TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad for iPad Air is like a much more elegant execution of Apple’s own Smart Cases, except this accessory is really a very clever two-sided cover. Installing it is as simple as sticking it to the rear of the iPad. The cover provides adequate scratch protection for transit, but no extra shock protection for the sides of the device. This is an accessory that compliments the premium appearance of the iPad, and doesn’t detract from it in order to provide a bit of extra protection. I’m very happy with this tradeoff, since the SurfacePad does a great job of preserving the Air’s clean lines and chamfered edges.
It may not be quite the right place to be talking too much about what makes us happy in life, but it wouldn’t be too much to share with you that I find myself thanking my lucky stars a lot these days. And one reason is that I get to participate in the march of technology first-hand – what a rush! But whilst I class myself a technophile, and most form does follow function, user experience always tops the list when it comes to why I choose what to adopt.
Take books for instance. There’s less and less need to argue the advantages of electronic/digital books on mobile devices these days as they speak for themselves. Literally sometimes. But for all I swear by my reading devices, there are particular types of books I will always prefer in physical form, and in the same breath will agree with the reasons traditionalists give to lay the same case. And to swiftly bring this opener back into relevance, whilst the virtual keyboard on iOS devices is the best in the business, there’s still a lot to be said for the physical keyboard, especially for the touch-typists out there. Being a fussy one of them, I went looking and found this little gem – the Perixx Periboard-806 Folding Bluetooth ALU Keyboard. Mouthful.
Belkin was kind enough to send over two of their QODE (pronounced “code”) Bluetooth keyboards for review: the QODE Ultimate and QODE Thin Type. To be honest, the Thin Type is the keyboard I was initially looking forward to, but the QODE Ultimate turned out to be a pleasant surprise, with its clever use of magnets and all-in-one design.
The keyboards on each product are almost identical, with the exception of the combined function and number keys on the QODE Ultimate. The action on the keys is shallow, but there’s a satisfying thud that accompanies each keystroke that preserves the connection to the typing experience. The keys aren’t too clicky or noisy either, so you won’t be annoying any neighbours at Starbucks. The only thing I really don’t like is how the colon key was moved to the right of the spacebar. It’s something I can get used to, but even two weeks in, it still feels awkward.
I’ve been using the Compass 2 in lieu of a Smart Cover for a few weeks now, and I’m impressed with how versatile this metal stand has turned out to be. TwelveSouth’s take on an iPad stand offers the usual bag of tricks — portrait and landscape viewing, and a flatter angle for typing — but the difference is how this little stand stays so compact.
I imagine the term easel was likely thrown around during the marketing phase of this product. When the iPad sits back in this stand with the Paper app loaded up, it’s reminiscent of canvas on an easel. However, “Compass” is still a great name for this product, given the way it folds out like the mathematical instruments I used in high school: two legs swing out horizontally, and an extra leg folds backwards to help form a stable platform. Each leg on the Compass has a sort of foot, which folds out to help hold the iPad up.
You know you are pretty geeky when you get excited about receiving a stylus in the post. However, this is a fairly regular occurrence for me and I’m not quite, but almost a stylus junkie. One of the main reasons I love the iPad is that, used with apps which suit your style of working, you can do some amazing things to streamline your workflow. For me though, the thing that is missing from the iPad is a good stylus for handwritten input. I’ve always been slightly jealous of the Samsung S-pen and thought that this is one of the areas where the iPad is lacking. The iPad has some amazing note taking apps (Notability is my favourite), but without decent hardware input, the writing experience is truly awful. However, Lynktec look to be about to change this with their new rechargeable Apex active stylus. [click to continue reading…]