having WiFi connections.
The on-screen keyboard limits the working area
I have other qualms, but I will get those off my chest another day.
The first of these issues can be solved by using an external keyboard which really helps in terms of productivity and available screen real estate and this my friends, is the subject for today. In guinea pig of choice will be the BLOK case with keyboard, provided by Logitech. This particular case provides nigh on indestructible protection for even the most sadistic/clumsy of mobile workers. Let’s start this Logitech BLOK review with some consideration of it’s unique design.
Physical Design of the Logitech BLOK
It is difficult to find fault with the BLOK. Everything is as exactly how it should be. The plastic casing tightly envelopes and secures the iPad. In this Logitech BLOK Review, I found the the construction is faultless and the keyboard provides consistent Bluetooth connection and satisfying feedback to the user. Sleek lines are somewhat absent and in it’s place we have a completely utilitarian piece of engineering. I am still in two minds as to what this will do for one’s street cred.
The keyboard is magnetically attachable
According to Logitech, the casing protects the iPad from falls of up to 6 feet. Have I verified this with my own iPad – nope. However, the construction does give me sufficient confidence to have my 2 year old daughter handle it without breaking out in a cold sweat. If you need a bit more evidence, here’s the quasi-science bit from Logitech,
At the rear of the case we have the kick stand. The hinge is fairly stiff and no doubt should be able to maintain it’s structural integrity when in use. When folded back, a magnet secures it in place, flush against the rear of the case.
Plump side profile
Joining the case to the keyboard, we have a flexible hinge with magnetic connection. So, being magnetic, the case can be readily detached from the keyboard with a swift tug. The magnetic connection is sufficiently strong to enable the case to be suspended from the keyboard and vice versa. But, don’t push your luck with this. A few shakes will dislodge the case and in such a situation you will be damn glad of the 6 foot drop claims. Before I leave the topic of the hinge, one niggle. If you still find yourself stabbing at the iPad screen, you may see some tendency of the screen to pivot back. This is simply due to the flexible hinge allowing the case to pivot on the kick stand when the screen is pushed.
In terms of the stats,
Height: 9.9 in (251.4 mm)
Width: 7.26 in (184.5 mm)
Depth: 0.87 in (22 mm)
Weight: 22.75 oz (645 g)
If those dimensions appear somewhat hefty, that’s because they are. They turn the normally svelte frame of the iPad into something more akin to a brick, which probably provided the inspiration for the name – BLOK(Logitech please correct me if I am wrong!). When you add the weight of the iPad the weight is in the region of 1075g, at least according to my dusty baking scales. This brings the iPad into the realms of ultra books, where some serious work can be done and here we probably find the competition to an iPad/Keyboard combo.. To give the reader some feeling of the dimensions, check the picture below.
Placing the naked iPad Air next to The BLOK with keyboard one can really appreciate the size difference.
Logitech BLOK Keyboard
The keyboard makes a Bluetooth connection with the iPad in about 1 second. I know this because I timed it.
Last but not least the keyboard. The BLOK keyboard offers a solid typing experience. It is well constructed with little flex but is not overly heavy. It’s chiclet keys provide excellent travel and feedback that one is never left guessing if a keystroke had been registered. To get a feel for the size of the BLOK keyboard, it is just a little wider than the iPad in landscape orientation. I never got the feeling of the keyboard being cramped and could happily type this review on it.
The keyboard makes a Bluetooth connection with the iPad in about 1 second. I know this because I timed it. Even the busiest executive would not complain about that.It is powered by 2 x CR2032 batteries with Logitech claims provide sufficient juice for about 4 years use.Along the top of the keyboard, you will find a range of function keys for searching, opening Siri, home button and a few others. At the bottom though is where one can gain some advantage in productivity applications. The Function, Options, Control and Command keys really help with keyboard shortcuts and traversing and editing documents.
Lastly, as with many cases, it can be closed as a folio and in doing so power down the iPad. Let’s now progress to the Summary in this Logitech BLOK Review.
Logitech BLOK Review Summary
After using the BLOK case for a couple of weeks there are some important points that came to mind about using the iPad with external keyboard.
First, it makes a world of difference to have such a keyboard when using a tablet. Content generation starts to become viable with the iPad.
Second, the detachable keyboard is essential. The majority of my iPad usage is for consuming information, not generating it. For that, I don’t really want the extra bulk the keyboard adds. Should I wish to do something more productive, the keyboard can be readily fastened which makes using the iPad into something more of a laptop experience – Indeed I still fine myself reaching for the touchpad!
Third, when it comes to such cases you need to decide your priorities. Should one want a keyboard case that really offers protection for one’s beloved iPad, then expect a bit of weight gain to the anorexic iPad.
Finally, the last one that I have noted. I created this article on the BLOK and on completion did a quick proof read. For that I just detach the case pick up the iPad and read it as one would a book. The form factor of tablets is much more conducive to that than notebooks.
With these in mind, is the BLOK with Keyboard a good choice? If you really find yourself dragging your iPad everywhere and favour protection above all else, then absolutely. When not needing the keyboard you can also dispense with it, somewhat lightening the load. This would be my conclusion in this Logitech BLOK Review.
If, on the other hand you mostly keep the iPad at home then a lighter weight solution might be a better. Some well regarded examples include the Logitech ultra thin keyboard or the Belkin Ultimate Pro Keyboard case.