4-Way iPad Keyboard Case Review: Sena Keyboard Folio, Kensington KeyFolio, ZAGGmate & tyPad

In Apple, Case, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, iPad, Opinion, Review, Tablet, Video by Michael Sheehan9 Comments

For many people, the iPad is fine the way it is…as just a tablet. However, for me, I needed something that was more than just a tablet but less than a laptop or even a netbook. That sweet spot requires one key thing…literally, a physical keyboard. So, why would anyone want to lug around a keyboard? I actually know quite a few people who do. There are two quite good external Bluetooth keyboards, one being the Apple Wireless Keyboard and another being a Microsoft one (that I reviewed). But personally, I didn’t want to lug around an external keyboard everywhere. Lucking there are quite a few Bluetooth keyboards that are popping up that are built into cases that protect your iPad.


In this review, I’m going to look at 4 Bluetooth keyboard cases in particular:

I wanted to include one more in my review, specifically the ClamCase because it has a unique design but unfortunately they were unable to send me a sample to review in time for this article (perhaps later).

Probably the best place to start here is with a video overview of these 4 cases in action, so please watch the one below as I go over the plusses and minuses of each case:

Honestly, each of these cases are pretty good at doing what they need to do. If you have a chance, be sure to test one out at a store or borrow a friends. Everybody has a different typing preference, soft touch, chicklets, larger keyboards, etc. I have used each of the keyboard cases above for a minimum of a few days or so in an office environment. My primary test was at meetings using Evernote to take notes as quickly as possible. And then an occasional tweet or email.

Here is what all of these keyboard cases have in common:

  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Bluetooth connection (v2.0)
  • On/Off switch
  • USB port for charging (most are micro USB)
  • Feature function buttons like Home, Volume, Search, On-screen Keyboard as well as control, alt/option, command keys and arrow keys
  • Very long battery life (40-90 hours)

Below are some quick plusses and minuses of each these cases.

Sena Keyboard Folio




I did a quick review of the Sena Keyboard Folio right as I was going to CES 2011 so be sure to look at that. The Sena was the first keyboard case that I tested out.


  • Nice leather
  • Elegant design & most “executive” looking
  • Innovative stand to prop the iPad up
  • Quiet, soft-touch rubberized keyboard with no gaps for liquids or dirt to get inside


  • Most expensive of the group
  • Stand doesn’t work well when placed on your lap (e.g., commuting or w/o table)
  • No Shift key on the right hand side
  • iPad tends to slip out of the case due to design

MSRP: $149.99

Amazon Price: $N/A

Kensington KeyFolio





The Kensington KeyFolio is a nice compact keyboard case and has a very reasonable Amazon price currently.


  • Easy to prop iPad when on lap (versus the Sena)
  • Slim form factor & light weight
  • No animals harmed for the “leather”
  • Quiet, soft-touch rubberized keyboard with no gaps for liquids or dirt to get inside
  • Reasonable price point


  • No Shift key on the right hand side
  • Case feels a bit plastic-y
  • Stand propping isn’t as stable as I would like it to be

MSRP: $99.99

Amazon Price: $60.99






The ZAGGMate is the most unique of the bunch and my personal favorite, simply because of the larger size keyboard and the small form factor.


  • Larger sized keyboard
  • Right and Left shift keys
  • Light-weight
  • Innovative design that holds the iPad


  • Need something to protect the back of the iPad & doesn’t fully encase it
  • The plastic iPad prop tab looks fragile and could break
  • Individual keys could get liquids and dirt under the keyboard itself (compared to the other types)

MSRP: $99.99

Amazon Price: $99.99






The tyPad is a bit bulkier than the other cases but seem to provide the best protection for your iPad. You get the most material for the money with the tyPad.


  • Right and Left Shift Keys
  • Nice feeling for synthetic leather
  • Quiet, soft-touch rubberized keyboard with no gaps for liquids or dirt to get inside


  • A bit bulky
  • Extra flap in front of the keyboard gets in the way

MSRP: $99.99

Amazon Price: $64.99

A Keyboard Case for Everyone

Choosing a case is a very personal decision. Many people feel that the case that they have for the iPad or cell phone is a reflection of themselves. Luckily (or unluckily) there are many options to choose from for cases. But when it comes to iPad cases with keyboards, the choices are much more limited and the variations within are not very large or unique (with a few exceptions). 3 of the 4 cases reviewed above have similar rubberized keyboards, even though they are practically once piece. They are very soft type and quite quiet, making them good for note taking or typing a night in bed. Because they are rubberized, they are much more resistant to spills or crumbs/dirt getting into the keyboard. However, they are quite a bit smaller than a traditional keyboard and take some getting used to. Also, many of them are missing some key typing must-haves that could frustrate people who touch-type (e.g., the lack of right hand shift keys or simply smaller-sized shift keys).

The tyPad and the ZAGG both had right hand shift keys which made them a bit easier for true typists. The ZAGG, however is the most true to typing as you can get, with the keyboard being almost full sized.

Another complaint that I have is that none of these 4 cases are really that great for typing with them sitting on your lap. Some are better than others (e.g., the tyPad, ZAGG & Kensington) are easier to balance on your lap and type, however each of those 3 do not firmly hold the iPad upright.


So, instead of rating each and every case with all of the characteristics the way I do with other reviews (as outlined here), I’m just going to provide the overall rating for each case. And, of course, these are relative to the four cases here. There might be just that killer Bluetooth keyboard case out there waiting to be found. And Apple may have something up their sleeves as well with the iPad 2 & iPad 3, rumored to be coming out soon. But note, with the exception of the ZAGG, the other keyboard should be fully compatible with the new iPads that come out. The ZAGG might not be due to the way the materials are cut to handle some of the buttons.

Here’s how I would rate them:

Sena Keyboard Folio HTD_3_half_star
Kensington KeyFolio HTD_3_star
ZAGGmate HTD_4_half_star
tyPad HTD_3_half_star

Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.

HTD says: Be sure to test out these keyboard cases before you get one, each one is slightly different.