Keyboard covers for the latest iPad turn your tablet into a productivity tool

These cases with built-in keyboards are designed specifically to accommodate the third-gen iPad.

Currently, the iPad is best known as a consumer device, designed more for the enjoyment of content rather than the creation of it. But there's no denying its growing popularity for all kinds of applications, including content creation and other business needs. For extended sessions, however, no app can replace the comfort and speed of typing on a physical keyboard.

[If you're looking to add a physical keyboard to your Android tablet, check out our reviews of Bluetooth keyboards and keyboards that physically attach.]

Keyboard cases have always been popular accessories, but with the increased thickness of the new iPad, many cases designed for the iPad 2 are a little too tight for comfort, or don't fit at all. Fortunately, a large number of folio-style cases and cover-only keyboards fit the new iPad just fine. Some companies have also tweaked their existing keyboards to accommodate the slight increase in thickness.

When you're looking for a new keyboard case to match your freshly minted iPad, you'll want to consider the following:

Do you need all-around protection? Folio and clamshell cases cover the entire iPad, front and back, protecting it completely in your bag or on the table. Cover-style keyboards such as the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG leave the back exposed, and cover the screen only during transport.

How often do you want to use the iPad without the keyboard? One of the main reasons for using a tablet with a separate keyboard is the flexibility and portability this arrangement affords as compared with using a standard small laptop. You have a keyboard for when you need it, but you can opt to separate the two and use the tablet alone when that's all you require. Some cases allow you to remove the iPad easily, while others, like the ClamCase, are more-permanent attachments.

A neat compromise is a case such as the Belkin YourType Folio and Keyboard, which has a removable keyboard. This design allows you to carry your iPad in just the slim protective folio, adding the bulk of the keyboard to the case when the situation demands it.

How much bulk are you willing to deal with? You can't avoid picking up some extra bulk when you strap a keyboard onto your iPad, but some cases are slimmer than others. Of course, what you give up in added bulk, you gain in added protection.

If you don't mind leaving the iPad's back exposed, check out the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover or the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG. For a case with the flexibility of a slim folio plus a removable keyboard, check out the Belkin YourType or the ZAGGfolio. If you need more protection and don't mind extra bulk, take a look at the Kensington KeyFolio or the ClamCase.

For complete details, see the full reviews of all the keyboard cases I tested:

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Michelle Mastin

PC World (US online)
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