There are already several keyboards available on the market for Apple’s iPad. Some of which are stand alone keyboards, while others are incorporated into a case. With the majority of these cases however, the keyboard is not removable, so when I got the chance to try out Freedom’s case and keyboard combi, I jumped at the opportunity. The Freedom iConnex Combi offers a hardshell back, with a folding front cover and built into the hard back is a removable bluetooth keyboard.
Having a keyboard added into the case will obviously make it heavier than other cases available but, Freedom claim their Combi package is up to 30% lighter and 32% thinner than other brands. It is one of the thinnest keyboard cases I’ve come across and while notably heavier than I’m used to, compared to other keyboard cases I’ve looked at, it is indeed lighter. As well as being thinner and lighter than most other keyboard cases available for the iPad, there are several other things I love about this case as well.
The hardshell back case is stylish and the keyboard is easy to remove from the back of it but, won’t fall out due to it’s clever design. On the inside of the hard shell case, the iPad fits in nicely. I had no problems putting my iPad into the case. Under where the iPad sits, there is a velcro strip where the front cover attaches to. This means that the front cover can be removed and the back hardshell case and keyboard is then able to use Apple smart covers, this compatibility is a great feature as it means that anyone who has paid for the Apple smart cover can continue using it, whilst still protecting the back of their iPad and having a keyboard nearby.
Whether you’ve got a Smart Cover, other iPad accessories or not though, I highly recommend giving the Freedom front cover a go. Like the smart cover and many other cases available on the market, the iPad can be stood in landscape mode. What’s unique with Freedom’s case however, is you can also stand the iPad in portrait mode, something that is missing from a lot of cases and something that I’ve already used a lot of times. My only criticism however, is that it didn’t feel all that stable. The iPad never fell over while in the case but, it did feel like it could topple if I tapped the screen too hard. The cover also works with the iPad’s magnets allowing the iPad to sleep and wake by closing and opening the case.
The keyboard is easy to remove from the back of the case and is very easy to sync to the iPad via Bluetooth. One thing that I initially had to change however, was the keyboard layout and admittedly this was a step in the instructions that I had missed first time round. Being from the UK, when the instructions called for the keyboard to be changed to US, I left it set as UK. However I quickly changed this when I realised it needed to be changed to a US keyboard layout for the British Pound sign to work. Once changed to US keyboard, I had no problems with any keys or symbols. It does take a little getting used to as it’s slightly smaller than other keyboards available and is even smaller than that found on a netbook. It is easy to adjust to the size of it though and I’ve been using it happily. As well as being a keyboard, there are a few nifty keys. The keyboard allows you to increase or decrease the volume, or mute it altogether. Likewise, brightness can be adjusted using keys on the keyboard. As well as adjusting the volume, the keyboard has music controls that allows songs to be paused, played or skip to the next track or go back to the previous track. My most used shortcut keys however, are the copy and paste keys. On the keyboard, there are cut, copy and paste keys which are great when working within an office type application. There is also a search key and a home key for quickly exiting applications.
Because the keyboard is so easy to take out of the case and sync, I have also used it with my Samsung Galaxy S3, Nexus 7 and briefly had it connected to my PS3. For those looking for a keyboard case for their iPad 2 or 3, I would highly recommend the Freedom i-Connex Combi, available from Mobilefun for £79.95.