In July of 2007, Robert Pedersen coined the name ZAGG, or “Zealous About Great Gadgets,” after realizing the potential behind his protective film solution. This product would later become known as the invisibleSHIELD, which would reach over 7 million sales in just a few short years. This was their first innovative idea that would soon lead to bigger and better things, such as the ZAGGmate for iPad.
The ZAGGmate, for the most part, has received favorable ratings and reviews. Some have gone as far as calling the ZAGGmate the best iPad accessory of 2010. The success for this accessory has undoubtedly continued into the new year, winning innovation honors in engineering and design at CES 2011 in addition to a Best of Show award at Macworld 2011. We’ve got our hands on the ZAGGmate, with a keyboard, and will be assessing whether or not it is truly “the perfect companion,” as Zagg describes it.
- Micro USB Charging Cable (for keyboard)
- Four Rubber Feet
The exterior of the ZAGGmate is made of aircraft-grade anodized aluminum, that closely resembles the look of the iPad. The case is low-profile with a very sleek-looking design. It is also lightweight at about 12.8 ounces and adds just over 1/4″ of bulk to your iPad. At first glance, the case reminds me of a a tray, which is true. It has four raised sides with an embedded Bluetooth keyboard and an innovative hinge. The iPad rests in a groove which is supported by this raised, collapsible hinge. The hinge acts as a stand and allows you to use your iPad in both landscape or portrait mode. Unlike some other flimsy stands, the ZAGGmate’s hinge is sturdy and durable.
The keyboard itself is made out of physical, hard-plastic keys. The keys are a practical size and easy to use. Many other Bluetooth keyboards have soft plastic keys that can make typing slower and more difficult. There are keys for iPad-specific functions such as a home button, volume controls, playback controls, spotlight search, and an onscreen keyboard key.
The keyboard has a long-lasting, built-in battery. I have not had to recharge my keyboard in two weeks or so of use. Zagg claims that the keyboard will maintain its charge, in standby mode, for a few months. The keyboard will go into sleep mode when it is not being used. When the battery does become depleted, there is a micro USB cable included for charging purposes. The keyboard has a power switch which can be flicked to the off setting to save battery life.
As previously mentioned, the back of the ZAGGmate looks a lot like the iPad. Unfortunately, this surface is equally as prone to scratches. To combat the issue, Zagg recommends that you use the four rubber feet that are included in the box. You can also purchase a ZAGGmate version of the invisibleSHIELD for $34.99†. There is a coupon included inside of the box for an additional discount off of this price. You will notice some scratches in the picture below, however this product was shipped to me from a public relations company and these scratches were present right out of the box. This specific product could have been used as a previous display model or for other review purposes.
There are openings for the dock connector and the embedded keyboard. The edges of the metal are not sharp and the rounded corners are very smooth.
The ZAGGmate has military-grade, high-density padding to protect against drops and other impact damage. The hard aluminum shell also prevents almost any sort of damage as a result of impact. The case also prevents against scratches and other wear and tear, but only on the front of the iPad.
The ZAGGmate itself does not provide any protection for the aluminum back of the iPad. As mentioned earlier, there are solutions to combat against this, such as an invisibleSHIELD. Unfortunately, that comes at a cost.
Value For Money
The ZAGGmate with keyboard is available for $99† on ZAGG’s website. The purchase qualifies for free shipping within the contiguous United States. While this is a good price point for this keyboard-stand hybrid, its value does drop when you factor in the limited protection that this accessory provides. You can also consider looking into the non-keyboard variant of the ZAGGmate, which retails for $69†. This cheaper alternative offers 10 different viewing angles for your iPad.
All in all, it does fit the description of an award-winning accessory. Instead of carrying your iPad and a keyboard with you, the ZAGGmate allows you to carry both in one slim case. The ZAGGmate, backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty, is very functional with a sleek design similar to that of many Apple products. The only major downfall is the unprotected back of the iPad, unless you are okay with spending more money on ZAGG products like the invisibleSHIELD. Hey, at least you’ll get rewarded for it.
† All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
Thanks to Lisa at SS/PR for the review sample.