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Kensington KeyCover Plus: Works as Good as it Looks

After spending some time with the Zagg Universal, the Kensington KeyCover Plus — a hard shell keyboard case for the iPad Air — was a stark and welcomed change. It’s anodised aluminium finish and metallic bezel give it a refined and stylish look, while it’s discreet rubber feet

The Good: Premium looking keyboard with great build quality and backlit keys.

The Bad: Not the best initial writing experience but one that improves with habituation.

The Bottom Line: The Kensington KeyCover Plus is a solid keyboard offering both good screen protection and unique features making it an ideal companion for your writing needs.

In my previous review, I took a look at the Zagg Universal. While it was a decent and affordable keyboard, it didn’t overly impress me. This week the quest continues as I take a look at the Kensington KeyCover Plus for iPad Air; the big brother of the KeyCover for iPad Mini which Fabio reviewed.

Design & Build Quality

After spending some time with the Zagg Universal, the Kensington KeyCover Plus — a hard shell keyboard case for the iPad Air — was a stark and welcomed change. Its anodised aluminium finish and metallic bezel give it a refined and stylish look, while its discreet rubber feet provide a solid grip on any flat surface.

When not in use, the KeyCover Plus doubles as a cover for the iPad’s screen. Raised edges hold it firmly in place and cutouts ensure you still have access to the lightning port and 3.5mm audio jack.


The quick release corner and bottom cutouts

I found snapping the iPad in and out of the case to be difficult at first, but over time this has become easier; in part due to the inclusion of a new quick release corner. My one complaint is that this corner is located in the rear of the keyboard. While I understand the visual considerations taken into account for this decision, it adds an extra level of friction (turn the keyboard around so the corner faces you, release the iPad and then turn around again; or reach over the iPad, release then flip it over.).

When it comes time to write, the iPad can be propped up in a small groove either in landscape or portrait mode. I’ve found that when in portrait, the magnets that secure the iPad in place aren’t as effective, nonetheless it remains stable and usable in this position.


The magnetic groove and viewing angle.

Unlike Fabio, I found the viewing angles to be good enough for my usage. Having said that however, it is a fixed angle with no adjustments possible.

Setup & Performance

Pairing the keyboard and iPad was both quick and simple thanks to the KeyCover’s dedicated pair key and unlike the Zagg Universal, subsequent connections were quick. In terms of reliability, the KeyCover didn’t disappoint. During my usage I failed to detect any lag whatsoever and re-connecting after waking from standby was almost instantaneous.

The Kensington is equipped with a 250 mAh battery and boasts 40 days of standby time and 110 hours of working time. While I can’t validate those claims yet, I can state that I have yet to charge it since receiving the keyboard (and I’ve used it extensively).


The KeyCover Plus has chiclet-style backlit keys, a simple nicety, albeit a very useful one. It offers an assortment of colours and three different intensity levels bright enough to be visible in daylight. Furthermore, the KeyCover remembers your settings even when turned off.


The backlit keys, clearly visible even in daylight.

In terms of typing experience, the KeyCover is a mixed bag. The keys are nearly flush with little travel and closely spaced. That combined with the KeyCover’s raised edges can lead to uncomfortable typing. However, due to the firmness of the keys, the backlight and certain dedicated function keys, I found that I quickly became accustomed to typing on the KeyCover and enjoyed using it overall.

Many times, the aforementioned function keys are superfluous (such as function keys to select text. Shift + arrow keys work just fine). Other times however there are a few that bring added benefit. The KeyCover had two in particular I resorted to quite often: One to trigger the spotlight search and another to trigger multitasking.

It also has an undo key, but oddly no redo. I would’ve liked to see an option for redo with the fn modifier maybe.


The KeyCover is not without faults — then again nothing truly ever is. Aside the few I’ve already mentioned, there is also no forward delete (fn+backspace doesn’t work as expected) adding unwanted friction when typing.


The power button and indicator lights hidden behind the iPad.

Another minor quibble: the indicator lights are hidden behind the iPad meaning in order to see if they’re on or not, you need to peak behind or remove the iPad.


Overall I’ve found the KeyCover Plus to be a solid and reliable keyboard (whether typing on my lap or on a table top). Typing has become pleasant and I reach for this keyboard quite often; and when not in use, I’m confident my iPad screen is adequately protected.

Therefore, if you’re in the market for a good keyboard for you iPad Air, the KeyCover would be an excellent candidate.


By Pedro Lobo

I put words together to express my opinionated views on software, hardware or anything that strikes my fancy.