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Sena Keyboard Folio for the iPad (2nd and 3rd Generation) REVIEW

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#1 of 2 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 39,336 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted March 30 2012 - 01:05 PM


SENA Keyboard Folio for the iPad

reviewed by Ronald Epstein

March, 2012

For all the great experiences the iPad provides for it users, I never felt that "typing" was one of them.  In fact, being an experienced typist who can easily type hundreds of words quickly without ever looking at the keyboard, I find that doing the same thing on the iPad screen to be a huge step backwards.  I go from using two hands to one, reducing my overall productive speed by more than half.

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Another problem with typing on the iPad is that the keyboard takes up half the real estate of the screen.  And, if that wasn't enough, you can be assured that when you are done typing your document, there will be hundreds of fingerprints left behind to remind you of it.

I absolutely knew that with the purchase of my 3rd generation iPad, that I would have to also look for a case with integrated bluetooth keyboard.  Though these cases absolutely add bulk and weight to an otherwise lightweight, low-profile device, I think the trade-off is that one gets the ability to turn the iPad into a netbook device.


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Sena is the leading designer of premium handcrafted leather cases for mobile devices.  Upon recently purchasing a 3rd generation iPad, they were the first company I looked to in purchasing a case -- especially for the fact that I already was a proud owner of a Sena Folio Case.  In all, I wanted my new iPad to be dressed in class.  When I walk into a meeting with one of their cases in hand, I want it to be noticed before me.  
When I learned Sena also made a Keyboard Folio, I asked the company to send one over to me for review.  Upon unboxing, I wasn't too surprised to find all the elements of Sena's high quality standards to be intact.  Here was a beautiful full grain genuine leather case with discerning craftsmanship and attention to detail on the stitching.  The Sena logo is embossed across the front corner. Across the back of the case lies a strap that unbuckles and folds out, allowing the folio to rest upon itself.  Across the front, the case is securely buckled with a flap clasp.
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The iPad easily slips into the keyfolio without fear of scratching the backside of the iPad.  This is thanks to the soft, suede lining of the case.  
This Sena case is perfectly designed with cut-outs that give you access to your charging dock, on/off button, volume control and headphone jack.  Sadly, there is no magnets present in the case to activate the auto sleep/awake features.  This would have been a real nice added touch for a product of this caliber.
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Once you have inserted your iPad into the case you can easily pair it with the keyboard.  This simply involves turning on the keyboard's power switch, going into the bluetooth settings of the iPad and pairing both devices.  On initial pairing you will be asked to confirm a passcode.  This will be the only time you need to do this process.  Rather than there being a prominently placed power button, a tiny switch is nestled along the top which at first was a bit difficult to access, that is, until the leather softened. 
The rechargeable battery gives over 300 hours of use from a single charge.  For the entire week I tested this keyboard, it never lost battery power nor its bluetooth connection. An included cord allows you to charge from any USB device.
The top row of the keyboard provides shortcuts to prominent iPad features.  For instance, you can press a key and go to your HOME screen, do an instant search, put on a photo slideshow, raise or lower the volume or instantly lock your iPad.  When listening to music there are keys that allow you to play/pause as well as move forward and back between tracks.  I like the added touch of providing keys that control the brightness of the screen.
Alas, the biggest problem with this keyfolio is the keyboard itself.  It's ill-conceived, amazingly tiny in footprint, and as such, very difficult to accurately type on.  As much personal effort as I put into trying to become accustomed to keys that were so closely packed together, I just could not accurately type without accidentally turning on the CAPS LOCK or hitting more than one key at once.  Quite a few times my finger accidentally hit the LOCK key and shut my iPad off while in the middle of a typing a document.
The keyboard feels very cheap -- almost like a toy.  It's rather sad to see that what seems to be a $5 keyboard has been put into the Cadillac of iPad cases.   But you know what?  Just for the heck of it, I took a look at other reviews posted about this case, and while others felt the keyboard was lacking in quality, there was no problem using it.  So, I am hoping that my experiences will not be shared by others.
I don't quite know how to sum this review up.  I am a huge fan of the products that Sena makes.  My iPad sits in their slim Folio Case.  These are cases that are amazingly beautiful and durable -- for which one instantly falls in love with upon first sight.
I am absolutely heartbroken about the Sena Keyboard Folio.  It was the one iPad accessory I was so much looking forward to owning.  It's the one case I would be most proud to walk into a meeting with.  However, it has a keyboard that feels so utterly cheap and misaligned with my fingers that I find it totally unusable.
I recently reviewed the ZAGGfolio keyboard and thought it was the best in its class, though its case can't hold a candle to Sena.  Had Sena given the same thought to its keyboard as ZAGG did, this would have been the most amazing keyboard folio on the market.
I would hesitantly recommend that anyone looking to purchase a top-of-the-line keyboard folio to consider this one from Sena.  Just be aware of its potential keyboard flaw.  If you don't have the same problems I did, then you can rest assured you have one of  the most amazing, luxury keyfolios on the market.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 2 DaveF


    Executive Producer

  • 13,404 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001
  • Real Name:David Fischer
  • LocationOne Loudoun, Ashburn, VA

Posted April 03 2012 - 11:12 PM

scan...scan..scan...looking at pictures...

Drats, nothing for rotating between Portrait and Landscape. Keeping an eye out for a new case for my wife.

Thanks. It tells me this is not the case for her. :)