ZAGG Rugged Folio Keyboard Case for the iPad Air


Gear Diary is independently owned and operated. We are a professional review website that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review, usually in the form of the reviewed product. We test the products supplied to us, and the opinions expressed are our own.

When you buy through links posted on our site, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

You can learn more by clicking here.

When I first pulled the Zagg Rugged Folio Keyboard Case for the iPad Air out of its box I was unimpressed. It is thick. It is heavy. It is bulky. It takes the thin, light iPad Air and makes it totally unAiry. Then I started using it. It is thick, heavy and bulky but it is also pretty great.ZAGG Rugged Folio

Made for taking the iPad out into the big, bad world, this keyboard case will be wasted on someone for whom the iPad is just a “stay-at-home and use it while sitting on the couch” second screen device. No, the ZAGG Rugged Folio is designed for people who really use their iPads. It adds protection and functionality to the iPad so it can go with you pretty much anywhere. As ZAGG explains:

The patent pending ZAGG Rugged Book is the toughest, most versatile wireless Bluetooth tablet keyboard available. Tough polycarbonate and soft silicone combine in the case to deliver unmatched protection. A unique, magnetic hinge secures the iPad at virtually any angle and converts into a Keyboard, Video, Case, and Book mode while a lithium polymer battery provides up to two years of typing between charges.

IMG 2229

Inside the box you will find the ZAGG Rugged Book keyboard and case, a micro USB to USB charging cable, and an owner’s manual.

IMG 2220

The ZAGG Rugged Folio Keyboard Case consists of two main pieces. There’s the tough iPad-protecting case and there is the keyboard.

IMG 2224

The case portion is made from a smartly designed combination of polycarbonate and soft silicone.

IMG 2222

The polycarbonate gives a layer of rigid protection to the expansive back of the iPad while the softer material protections the sides and corners. It also adds just a bit of lay-on-the-table protection to the screen.

The bottom of the case has two small indentations that line it up with the keyboard portion of the Rugged Book when the two are brought together.

IMG 2226

The keyboard is a thick block of hard plastic with the same soft silicon as the case wrapped around its edges. It offers protection and has the added benefit of helping to keep the keyboard from sliding around.

IMG 2223

The hard polycarbonate and steel plate on the case portion is also on the bottom of the keyboard as well. At the rear of the keyboard is a special hinge that offers a wide range of different angles and has enough tension to hold the portion once you find the correct viewing angle for your best productivity. The hinge is designed in such a manner that the case portion cane be inserted in either direction- with the screen toward the keyboard or with the screen facing away from the keyboard. This is significant when it comes to the various modes offered by the ZAGG Rugged Book. More on that in a bit.

IMG 2228

The keyboard itself has been a pleasant surprise. It is spacious enough to make typing comfortable. It has a dedicated row for numbers and the standard Function key doubling that you expect from a full-sized keyboard. It also has a dedicated row od specialty keys above the numbers. They let you control your media, activate Siri and much more. There’s even backlighting on the keys. In other words, this keyboard is as fully functioning a keyboard as I have seen in something designed for the iPad. Best of all, the typing experience when using it is nothing short of fantastic. Seriously, this is probably my favorite iPad keyboard yet!

IMG 2227

Add in the fact that the thickness of the keyboard means you can use it for up to two years between charges and you have a keyboard that will likely outlive the iPad with which it is used! (Note: The two years is based on regular use of one hour per day. Using the backlit feature will impact battery life and may require more frequent charging.)

ZAGG Rugged Folio Keyboard Case Features:
  • Rugged Protection: The case deflects impact energy to keep your iPad safe no matter where you take it.
  • Backlit Keys: Bright backlit keys make typing in low-light situations stylish and easy.
  • 2-Year Battery: Charge your Rugged Book and use it everywhere for up to two years between charges.
  • Multi-Function: A unique magnetic hinge converts your Rugged Book into convenient Keyboard, Video, Case, and Book modes.
  • Battery The Bluetooth keyboard uses a powerful lithium polymer battery that lasts up to two years between charges.

IMG 2225

The Rugged Book is a surprisingly versatile iPad accessory. While it looks like a standard keyboard case it actually functions in four different modes. This makes especially good sense since people use their iPads in a wide variety of different ways. Thanks to the smart magnetic hinge the Rugged Book’s design is such that it covers pretty much all the different ways you likely use your iPad.

IMG 2221

The four specific modes include:



Case Mode: Tough polycarbonate inlaid with durable silicone covers a stainless steel plate that provides ultimate protection and a solid typing surface.

Book Mode: The magnetic hinge reverses to secure your iPad in a convenient book mode that protects your keyboard and iPad while you read.

Video Mode: Reverse your iPad and set it at the perfect viewing angle so you can watch all your favorite videos in comfort, anywhere.

Keyboard Mode: The magnetic hinge holds your iPad at virtually any viewing angle while backlit keys set in a spacious typing area ensure fast, accurate typing in any situation.

In other words, whether you were using your iPad to browse the web, watch a video, read a book or write the next great novel the rugged book will function perfectly for you. It’s effectively for different iPad accessories in one rather large and bulky package.

So yes, when I first took the ZAGG Rugged Folio out of the box I was completely unimpressed. When closed it is thick and blocky. I thought to myself, “Self… the iPad Air is designed to be thin and light. Why in the world would someone want to use something as thick and heavy as this keyboard case?” Then I started using it. Yes, this does remove the advantage of the iPad Air’s thin design. The thing is, the advantages of this product far outweigh the disadvantages. The case portion offers excellent protection for the iPad and means I have to worry less about babying it. The keyboard portion is an absolute pleasure to type on. And the ability to use the product in four different modes is more than a gimmick. In just the last week I’ve used each of the modes numerous times.

In other words, if you see your iPad as a content creating device instead of merely a content consuming device and you want something that will keep your investment safe this is a product that deserves serious consideration. The ZAGG Rugged Book is for serious iPaders. If you are one of them check it out here. You can buy it [Affiliate Link] here on our Amazon Affiliate Store.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the ZAGG Rugged Folio Keyboard Case for the iPad Air

What I Like: Use in four ways; Up to two years of battery life per charge; Protects the iPad well; Great typing experience

What Needs Improvement: Thick, heavy and bulky

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!

About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.