Review: Sena Keyboard Folio for iPad

Sena leather iPad case with keyboard. (May 26th, 2011)

A luxurious yet functional folio case for the original Apple iPad with a much sought after integrated Bluetooth Keyboard.

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Sena Cases

Price: $149.99 US

The Good

  • Adds elegance to the Apple iPad.
  • Low profile, sensitive keyboard.
  • Quiet keyboard allows use in any environment.
  • Excellent quality.

The Bad

  • Kickstand has only one angle.
  • Snap closure tab won’t stay tucked out of the way.
  • Some keys on keyboard placed differently.

The Apple iPad is heavier than it first appears. It can easily slip through your hands with its streamlined design. I wanted a case that would add a touch of class as well as functionality to the tablet itself; but prevent a disaster when I inevitably dropped my iPad. I found it in the Sena Keyboard Folio.

While the Apple iPad doesn't replace my laptop computer for heavy-duty business work, it makes meetings and short computing sessions a breeze. What was missing was the ability to use email and take notes with the same precision of a laptop. The Sena Keyboard Folio helps the Apple iPad bridge the gap. It lets me take notes and do email with an ergonomic keyboard and sturdy case that acts as a stand for the Apple iPad itself.

Black

Black Sena Keyboard Folio with iPad

The Keyboard Folio ships in a black gift box, encased in a soft drawstring bag. It comes with a simple instruction card, and a mini USB to Standard Type A USB plug. I followed the simple directions to connect the Bluetooth keyboard to the Apple iPad, and was up and running quickly. The process is similar to my Bluetooth phone headset installation. You do need to charge the keyboard prior to the pairing, but the battery lasts about 3 days on average before it needs a three-hour charge. You can charge it via an outlet or from a computer with the USB 2.0 plug adapter. There is a 3-year lithium battery powering the keyboard. Other than the small power cable there are no loose pieces or parts.

The Case

The Keyboard Folio is made from rich high quality smooth-finish leather. I worked with the black and the red case, but it also comes in brown, and tan. Based on the fire engine red of the red case, I imagine that the other colors are true to their description and graphics online. One word of caution though, if you view or work with photographs on your iPad, I recommend you buy the black case, because the colors surrounding the screen affect how the color in your photos appear.

Red Sena Keyboard Folio

Red Sena Keyboard Folio with iPad
Please note this picture is more pink than the actual case.

The cases are wonderfully finished with even stitching and an attention to detail and durability. The treated leather stays remarkably free of scratches and marring from pens, liquids, or dirty fingers. The inside of the case is a soft protective layer not unlike a suede cloth to protect the finish of the Apple iPad. The cutouts for the ports and switches are positioned well.

Red Sena Keyboard Folio

Keyboard Folio Port Openings

The case is a perfect fit, although the iPad has a tendency to shift a fraction of an inch, so I found myself adjusting it frequently. The Folio has a sturdy snap closure, not a magnet - which is a good thing, since the latter plays havoc with magnetic strips on credit and keycards. When closed, it looks like a simple leather portfolio. The single length built in stand is tethered to the top of the case.

Keyboard Folio Stand

Keyboard Folio Stand

The angle is fine for me, but I prefer a multi-stage angle to accommodate my frequent airplane trips and close quarters. The snap closure tab is a bit of a nuisance as there is no formal way to keep it from falling into the view of the screen. It can be tucked back, but the sturdy leather has a penchant to fall out of its tucked position and flip back over the top of the screen.

 Sena Keyboard Folio Tab

Keyboard Folio Tab

The Keyboard

Of course, the real reason to have this particular case is the keyboard. Sena's done a great job in providing a noiseless, silicon covered sensitive keyboard with a low profile. It's a good keyboard to use in a meeting, because it makes no noise. It feels great and is a quality addition to the Apple iPad. You can remove it from its envelope-style portion of the case and pair it with Bluetooth enabled smart phones too. It works just fine with the iPhone and an Android device. Some men have complained the keyboard is too small for their big hands, but it fit my hands perfectly. To preserve its estimated 40 plus hours of working time, you should shut it off when not in use.

Keyboard Folio Tab

Keyboard

Some may find a short period of adjustment to using the keyboard, because it does not have an Option or Command key on the right side of the space bar. Other keys are moved to that right side space, including the forward slash, quote and plus keys.

Sena also includes a recessed area with three slit storage slots for business or credit cards along the top of the keyboard portion.

Card Slots

Card Slots

Conclusion

The Sena Keyboard Folio is great addition to the Apple iPad case line-up, even though it adds about a pound to the already weighty device. It meets the needs of a casual user and those that have an image to protect. The quality and manufacturing justify the price and I suspect the case may outlast your iPad. I plan to get the iPad 2 Folio case to give to a lucky recent law-school graduate.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Suzanne Hoffman


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