Sena is known for making designer leather cases and accessories for a wide range of devices. One of these products is the keyboard folio for iPad, available for $149.99 on their website. When an accessory costs over a quarter of the price of the base model iPad, it is important that the product has the utmost quality, design, and durability. After using this folio with my iPad over the past week, I can now assess whether Sena has met these standards.
- Genuine Leather Folio
- Bluetooth Keyboard (V2.0)
- Micro USB Charging Cable
- Red Protective Sleeve
Sena’s keyboard folio is made of genuine designer leather; it even has that nice leather aroma. It is offered in four color choices: black, brown, red, and tan. The leather has a glossy look with stitching along all edges. It is definitely suitable for work with its professional design. On the other hand, while the quality of the leather is better than most, I find the folio to be somewhat cheap looking.
As you would assume by its name, the folio has a side-folding design that opens up like a book. When closed, it is secured by a a snap closure on the front. One thing that irritates me is that once this snap closure is opened, it gets in the way. There’s no way to snap it to the back of the folio while you’re using your iPad.
Inside, the folio is lined with soft velvet which reduces the risks of scratches and dents. Inside, there are two compartments to store the integrated Bluetooth keyboard and the iPad. To the right of the keyboard are three slots to store cards of all types. This is a useful feature mainly for businesspeople but also for the average user who could use these slots to store their credit card, debit card, or even an iTunes gift card.
To get the iPad into its pocket, you simply pull out the leather flap and slide it into place. Once you put this flap back into place, your iPad is snug and secure inside. The leather covers the bezel of the iPad like a picture frame but leaves all four sides of the device uncovered. There is no interference with using the multi-touch display.
Another major design feature is the ability to use the folio as a stand. This is done by simply unsnapping the collapsible stand that is found on the back of the folio. When you extend this back stand fully, the iPad rests upright while the keyboard lays flat against the surface. In this position, it closely resembles the look of a laptop.
The integrated Bluetooth keyboard greatly improves the iPad’s functionality when you are on-the-go. It is low-profile and is padded with silicone. However, due to the soft nature of the keys, I have found it slower to type with in comparison to Apple’s standard Bluetooth keyboard. While this is not a real concern when casually typing on Facebook or such, it does become a nuisance when typing up longer documents or emails. On the upside, the silicone is resistant to water and spills.
The keyboard is compact and has iPad-dedicated keys such as volume controls, spotlight search, and a home button. There are also charge and Bluetooth connectivity indicators. The deal breaker for me is the built-in lithium battery—no batteries. Dead batteries has been my worst nightmare since the original Gameboy. Battery life is nearly 45 hours with an additional 10 hours in standby mode. Better yet, you can turn off the keyboard, with the flick of a switch, when you are no longer using it. When it comes time to charge the keyboard, it can be connected to your computer with the provided micro USB cable.
Another advantage of this keyboard is that it can also be used with a computer and most smartphones with properly installed drivers. If you want to use the keyboard with your Mac, PC, or smartphone, simply take it out of the folio and it is good to go.
Sena notes that the keyboard is FCC compliant and will not cause any interference with other Bluetooth devices.
When closed, the folio provides nearly 360º protection for the iPad. There is full frontal protection, including the screen, and equal coverage of the backside. However, the corners of the device are somewhat exposed and could easily be dented if the folio was to be dropped in a certain way.
The soft velvet lining on the inside of the folio prevents scratches. I was rather nervous to take my iPad out of its hard shell case, but the folio’s super soft lining has calmed my anxiousness. My iPad still remains without a single scratch on it, which is very important to me.
There are appropriate openings for the dock connector, speakers, volume cradle, sleep/wake button, microphone, and headphone jack. There is also a cutout for the ambient light sensor which controls the iPad’s auto-brightness feature. The home button is not covered.
A folio in general is a great accessory if you’re constantly on the go. You can carry it around with ease and it can be quickly tossed into a bag, or briefcase, without the worries of dents or scratches.
If you do not need the keyboard functionality, I highly recommend that you check out Sena’s regular folio ($99.99) for the iPad. If you’re looking for something a little less bulky, the UltraSlim pouch style case is available for $59.99. The full line of Sena products for the iPad can be found here. Otherwise, this keyboard folio meets its price tag because of its wide variety of uses and attention to detail. While it seems to be geared towards businesspeople, I recommend this folio to everyone.
Thanks to Kris Scott, MarCom and public relations manager, for the review sample.