The Genius LuxePad i9010 is a Bluetooth keyboard and cover for iPad mini. It combines the utility of having a Bluetooth keyboard with the protection offered by a screen cover case. Basically, it makes it easy to carry a small wireless keyboard with you everywhere you go. And unlike other wireless keyboard cases for iPad mini, the LuxePad i9010 is just $39.99.
Wireless keyboards for iPad and iPad mini are all very similar in that they have to solve a rather challenging problem if they also want to be cases. The footprint of the full size iPad is already small, and most cases don’t want to make your device substantially bigger. As a result, they have to shrink their keyboard design while keeping it functional. There’s some wiggle room; after all, you don’t need to use a keyboard on an iPad as often as you would with a notebook. But if you make it too cramped, you’ll never use it at all.
The Genius LuxePad i9010 makes a pretty good attempt at making a keyboard for iPad mini that’s still usable. Since the iPad mini is even smaller than an iPad, it’s a very challenging problem. I’m not sure it’s possible to make a keyboard this size that everyone would be happy with, so I don’t think it should be downgraded just for being small. Being the same size as the iPad mini is a feature, after all.
In order to fit a keyboard into a space the size of an iPad mini, Genius decided to skip the media controls that are fairly common on iPad keyboards. They also reduced the size of all keys, especially keys that are normally quite large such as the space bar and enter, shift, and backspace keys. The small size of the keys definitely takes some getting used to, but it’s still much better than typing on the screen, which is the true measure of these kinds of keyboards. Not only do you get to keep your screen space, you get tactile feedback from the keys—two huge points in favor of such keyboards.
The two biggest problems with this particular keyboard’s design are the placement of the backspace key and the apostrophe key. Backspace is fairly small, and isn’t the most top-right key; the equals sign is just above it. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the design were bigger, but it can’t be bigger. As a result, it’s easy to miss and hit equals repeatedly, making your errors even worse.
A bigger problem is the absense of a key devoted to apostrophe. Instead, you’ll have to use the function key combined with “o”. I’ve been writing this whole review with the Genius keyboard and you can imagine how many times I’ve hit return instead of apostrophe and then made it worse with dozens of equal signs. Nevertheless, I’ve made sure to not hold back on my contractions. I’m sure you appreciate my unflappability…
Battery life on this keyboard is great, although wireless keyboards aren’t known to be power hungry. Recharging happens with a standard USB cable, which is included. The design also features a groove that you can use to prop up your iPad mini so you can type effectively. This is a welcomed feature and does work well, though it’s pretty bare minimum.
Lastly, the whole keyboard doubles as a screen cover style case complete with magnetic attachment hinge. This, too, is a nice feature, though it feels like an afterthought. The hinge will not allow the keyboard to be folded back behind the iPad mini like Apple’s own Smart Cover allows (it detaches before folding all the way back). That said, if you’re not using the keyboard, there’s little reason to hold on to it.
Overall, I like the Genius LuxePad i9010 despite the handful of relatively minor flaws I’ve mentioned. The keyboard takes some getting used to, but so will every keyboard the size of an iPad mini. I do wish they’d chosen to keep a key devoted to the apostrophe. I’d happily give up the semi colon key in exchange for an apostrophe key; who uses semi colons? Also, you shouldn’t buy this keyboard to be used mainly as a case because you’ll be disappointed.
All that said, this is about the most affordable wireless keyboard you can find that’s designed for iPad mini, which weighs heavily in its favor.
Buy the Genius LuxePad i9010
Provides: Bluetooth keyboard, case
Minimum Requirements: iPad mini