Review: ZAGG Keys Flex tablet keyboard and stand

13 Mar 2012

There are drawbacks to being a gentleman in this world. When I got the first opportunity to try the Apple iPad two years ago there was a just one keyboard available and I did the right thing and allowed a colleague first dibbs. Since then I’ve been kicking myself.

I’ve managed to make the iPad into an invaluable work tool – in the course of my work it has proven invaluable for gathering and sharing information, for researching and for connecting. It’s also become a crucial interview tool – I use Evernote to record audio while I type my notes and email the whole package to myself for use with my laptop when writing up stories.

Often while I type on the iPad – and I’m a damn fast typist – the lack of tactile keys leads to many errors.

Fortunately I’m pretty good a deciphering my erratic typing foibles. And yes, often lamentably, I kick myself for having been a gentleman, because firstly no one has the sense to appreciate these gestures and secondly a keyboard could help make the leap to making the iPad a more productive machine. You know, for writing up stories and such.

So when the opportunity to review ZAGG‘s Keys Flex Bluetooth keyboard for tablet computers came up I jumped at the chance.

First and foremost, this is a keyboard that’s designed to work with either iOS devies or Android devices. A little switch on the back let’s you select which platform you want to pair with.

Just turn on the Bluetooth on your device of choice, press PAIR on the back of the keyboard, a password will pop up on your tablet’s screen, type it in and you’re away!

It’s literally that simple.

The ZAGG Flex Keys keyboard comes in a neat little cover that protects it one minute and – VOILA! – the next moment it is a stand for your iPad. So pretty much in seconds you have converted your tablet computer into an iOS or Android-based personal computer.

The keyboard itself is fairly comprehensive and mimics both the standard keyboard and the ‘Mac’ keyboard command structure quite ably. Essential audio, search, copy and paste and playback commands sit at the top of the device.

The quality of the Bluetooth link between devices is instantaneous so there’s virtually no time delay.

The device folds neatly away so if you are planning to travel light with an iPad it makes a very useful companion.

Battery power seems to be quite robust in this device. I’ve been using it for a fortnight now on and off and haven’t had to charge it up yet. If I need to do so it just connects via a USB 2 cable that connects with the standard USB port on any computer.

The device itself is incredibly light, just six ounces because it is made entirely out of plastic. But this too is the cause of one of my only criticisms. On a hard surface as you type the device tends to pick up the vibrations and clatter off the surface while you type, which can be a no-no at meetings or conferences.

But that said, the ZAGG Keys Flex succeeds in its mission in helping tablet owners convert their device from a display machine for consuming content into a device capable of producing content. Brilliant.

The device is available from ZAGG for €79.99. It works with all iPad, iPod touch and iPhone models and most Android smartphones and tablets such as the Galaxy Tab.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years