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Hands-on: Targus Versavu Keyboard Case for iPad Air

updated 05:17 pm EDT, Fri November 1, 2013

Early effort at Air keyboard support

One of the downsides to the launch of a redesigned Apple device is that invariably, the number of case options is limited. People who need some form of protection ASAP may have to make compromises. The new iPad Air version of the Targus Versavu Keyboard Case may well be one of the compromises, but our hands-on experience suggests that most people will be better off waiting.

On paper, the case sounds excellent. It's a folio-style keyboard model with the (literal) twist of a rotating frame that lets you sit an iPad in portrait mode as well as landscape, unlike much of the competition. Indeed, this may be very useful for the browsing or writing preferences of some people, although if that's really a concern there are plenty of wireless keyboard/stand combinations that don't have to support the Air specifically.

The frame has far more serious problems than that, though. It's made of relatively thin plastic, which wouldn't be an issue except that it also forms a great deal of the rear protection -- the rest comes in the form of a wraparound hinge section combining plastic, felt, and faux leather. You probably wouldn't trust the case to deliver much security if you dropped it.

The hinge itself is rather poorly designed. While an iPad is often stable when it's propped up on the keyboard, it becomes unwieldy in any other position. This is particularly true if you decide to fold the keyboard back behind the tablet. Speaking of which, don't expect to use the Versavu as a handheld walkaround case -- you can't fold the keyboard back far enough, which causes an iPad to jut out in an imbalanced way.

The stand likewise seems poorly judged. It props an iPad up in a nearly vertical state, making it unstable on laps, and potentially awkward viewing when on a desk. To be fair, the latter is more a matter of preference.

Problems with the keyboard are objectively true, though. The keys are nice and clicky, but too small for most male users, and probably some female users too. Baffingly, the power and Bluetooth buttons also become hidden when you're in landscape mode -- a design mistake that should've been immediately obvious.

The icing on the cake, such as it is, is the case's latch. It's just a plastic extension of the iPad frame, and hard to open and close -- in testing, we once had to pull it open with such force that our iPad whipped back into the desk the case was laying on. It's an especially unforgivable gaffe in an era when many cases use magnet locks, and have done so for years.

By now the verdict on the Versavu should be obvious: skip it, if you can. There should already be more reasonable case options, and other companies are working on updated classics. If you absolutely have to have a Bluetooth keyboard today, even something like AmazonBasics' generic keyboard/stand combo will probably be better.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-24-00

    That;s a lot of surface area.

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