Review: Incase Origami Workstation
Although the on-screen keyboard of the iPad is pretty good—especially in landscape mode, a keyboard adds quite a bit of usefulness for anyone doing lots of writing, coding, or manipulating spreadsheets. Although many manufacturers make keyboards specifically for the iPad, Apple’s is a good option, but a bit cumbersome for travel. To solve this problem, Incase created the $30 Origami Workstation, a case for your keyboard that also doubles as an iPad stand.
I often get asked what I consider to be the best keyboard for the iPad. I always suggest the Bluetooth keyboard made by Apple, as it is well-made, lightweight, great to type on, and can work with your computer or iPad without gimmicks. Unlike cases with keyboards built-in, the Apple Wireless Keyboard and an Origami Workstation isn’t tied to a particular iPad form factor. In fact, my keyboard was originally paired with a G4 Mac mini, followed by my iPhone 4, an original iPad, and now the third-generation iPad. The only downsides to Apple’s model are the price—it’s a bit more than some other alternatives, but arguably more durable, and some even have an extra lying around because of a Mac purchase—and the lack of iOS-specific keys. For most, this won’t be a big deal, and maybe someday Apple will change this in software (iOS 6, perhaps?)
Still, this review is about the Origami Workstation, not the device it’s designed to work in tandem with. Made out of a black material feeling very similar to Apple’s polyurethane Smart Covers or some of Incase’s other cases, this keyboard case is just a tad bigger (about 1/4″ on each side) than the keyboard, and features a set of plastic clips that hold the keyboard in place. They attach around the battery “hump” and are secure enough that the keyboard and case feel like a sturdy duo.
The other notable feature is a flap with two Velcro tabs for keeping the case securely closed. What’s interesting (and presumably how the case gets its name) is that the flap has thin diagonal lines for folding (much like Apple’s Smart Cover), to create a three-sided pyramid shape. By attaching the two aforementioned Velcro tabs together, the pyramid becomes rather sturdy, allowing you to rest your iPad (even if it’s in a case) behind the keyboard. Although you cannot adjust the angle, it’s a pretty comfortable angle for typing. Once you’re done, just pick up your iPad, unfold the pyramid and fold the flap over the keyboard. Instantly, you have two items that are ready for travel.
While some may argue that the Oragami Workstation is a bit expensive and unnecessary, it does make traveling with Apple’s keyboard much easier and prevents accidental keypresses and damage when placed in a bag. The combination of the keyboard and case may be a bit hard to swallow for some (being an upwards of $100), but this is no different than device-specific products from Logitech or ZAGG, and if you already have a keyboard that you’re trying to find a use for, this is an excellent addition.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
If you have been on the fence about getting a keyboard for an iPad, the Origami Workstation and an Apple Keyboard is a great alternative, especially since it works comfortably with numerous devices.
Pros: Creative stand/case design, securely attaches to keyboard, makes Apple Wireless Keyboard more portable
Cons: A bit pricey, no angle adjustment