Apple World Today has been featuring a lot of accessories from Inateck in 2015, and for two good reasons -- they're inexpensive and they're usually quite good. Today we're taking a look at the Inateck BK2001 iPad Air 2 Keyboard Cover (US$26.99 at Amazon, plus $7 more off with promo code ERZSU53C). How does the Inateck Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad Air 2 stack up to some much more expensive competitors? Read on...
The Inateck keyboard cover features a tried-and-true design using a plastic shell to hold the iPad Air 2 in place and a Bluetooth keyboard that is used as a screen cover when closed. There's a magnetic switch built in so that the keyboard turns on when the iPad is flipped into the upright position, and the keyboard shuts off when the iPad is moved out of that comfortable typing position.
It comes in one color -- black. There's a USB charging cable that comes along with the keyboard, and a small multi-language user manual. All in all, it's similar in shape and size to just about any iPad Air 2 keyboard cover on the market.
I was glad to see that Inateck included a user manual with the keyboard, because for some odd reason I needed it to pair the keyboard and the iPad Air 2. Usually it's just a matter of turning on a keyboard, pressing a Bluetooth function button for a few seconds, then selecting the keyboard in the Bluetooth settings on the iPad. Not so here - I actually had some issues getting the keyboard and iPad to talk to each other.
Using Fn+C to enter pairing mode, the keyboard's blue LED is supposed to "flash rapidly". Nope, it just flashed at a rather normal rate. After numerous attempts to pair, I finally saw a typical "old Bluetooth" message asking me to type four digits on the keyboard, and I was able to pair the two. After the first time pairing, it seems to connect quickly when the iPad Air 2 is moved into the "upright and locked" position.
The keys are nicely spaced and have a good feel to them. The only issue I have with the way the keyboard is set up is that the number (top) row has half-sized keys, and that takes a bit of getting used to.
The Inateck Keyboard Cover uses magnets to keep the iPad Air sitting at an angle, and I found this to work well when the device was sitting on a table. However, when it was put into my lap, movement would sometimes cause the iPad to flop out of position and turn the keyboard off.
Inateck states that the integral lithium battery can power the Keyboard Cover for up to 90 days of standby time, and it recharges in about 2 to 3 hours. During my limited testing I was unable to see how quickly the battery draws down during actual usage, but it will definitely be less than 90 days.
Inateck has a good reputation for low-priced and well-made products. However, I felt that the hassles I experienced in pairing the keyboard and the rather weak magnetic connection holding the iPad Air upright were frustrating. If price is the key feature you're looking for, then this is the keyboard for you if you're willing to have patience with pairing the keyboard the first time. $20 (after the promo code is used on Amazon) is about the best price I've seen for a keyboard of this type. Otherwise, it's just an average Bluetooth keyboard.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★