Review: ZAGGkeys Mini 9 Keyboard Case & Cover: Not Recommended

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ZAGGkeys Mini 9 keyboard case for iPad mini

The ZAGGkeys Mini 9 is a new iPad mini keyboard case and cover combo from the team at ZAGG. In the past, ZAGG keyboard cases have been my favorite for the iPad, largely due to their excellent keyboards with generous key spacing.

For the iPad mini ZAGG recently released two variants of the ZAGGkeys Mini – the ZAGGkeys Mini 7 and Mini 9. The Mini 9 offers a standard sized ZAGG keyboard, the Mini 7 has a ‘compact’ keyboard layout. I had been looking forward to seeing ZAGG release a keyboard case for the iPad mini and eagerly awaited the arrival of my ZAGGkeys Mini 9 (which I’ll just refer to as the Mini 9 from here on) – and unfortunately it’s been all downhill and disappointment ever since it arrived on my doorstep.

Notes

Here are some of the notable features ZAGG lists for the ZAGGkeys Mini 9:

    • Great for the iPad mini
    • Identical keyboard size, design, and layout as ZAGG’s award-winning tablet keyboards
    • Island-style keys engineered to provide 90% of the space of a traditional keyboard
    • Dedicated special function keys
    • Cradles the iPad mini providing a durable case protecting both the iPad mini and keyboard

It comes in black or white models. I ordered the black.

The Mini 9 goes for $89.99 directly from ZAGG.

ZAGGkeys Mini 9 keyboard case for iPad mini

Highlights

– The Mini 9 case is softer and feels nicer in the hand than the hard cover used in the ZAGG keyboard cases for the iPad 2/3/4 models.

– The keyboard is very nice and has generous key spacing, just as I have come to expect from ZAGG’s iPad keyboard cases.

ZAGGkeys Mini 9 keyboard case for iPad mini

– It’s got a nice Battery Indicator key – press it and LED status light blinks to indicate battery level – green for 50-100%, yellow for 20-50, red for less than 20%.

– Pairing with the iPad mini was simple as usual and it stays paired nicely.

– The Power and Pairing buttons are a little recessed in the keyboard – they look good and work well.

– Cutouts for ports are pretty good.

ZAGGkeys Mini 9 keyboard case for iPad mini

Lowlights

Buckle your seatbelt – there are a lot.

– The first Mini 9 I received had a piece of very strong adhesive tape used to hold a little plastic bag with a user manual and charge cable in place on the inside frame of the case. This tape proved extremely difficult to remove, no matter how slowly and carefully I worked with it. When I finally got it removed it had actually damaged the interior frame – pulled up some of its material and left a glue-like patch that looked like it might well damage the Gelaskin on the back of my iPad mini.

The spacebar key on my first unit was also defective. I didn’t work at all initially. I eventually coaxed it into working, but it only worked sporadically.

I submitted a return form for the first unit – citing the two problems, and ZAGG sent me a replacement unit pretty quickly. The bad news is the second unit had exactly the same issue with the adhesive tape used for the little bag held on the inside frame. Here’s a photo of how the frame looked after the struggle to remove it was complete:

Interior damage

The big splotch you can see is the gluey mess left behind. And this is on the second / replacement unit!

– My iPad mini does not feel like it fits well in the Mini 9. At first I attributed this to the Gelaskin I used on the back of the iPad mini. But that was not the issue. I know this because the Gelaskin was wrecked after a handful of times inserting and removing the iPad mini in the case – and the fit still feels wrong even with the ‘naked’ iPad mini. It is awkward to get into the case and a real pain in the neck to remove from it. So much so that I feel like it’s a risk that the iPad mini will be scratched and nicked when removing it.

– Even when it’s inserted into the case the iPad mini sort of floats within it – since the case is sized up to accommodate the standard keyboard and not to fit the iPad mini itself. It feels almost comical to me that on the one hand the case is too big for the iPad mini, but it still manages to be a nightmare to get the iPad in and out of it.

iPad and keyboard

– The case is not terribly ugly, but it’s not hugely appealing looking either.

Overall

As mentioned above, I had high hopes for the ZAGGkeys Mini 9 – but it has been a major disappointment. I didn’t even want to insert the iPad mini into it one more time when I realized I didn’t have a shot of the iPad in typing mode. It’s bad enough that it’s not a keeper for me – I won’t be using this case at all after today.

The keyboard is not detachable as on some of the bigger ZAGG keyboard cases – though I might do some DIY removal just to try that out.

Needless to say, this keyboard case is not recommended.

If you’d like to see  ore details or place an order, check out the ZAGGkeys Mini 9 product page.

Disclosure: This accessory was independently purchased by the post author. For information on our review policies please see our About page.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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8 thoughts on “Review: ZAGGkeys Mini 9 Keyboard Case & Cover: Not Recommended

  1. I bought one of these at Best Buy a few weeks ago. Incidentally they happen to have been 50% on the Zagg web site that same day (I tried to price match) and now we know why.

    Had all the same problems.

    The tape left a mark.

    But more importantly I couldn’t even get my iPad Mini to fit inside the case. I tried for a while pushing, popping with no luck. It simply would not go in on one side.

    In the end I returned the case without even being able to use it. They only had the one white color I wanted in stock so I didn’t even bother with an exchange.

    • Hey Larry. Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I grabbed mine during that 50% off sale too. I’m not shocked that you couldn’t even get your iPad mini into the case. It honestly felt dangerous every time I got mine inserted and removed.

      This is a surprisingly poor product from ZAGG.

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  3. hi my zagg 9 is frozen the bluetooth light is stuck on and the power will not turn off.Any help with this problem.

  4. There’s more downsides than those mentioned in the article. I also encountered the adhesive tape thing, and spent 15 minutes with rubbing alcohol trying to get it off. It still left a permanent mark. I’m currently waiting for a warranty replacement for mine because like the author, a lot of the keys on mine have started to only work sporadically, making the keyboard useless (only had it since mid-January). In addition to that though, other downsides include:

    – No way to secure the case closed. The keyboard just flops open if you’re not careful when picking it up.
    – There is a magenetic strip across the lower edge of the keyboard below the space bar, which is presumably for shutting the ipad off when you close the case. But it doesn’t work. It’s not close enough to the ipad when the case closes, so the ipad remains on.

    I also recommend that everyone stay away from this product, which is basically shoddily made and rushed to market. It’s a shame, since their case for the regular ipad is actually very good.

    • Blake – good point on the case failing to close securely. I noticed that too and actually meant to mention it in my review – but somehow it slipped my mind. It’s definitely one to be avoided – and very surprising to see such a poor product from ZAGG.

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