Versavu: it's an iPad case, it's an iPad keyboard
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Versavu: it's an iPad case, it's an iPad keyboard

There are a handful of keyboard cases to turn your iPad into a netbook-type device, but I've seen none implemented any better than the Versavu Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard Case (http://bit.ly/qr5NfW) for the iPad 2.

The US$99.99 case features a patent-pending mechanism that allows the Apple tablet to rotate a full 360 degrees from landscape to portrait positions and includes a low-profile wireless Bluetooth keyboard. A nice touch: the keyboard can be charged inside the case.

Pairing the Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad 2 is a breeze. There's an on/off switch and a button to put the device into a discoverable mode. You sync it with the iPad by turning on Bluetooth in the tablet's General Settings menu. The keyboard charges via an included Micro USB cable. You can expect 90 hours of continuous use per charge cycle.

I also really like the fact that the Versavu case includes a scratch-resistant frame around the keyboard to prevent the iPad from touching the keys when the case is closed and ready for transport. This helps prevent scratches on the Apple tablet, as does the soft interior lining.

The Versavu'ss hard-shell design offers a molded exterior to protect the displays even as it offers access to all the iPad functions and buttons. Alas, the case does leave the Apple logo uncovered. That makes sense for aesthetic reasons, not so much for protection concerns.

On the other hand, the opening around the Apple logo serves as a pivot point so you can spin the tablet all the way around. That's very handy when you're ready to use the keyboard. In fact, since the Versavu rotates, it's one of the few keyboard cases that lets you position the iPad 2 in either portrait or landscape orientation. Note that though the iPad is fastened in securely to the Versavu, it isn't locked. So don't spin the pivot point as fast as you can, or you may dislodge the tablet. Unlikely, but possible.

The Versavu converts into a stand to hold the device upright for hands free viewing of videos, online books and more. Additionally, it packs a built-in holster to hold a a pen or stylus.

As a keyboard, the Versavu works just fine despite the (necessarily) small keys. They have a solid tactile response, though you'll have to adapt to a few repositioned keys. Several keys normally dedicated to the colon, semicolon, and question mark have been removed, and their functions remapped onto other QWERTY keys -- which is confusing. Along the top row of the keyboard are iPad-specific keys, such as pause/track skipping, volume control, cut/paste, and shortcuts for Spotlight, picture gallery and the Home button.

If you're looking for a svelte iPad case, note that the Versavu is pretty thick when closed -- but, hey, it does have a keyboard inside.

Rating: 8 out of 10

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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