Two essential accessories for your iPad 2 from Brookstone

When it comes to anything electronic, I’m going to admit I’m a bit of a nerd; only slightly though, I don’t brag to be an IT expert or claim to be a closeted hacker.  Anyway, over the years, Brookstone has become one of my favorite stores to shop for electronics and accessories.

My most recent purchase from them was a bluetooth keyboard & case for my iPad2.  I got their black model.  It’s a pretty study case and I don’t imagine I will need to replace it for quite some time.  One thing I give Brookstone a lot of credit for; all of the products I have bought from them so far are of good quality and do not break down easily, given that you take care of their products properly.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what I think of this case:

Pros: Durability, professional-looking design, easy to slip the iPad in and out, bluetooth keyboard connects easily and doesn’t stutter or lag when you type, and it opens and closes up like a portfolio.

Cons: On the pricey side at $99 (not including tax, shipping, and any protection plans), definitely makes your iPad2 heavier, doesn’t allow for your iPad2 to go into sleep mode when you close the cover (a minor inconvenience and this is probably because the keyboard blocks the magnetic portion that some iPad/iPad2 covers include from being a possibility in this particular design), and the way it props the iPad2 up for typing may make the screen seem too close to your face.

Overall: 4/5

Aside from very minor inconveniences, I cannot imagine using my iPad2 without this keyboard.  It was pricier than I would have liked it, but for what it does and the quality of the look-and-feel of the case, I think it was a worthy buy.

The second product I’ve found to be really useful is the portable iPad2 docking station, which is also compatible with the first generation iPad.  I got this one as a gift on Christmas, and I am very happy with the quality and how it works.

Pros: Does not add too much to the weight of your iPad, portable, easy to use, stand on the back swivels so that you can set up your iPad to stand horizontally and not just vertically (which means that’s great for watching enlarged YouTube videos or streaming from programs such as Netflix), is both battery operated and comes with a wall-charger (making it both good for at home and travel use), use of the wall-charger charges your iPad while you are using it, provides clear audio, and definitely gives you more sound power than the built in speaker for your iPad.

Cons: There is no built in battery, so if you have no batteries already in there and you take out the charger than it won’t work, the thing you connect the iPad to is fragile and will break if you slam the iPad down on it and miss–it is better to take the time and put it on properly, and the power button can be a bit sensitive.  If you’re not careful, from my personal experience, I accidentally hit the power button without realizing it when I wasn’t using it, and it caused all my AAA batteries in it to die overnight.

Overall: 3.5/5

It’s a little flawed compared to the bluetooth keyboard carrying case, but it’s still a nice additional accessory for your iPad.  Also, it’s currently on sale for $59.99 (not including tax, shipping costs if you choose to have it shipped, and protection plans), which is down from its original $79.99 price tag.

If you’re like me and prefer to check out the items before you buy them, just stop by a Brookstone store and they should have the items on display.  This is something I do especially for products that have mixed reviews online, but just like how I feel with movies, I don’t always agree with the ratings.  In my opinion, a lot of times I think it’s just the mishandling of the product that leads to the lack of longevity of a purchase.  I can’t completely speak for the speaker dock just yet, but I’ve had the keyboard case since September and so far, so good.  If the quality breaks down all of a sudden that I think readers should be aware of, you can trust that I will post an update on this blog.  Somehow I doubt that’s going to be the case though.

See you all again next entry!

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