Zagg's Rugged Book iPad Keyboard Case Lives Up to Its Name

I do a lot of typing in my job and I prefer to travel with my iPad instead of my MacBook, so I'm always looking for a good keyboard case for my iPad. Enter the solidly built Rugged Book ($129.99) from ZAGG. I'm confident it could survive a drop; and in fact, it feels like I could use it as a weapon! If the bulk is too much at times, you can remove the tablet portion from the keyboard for a lighter, more compact case. You can also flip the tablet part around for use as a video player or kiosk.

Related: Must-Have Accessories for the New 10.5-inch iPad Pro: Keyboards, Cases & More

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Since Apple makes so many changes to the iPad product line, I appreciate that it works with numerous iPad models, including the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

I must admit, I was going to complain that it didn't have a backlit keyboard, but it turns out that it does, it's just not clearly labeled. Indeed, you have to hold down the Function key and select the brightness subfunction and/or the backlighting color subfunction key, which both work double duty with the down and right arrow keys, respectively. You can actually select from seven colors.

The keyboard sports a whopping two-year battery life, so that will be appreciated on long trips. It's sold in basic black only, and it's not cheap, but it's got a lot going to justify the price.



  • Multi-purpose (keyboard, video, and tablet modes)
  • Solid construction
  • Backlit keyboard with 7 colors
  • 2-year battery life
  • Accommodate a variety of 9.7-inch iPads


  • Only one color
  • Pricey
  • Backlighting keys could be separate or more clearly identified

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an iPad keyboard case, look no further. The Rugged Book from ZAGG should meet your needs. 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.