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Hands on: TouchType case for iPad, bluetooth keyboard

updated 03:45 am EDT, Tue May 22, 2012

Kickstarter runs through June 7

High-quality covers for the iPad are a prevalent accessory. Once relegated to boutique status, they can now be had for a variety of prices ranging from $40 to over $100. The official Apple case for the iPad 2 and current-generation iPad sits at the low end of the range financially. When a new product shows up that's competitively priced with Apple's offering, it's worth a look. An already fully-funded Kickstarter project by Washington DC metro-area Salman Sajid is still underway, and MacNN got an early look at the product that carries both any generation of iPad as well as an Apple Bluetooth keyboard.

Shortly after the Kickstarter project met its original goal, Sajid went ahead and paid for an initial production run out of his own pocket in order to be sure it met expectations. The box is simple, backed in brown with just the logo of the product on the front case, understated and clean.

Opening the box, the actual case that emerged was what he called the espresso leather -- a fortuitous accident, as it turns out. When he was dealing with the manufacturers of the case, Sajid hadn't asked for this particular leather to be supplied. It was, and as it turned out, it was the most popular version on his the ongoing fundraiser for a time.

The leather used in the case construction is top-notch with a smooth hand-feel and the "espresso grains" give the case some character and texture. One flap, and the user is waking up the iPad 2 or third generation iPad. Fold it back, tuck it in, and the iPad is standing horizontally. Want it portrait? No problem -- there's two additional elastic straps for that orientation as well.

The double stitching was all tight, and regular. Stitches stopped where they needed to stop -- there were no loose threads or carelessly sewn needle marks. The interior of the keyboard compartment was lined with the leather on one side, and a thin fabric on the other so the $60 Apple keyboard won't get scratched up.

The keyboard is held in the pocket with two elastic loops that slide out of the way to extract the keyboard. Sajid says the keyboard loops may only exist in the first iteration of the case. Whether the keyboard straps stay or go is going to depend on user's feedback on how well the pocket retains it's tight fit over time.

During the meeting, Sajid showed off his original cardboard prototype to illustrate the early design process, complete with magnets for waking up the iPad.

Overall, the Touchtype case is one of the nicest available, and the MacNN staff have seen a lot of them since the release of the original iPad. The attention to detail is unusual for a case priced in the range that it sits. There are bluetooth keyboard cases for the iPad, for sure, but the keyboards are often poorly manufactured, and expensive. Why not make a thin case that can carry the well-designed Apple keyboard in conjunction with the iPad?

The Touchtype kickstarter runs through June 7. Kickstarter participants can get a case shipped to their door for as low as $47. Sajid provided MacNN a case for full review -- look for it in the coming weeks.

by MacNN Staff





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