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Review: Adonit Writer Plus for iPad

By admin | May 21, 2012

Posted on 21 May 2012 by Thomas

 

There’s a lovely red folio with a perforated cover, sitting closed on my desk. A quick tug on the plastic tab up front opens it up, simultaneously waking the iPad 2 and the chiclet-style Bluetooth keyboard beneath. Pulling the keyboard forward adjusts the angle of the iPad, and magnets embedded in the folio cover lock everything in place. This entire process takes about two seconds, which means that it really wasn’t very difficult for me to get down to writing this review of the Adonit Writer Plus.
Writing on the iPad is awesome, but I really need a keyboard to do it. Something about typing on the touchscreen simply slays my wrists, and so I never leave the house without some sort of Bluetooth keyboard in tow. I reviewed the Adonit Writer 2 when it came out late last year, and the Writer Plus functions in a very similar manner: opening the case will awaken the iPad and keyboard, and closing the case will put everything back to sleep. However, the Writer Plus is a marked improvement over the previous generation, and it has been a pleasure to use over these last two weeks.

 

Carrying Case

The Writer Plus looks a folio case, but doesn’t function like one. Most of the other folios I’ve seen allow the iPad to be used while it’s inside the case, but that simply isn’t how the Writer Plus works. It’s just too heavy, and too rigid with its landscape-only setup, to function as a folio. However, as a keyboard case that happens to double as a carrying case for the iPad 2, it gets the job done.
The plastic quick-eject clip that holds the iPad in place is even easier to use (compared to the one on the Writer 2), requiring very little pressure to unlock. Inserting or ejecting the iPad never takes more than a second or two, which is lovely.
But there is one almost-invisible advantage to the folio form factor. One issue I’ve had with other Bluetooth keyboards is that I need to remember to put them to sleep when I’m finished with them. On the occasion that I do forget, the only way to get the iPad’s touchscreen keyboard back (while it’s still paired with a Bluetooth keyboard) is to manually disable Bluetooth or return to the Bluetooth keyboard and switch it off. However, because I’m so used to opening the Writer Plus to type and then folding it shut when I’m done typing, I’m never left in an awkward situation where the iPad is paired with the keyboard when it’s not supposed to be.
This is actually a very big deal, and there are many times where I’ve had to walk back to my Logitech Keyboard Case (often located in another room) to switch it off, just because I forgot to do so when I initially picked the iPad up. So the fact that the Writer Plus wakes up when you open it up and sleeps when you shut it is brilliant. Closing a folio shut is a lot more intuitive than toggling an on/off switch, and using the Writer Plus has felt very natural because of this design choice.

The Keys

The nearly full-sized keyboard of the Writer Plus works beautifully when nestled in my lap, or sitting squarely on a desk. The travel on the keys is a little more shallow than what I’m used to, and although I still prefer the depth of the keys on the Logitech Keyboard Case, the Writer Plus is still very comfortable to use. I spent several afternoons working solely from my iPad and Writer Plus, and Adonit’s accessory passed these field tests with flying colours.

Users of Apple keyboards will feel right at home on the Writer Plus, though the half-sized Shift key along the right side does take a little bit of getting used to. I was also delighted to see the inclusion of dedicated home, spotlight, and lock keys along the top row of the Writer Plus – as these are sorely missing from the official Apple Wireless Keyboard.
Then there’s the matter of how far out the keyboard can extend. Pulling the keyboard forward will adjust the viewing angle of the iPad, but pulling too far forward will make the keyboard feel a little unstable, causing the entire case to jiggle or rattle as you type, as shown in this video:

The simple solution to this is that you’ll just get used to keeping enough of the cover underneath the keyboard, so that the entire case is properly supported. However, I would have appreciated some sort of marking or mechanism that outlined exactly how far out the keyboard should extend.

One More Thing
There’s one more trick that the Writer Plus can perform: if you lie the entire case flat and tug on the keyboard, it detaches. I was really excited about this feature when I first read about it, but I’m still not quite sure how to take advantage of it. I’ve tried detaching the keyboard completely and using it separate from the case, but the lack of any rubberized feet means that the whole keyboard slides around while I type.

 

The other disadvantage of using the Writer Plus’ keyboard on its own is the sleep mechanism: the keyboard won’t manually sleep without the magnets in the folio. This means that you’ll have to wait at least five minutes before the keyboard auto-sleeps, or manually turn the entire device off. The former is impractical in everyday use, and the latter option ends up being equally so, due to the keyboard’s deeply embedded on/off switch. You need something as thin as a toothpick to reach it, and that’s just not very user-friendly.
The detachable keyboard looks like a great bullet point feature on the box, but I’m still at a loss of how take advantage of it.
Miscellany
I mentioned this earlier, but the Writer Plus is so much easier to open than Writer 2 that I reviewed last year, and this makes a world of difference in how often I use this accessory
the Writer Plus is also a far more fetching accessory than what Adonit had on offer before; the red keyboard is stunning and the perforated crimson cover is no longer a major dust magnet
the rechargeable battery has been a champ for the past two weeks (with about 1–4 hours of typing per day) and is still running on its first charge; I’m also very happy that I’ll only have to deal with a micro-USB cable when the battery runs low – the Writer 2 used three AAA batteries, which proved to be a pain in the longer run
the pairing process is as simple as any other Bluetooth keyboard: just hold down the + button on the top-right corner of the keyboard and head to Settings -> Bluetooth on your iPad
I reviewed the Writer Plus that was custom fit for the new iPad, but found that my iPad 2 fit beautifully, anyway

Conclusion

The Writer Plus is a fantastic accessory: the red casing is eye-catching; the keyboard is thin, rechargeable, and comfortable for hours of typing; and the quick-eject system allows you instant access to your iPad when you want to read instead of write. The entire package feels like a premium product, befitting the $110 price tag for the blue and red versions (though choosing a black version will save you $10), and it’s so good that I now leave my Smart Cover and Apple Wireless Keyboard at home – the Writer Plus is everything I wanted from a keyboard case, and more.
The Writer Plus was provided by Adonit for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

Topics: Adonit, iPad |

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