Home Your Tech Mobility Review - PADACS Rubata Keyboard Case
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Local distributor PADACS has produced, what looks on paper, to be a brilliant iPad accessory. A leather case that hides a Bluetooth keyboard with some 'special' keys. But is the Rubata really a 'must have' tool?

The first thing that stands out with the Rubata Keyboard Case is its size. With an iPad enclosed it weighed in at 1.25kg making it only 100g lighter than a Dell netbook and about the same size. This meant that in our view, the Rubata was an accessory to be used as needed rather than as an everyday case.

Setting up the keyboard was straightforward. The manual provided clear instructions and plenty of pictures. There's a small 'pairing' button on the side of the Rubata, adjacent to the On/Off switch, that requires a pen to push in.

Typing on the Rubata did require some adjustment. The keys are about 2mm smaller than a standard keyboard. While that doesn't sound like a lot, it meant that we had to make some adjustments in order to touch-type. Most of the keys are in the standard positions - it took us a few moments to locate the Home and End keys as they're near the arrows at the bottom of the keyboard.

The top row of keys are a set of special function keys for the iPad. Being able to jump to the home screen or launch email or Safari without having to leave the keyboard can be quite a timesaver. There's also quick access to the Search and Cut/Copy/Paste commands.

When using the keyboard, the Rubata folds so that the iPad screen is propped up at a comfortable angle. The arrangement works well on a narrow bench although the leather flap in front of the keyboard, that acts as a wrist pad, adds about 12cm to the front of the case. On a cramped, economy class fold-out table, this might be just a little too big. Then again, using the Bluetooth on a plane is contrary to most airline regulations so perhaps thats nit an entirely bad thing.

The Rubata's Bluetooth radio is powered by a slim battery that's built into the leather case. Charging is via USB. However, the cable that shipped with our unit was defective so we needed to grab a spare we had on hand. Fortunately it uses a standard micro-USB connector.

Battery life for the Rubata is rated at 72 hours or use. We didn't have any problems with the battery running out.

Other than the size and weight, our only other issue was that there's no indicator to let you know when Caps lock is engaged. On a small keyboard, it's easy to hit the Caps Lock button when typing an 'A'. Some sort of visual indicator would be useful.

The need for an iPad keyboard is a personal one so it's not possible to say that the Rubata is for everyone. We can see ourselves using it for short business trips where we won;t be sitting at a keyboard for hours at a time. For punching out a few emails it's great. However, it adds about 500g to your travel pack.

The Rubata retails for $109 from www.padacs.com

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