Not Martha

four iPad accessories I love

I have an iPad mini which I bought last year and here are the accessories that I couldn’t do without.


The Joy Factory SmartSuit iPad mini case. I bought this based on the recommendation from the Wirecutter. I snapped it on and have used it ever since. It’s held up perfectly well. The case is a hard shell with a grippy surface which helps me and my clumsy fingers from dropping it. It has a screen cover that is lined with a faux suede material that won’t scratch the screen. The screen cover folds back to sit flush against the back of the case when you’re using the iPad and it doesn’t get in the way of your fingers. Or the cover bends into a triangle that acts as a stand for the iPad in horizontal view. The cover doesn’t get in the way of any ports or switches, it does add a little bit of bulk to the iPad, not much but enough to make me feel a little more secure when holding it (I find the iPad mini startlingly thin and I’m always afraid of it slipping out of my hands). The case doesn’t have any extraneous bits or latches that get in the way of holding or using the iPad. The case is so secure that I will happily slip my iPad mini into my bag without worrying that it will be scratched.

The case works just like the Smart Case sold by Apple but it costs a lot less. The Smart Case, admittedly, comes in a bunch of enticing colors. Note: The Smart Case wasn’t yet made when I bought my SmartSuit case and I have not done a comparison of the two. (The Joy Factory also makes them for full sized iPad and iPad Air.)


Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover Mini. I had continuously used the case above until I was given the Logitech keyboard as a gift this Christmas, it’s a keyboard that also acts as a cover. The keyboard is small but surprisingly usable (note: I do have small-to-average hands and fingers) and connects to the iPad via Bluetooth. The keyboard has a rubberized slot that allows you to prop up the iPad in either a horizontal or vertical configuration, but the iPad doesn’t need to stay connected to the keyboard so you can use the keyboard with the iPad propped up anywhere or with a different case on. The keyboard has simple magnet attachment and matches the color and finish of the black iPad mini really well. The keyboard is lightweight, the keys are nicely clicky and it has a rechargeable battery. I compared this keyboard to a few others and prefer this one because you don’t need to remove the iPad from a case to lift it up and use, the iPad is simply propped in it’s grippy slot so you can lift and return it easily. When you are ready to put the iPad away the keyboard simply snaps on using magnets in the same way as a like the Smart Cover. (The keyboard cover is also available for regular sized iPad and iPad air, all options also come in white.)


Mophie Powerstation External Battery Charger. This external battery has saved my sanity many times while traveling, let alone while sitting on my couch too lazy to go find an extension cord so I can continue to use my device while charging it. I keep it in my bag and use it far more often than I’d anticipated. I gave Mophie batteries as gifts this past Christmas, including this smaller model that comes on a keychain to somebody who takes long bike rides. I use it for my iPhone and my iPad and I feel a little itchy when I forget to bring it along. It recharges via mini USB and can do nearly two full charges on my iPhone. I love it so much I should probably go ahead and give it a name.


Tech Armor screen protector films. I keep hearing about how strong and durable the iPad and iPhone glass is but I still manage to scratch it without any effort. I’m currently using Tech Armor clear films and am really happy with them. (One tip: the glare reducing film sold at Apple stores is terrible. So terrible that upon returning it the employee commented “oh yeah, I discourage people from buying this”.)

Your turn! Do you have any iPad gadgets that are particularly useful?

· comments [15] · 01-8-2014 · categories:uncategorized ·

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sarah // Jan 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I have a Kindle Fire that I don’t *love* at the moment (original version)…considering an iPad mini or an Android tablet. What made you go with the mini versus full size iPad? Portability?

  • 2 megan // Jan 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Sarah – Yes for me it was portability. At the time I bought this the Air versions of iPads weren’t out yet and I knew that the iPad 2 (3?) available at that time was too heavy for me to be likely to hold up and use on a regular basis. Also, I primarily bought this with a few long flights in mind and I wanted it to fit in a tiny seat in coach with me.

    And I was thinking about weight and size for bringing in a bag with me on a daily basis — I have a relatively lightweight laptop (3 pounds) that I drag with me on short trips and it’s a little too large and a little too heavy for the amount of use I get out of it (thus the iPad keyboard).

    Also, I went with an iPad because I like to play games and so far the app store just wins in that regard.

    I have found nothing lacking in the iPad mini size, my husband has a full sized iPad and there isn’t any moment where I’ve wanted to reach for his to do something. That said, most of my computing is still done at a PC desktop and laptop so my iPad is used for couch surfing and reading in bed.

  • 3 Jet Harrington // Jan 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. For years, I’ve lusted after the toys the Mac kids have, but was unwilling to pay the extra for them (or deal with the tiny resolution of the iPhone screen, even though I crave the iPhone camera). My husband has a Nexus 7 tablet, and I am now completely sold on that form factor. With the arrival of the iPad mini, I think I have my perfect gadget. Your recommendations here will help me get the most out of it. I’m psyched to bring a new toy home.

  • 4 Anne // Jan 9, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I have the ipad2 and love it but it is too big to carry in a handbag. Lucky me was given a mini also and that has become my primary plaything. I keep the full size by my bed to read at night with extra large type and no glasses on. Over the last few years I have tried several things, including the Logitech keyboard case. Unfortunately my experience was not great, I found it didn’t hold up very well. In about three months the keyboard was unfunctional. For the full size ipad I prefer a simple silicone back cover and I put it in a neoprene pocket if traveling. The mini I keep in a book style cover and it is well protected in my purse. As much as I like my iPads and iPhone, I really just want one device, a phablet kind of thing to do it all. The mini with a built in phone would do but I doubt that’ll happen. Will probably end up leaving Apple and switching to Samsung when my contract is up.

  • 5 megan // Jan 9, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for the review Anne! I’m going to treat the keyboard gently, I’m getting it it’s own case for travel, and hopefully it will stay functional but I’ll watch out for it.

    I’m excited to see that the Android devices are getting more and more attention. I barely use my mobile as a phone so I would definitely switch to a phone-capable small tablet if it had all the features I wanted (games!).

  • 6 Natalie // Jan 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I’ve had the Logitech keyboard for my iPad 2, and I use it almost daily. After 6 months, it’s still in great shape. I find that the Logitech reviews are really uneven, and I think it has to do with how you use your iPad. I don’t carry mine in my purse with me often, though I use it a lot. I have no trouble with the keyboard, though it does occasionally slip out of the slot when I’m using it in bed. Fortunately, that’s mostly soft surfaces…

  • 7 Jen // Jan 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I love my iPad mini! When the iPad was introduced, I thought, ooh, pretty, but I want it smaller and was sad that Steve Jobs was reported to have said, no way. I considered other ~7″ devices, but nothing sounded quite solid until the iPad mini was introduced (though my mom got a nexus 7 not long after and has been happy.) What can I say? The size fits my life, and I think that sort of thing is just personal. I bought the Logitech keyboard a few months ago and I have also been completed enamoured of it. I have tiny little hands! too, but yeah, I’m really impressed by how easy it is to type on it.

    *it’s sort of a running joke for me to squeal “tiny little dog!” every time I see one, so my husband has taken up saying “tiny little feet!” and “tiny little hands!” in reference to me.

  • 8 Jen // Jan 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Oh yeah! I’ve noticed that product descriptions don’t seem to mention that the slot for holding the tablet up on the keyboard is itself magnetized so you have more leeway than you’d honk for using it on non level surfaces.

  • 9 Jen // Jan 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

    honk=think… I was using the screen keyboard for that since I was still in bed and not sitting up yet :P

    The keyboard cannot access the auto-correct features, though you can touch words on screen and select alternatives.

  • 10 megan // Jan 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Jen – Great to know about, I hadn’t realized the slot was magnetized as well. I’m going on a short trip soon and only bringing the iPad so I’ll have a chance to really test it.

  • 11 Jen // Jan 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    The magnet for my groove (not the hinge) is strong enough that I can pick up the tablet and the keyboard is still attached.

    I read one old review where someone complained the slot wasn’t deep enough so their tablet could fall out even left alone on a tabletop, so I wonder if the magnets were added in later.

  • 12 Barbara | Crazy Lovely // Jan 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I REALLY needed you to tell me about that external battery. I have been thinking I needed something like that, but I haven’t even had a chance to look into it. I love your other accessory picks, too!

  • 13 megan // Jan 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Barbara – The battery! Mophie makes a few sizes and the one I have holds (almost) two full charges for my iPhone. I’ve had this one for at least two years, maybe three. To charge an iPhone you use the iPhone cord from the phone to the battery (usb port) and hit a button and it charges. To recharge the battery you use a cord that comes with it and plug in the battery using the little cube power converter that comes with the iPhone (mini usb on the battery to usb on the power convertor). That’s all. I carry the battery in my bag in case I need to charge my phone and it’s especially useful while traveling. Because you connect the battery via the iphone cord you can leave the battery in your bag and use the iPhone like usual, just with a cord attached. (This can be useful when you are walking through an airport frantically looking up flight information while your battery is dying.)

    The Mophie batteries come with both usb and mini usb slots so you can use them with devices other than the iPhone or iPad, though they are definitely marketed towards apple users that way.

    Let me know if you have any questions about it!

  • 14 Dona // Feb 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks for the reviews, Megan! I’ve been looking for a tablet to take to a conference, and I’ve settled on the iPad mini. I appreciate not having to research cases too! And I never would have thought of getting an external battery, but I bet I will need one.

  • 15 Linda L. // Mar 31, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Thanks for this, Megan. My daughter works shift work including 13-hour shifts that have her coming home late at night, often after the local buses have stopped running so she has to walk through fairly deserted areas. After a full day, her phone battery is often sketchy and I know it will die when she needs it most. An external battery is now on my list for her birthday – so I can rest easy when she’s out late!! So I suppose I should really get it for my birthday!

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