Functionality and protection, that is what I want in a case for my iPads. While functionality is a nice feature to have, protecting my investment is a must. I have owned several iPads since their launch and my main protection choice was some kind of Smart Cover and a protective back. All of the smart covers I had formed some kind of stand to make the cover more functional, but I was always felt I was missing something when it came to functionality, a keyboard. Obviously, this idea was not lost on Apple because they introduced their Smart Keyboard for their iPad Pro series. But what about the non iPad Pro users? ZAGG a maker of accessories for tablets and phones has introduced its latest functional protection for the iPad, the Rugged Book.
Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.
What is it?
The ZAGG Rugged Book is a protective cover and keyboard for the new iPad, iPad Pro 9.7, iPad Air2 and iPad Air. With a builtin rechargeable backlit Bluetooth keyboard and a two piece design the case is both functional and practical for those on the go.
- Width 9.84”
- Height 7.20”
- Thickness 1.10”
What’s in the box?
- Rugged Book keyboard
- Detachable case
- USB to Micro USB charging cable
- Quick Start Guide
Design and features
The ZAGG Rugged Book is basically two pieces, the case that holds the iPad and the keyboard with a hinge mechanism to hold the iPad and case securely in several configurations.
For clarification, the section that holds my iPad is called the detachable case by ZAGG and the keyboard is called the Rugged Book so I will do the same. The back of the detachable case has cutouts for the camera and mic. According to the ZAGG website the case is made out of four layers of stainless steel, polycarbonate and rubber. I can definitely see the polycarbonate and rubber on the case, but I am not sure about the stainless steel (I think stainless steel is more likely on the keyboard section and hinged holder).
The detachable case has the proper cutouts on the top, bottom and sides, and the controls are easy to access. The cutouts for the Lightning cable and ear jack are large enough fit Apple designed and made products, but will also fit third party products as well. The rubberized material around the edges gives you a comfortable and secure gripping surface.
Although the case is a nice feature on the Rugged Book the keyboard is the workhorse. I have owned and reviewed several keyboards that I used for my various iPads in the past, and up until now the only one that was designed work well with iPads was the Apple Magic Keyboard. ZAGG has changed that, the Rugged keyboard is designed for iPads so it has a lot of features designed to work with iPads. The Rugged Book has a backlit keyboard and tablet function keys. The keyboard itself is similar to a laptop keyboard and in my estimate about 2/3rds the size of a regular keyboard. The keyboard is solid feeling and the keys are responsive. I have small hands and am not a touch typeset so the keyboard works great for all my needs.
What I like
I love the overall look and feel of this setup, think of it like a netbook on steroids. It just has a rugged look and feel (some might say beefy). I like the backlit keyboard with the ability to change the color of the light and the brightness. Maybe one of the best features though is the fact that the keyboard is designed with the iPad in mind. Unlike a lot of generic keyboards the ZAGG Rugged Book keyboard has keys that specifically work with the iPad such as the home key, the apps running key and the keyboard hide/show key.
What needs to be improved
Weight, the ZAGG Rugged Book is on the heavy side. I am guessing much of this is due to the battery in the keyboard.
To me, this is a great set up at least for what I want to do with it, some travel but mostly work around the house. It is more practical than having a separate keyboard and stand when you want to type on your lap or in bed. The Rugged Book is also great for traveling. At $129.99 the ZAGG Rugged Book may be a little pricey, but it is in line with other similar products. Available at the ZAGG website the Rugged Book should definitely be on your list f you are looking for a keyboard/cover combo for your iPad.