MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

The idea of a physical keyboard on a 7-inch tablet is a questionable one, but this case makes us consider the proposition more seriously

The Nexus 7 (and all 7-inch tablets, really) are generally better suited for on-screen keyboard input than their 10-inch counterparts, but what if you want to push the capabilities of your tablet more towards a laptop? We've seen wireless keyboards of all shapes and styles for many different devices, but ones that are made to fit a 7-inch tablet walk a very fine line of staying compact without compromising usability.

MiniSuit has had a keyboard folio-style case for the Nexus 7 (2012) on the market for some time now, and has updated the line for the 2013 revision of the tablet. It's a relatively compact, nice-looking and well-made case that also pulls double duty as a full-featured — but hardly full-sized — keyboard accessory. Hang with us after the break where we take a closer look at the MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7 (2013).

Build quality and materials

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

For an accessory that retails for just $25 on Amazon, the MiniSuit Keyboard Case seems to be built surprisingly well with good material choices. The entire outside of the case is covered with a black stitched leather that gives it a more business-like folio look, which may not be the look everyone is going for but certainly looks and feels premium. The inside of the case is lined with a microfiber material, but the palm rest and holder for the tablet are the same leather material as the outside.

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7 MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

You fit the Nexus 7 into place by sliding it in from the center of the case, where a flap then wraps around it to hold it in position. The leather gives enough that the tablet fits snugly, but it will still move around a little bit in your bag when it gets bumped. The case has all the right cutouts for the buttons, front-facing camera, light sensor and LED notification light around front and the rear-facing camera and speaker on the back.

More: Google Nexus 7 (2013) review

Opposite the tablet you'll find the real reason anyone will buy this case — the keyboard itself. Contrary to many keyboards that try to go as thin as possible to cut down on bulk, this one has struck a balance of giving the keyboard enough thickness to have proper travel on the keys as well as a solid battery. The keyboard portion of the case is about as thick as the Nexus 7 with its leather holder, and we're completely fine with the thickness tradeoff here.

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7 MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

When you close and open the case, a magnet inside turns the Nexus 7's screen on and off, which is a nice touch. When you are planning to keep the case closed, a leather flap extends from the keyboard side of the case and into a strap on the opposite side. The flap can be tough to get into the strap at first but you quickly figure out how to manage it. The leather-on-leather contact keeps the case held together just fine.

If you want to get the keyboard out of the way, it flips all the way back to present you with just the tablet and can even still pop out the kickstand for some video watching if you would like. Don't get this case expecting to easily use the tablet alone though, you really lose the basic one-handed use and portability of the Nexus 7 with this keyboard attached to it.

Ergonomics and usability

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

MiniSuit has managed to fit a nearly fully-appointed keyboard into the case, while still keeping it just as wide as a landscape Nexus 7, but that doesn't mean that there aren't tradeoffs in using a keyboard this small. The key travel and feedback is actually much better than we would expect, with proper switches behind each key, but the keys themselves are borderline too small. While the case seems to have used the width of the case pretty efficiently, we think that the keyboard layout could have been improved.

For example you're getting dual shift keys, dedicated caps lock and tab keys and directional arrows on a keyboard that could really benefit from reclaiming some of these keys for the main QWERTY layout. It's hard to say just how much more comfortable the typing experience could be if the keyboard was another 1.5-inches wider, but it surely wouldn't hurt.

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7 MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

After spending a good amount of time typing on the keyboard, we actually became quite quick and accurate despite its size. We have large hands that are perfectly suited on a standard 13 or 11-inch laptop keyboard, and while there are definitely things to get used to when moving to a smaller keyboard you can do so in a short amount of time. The biggest things for us were getting used to using the function ("fn") key to access special characters like apostrophes and quotes, as well as accessing Android navigation like "back" and "home."

Ergonomically, the kickstand puts the Nexus 7 at just the right angle for us to be comfortable with viewing it — which is a good thing because it isn't adjustable. The tablet is positioned towards the "top" of the case as well, meaning you're not craning your neck down as much as you would expect. Unless you have smaller than average hands you won't actually be using the palm rest for much of your palms, but we had no problems getting into a generally comfortable position while typing.

In terms of battery life, the keyboard case seems to hold up quite well. We charged our case the suggested 3-4 hours before pairing it up and using it, and even with hours of active connection and typing we didn't have to charge it up. This seems to be about par for the course for Bluetooth keyboards, and we're glad its the case here as well.

Does a 7-inch tablet really need a keyboard?

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7

After using the MiniSuit Keyboard Case and our own Nexus 7 (2013) to write this entire review, we're not entirely sold on the proposition of using a keyboard case on such a small device. It adds quite a bit of bulk and kills tablet-only use, all for a questionably-sized keyboard that pairs up with a small screen that isn't really suited to text input work in the first place. There's no doubt that a physical keyboard will always trump an on-screen one, but that doesn't always mean it's a good tradeoff.

If you see yourself needing to do lots of text input on your Nexus 7 (2013) and can deal with a generally cramped and quirky keyboard layout, the MiniSuit Keyboard Case might fit the bill for you. It adds a more thickness than your average folio case but gives you a nice build as well as keys with good travel and responsiveness — and for the price, it's hard to beat.

Buy the MiniSuit Keyboard Stand Case for Nexus 7 (2013) on Amazon

 

Reader comments

MiniSuit Keyboard Case for the Nexus 7 (2013)

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Really? I've had this case on my Note 8.0 for a while now and its been out for more than a year.

Note 8.0

Never found that touch typing on a full 10-inch tablet was faster than regular thumb typing on a 7-inch like a big phone.

Posted via Android Central App

Agree
From iPad to iPad mini, the speed increase going to the smaller device was immediately noticeable.

I will never buy a keyboard case for a smaller than 10" tablet again. Even if they're built well they are just too tiny to enjoy typing.

I'd rock it. It looks cool. Dang I just love all this tech...gimme more!

Posted via Android Central App

I think this has a nice appearance but I have opted for the other Keyboard/Case by MiniSuite. That way it's more readily convertible to a typical tablet.
It makes a decent laptop substitute for when you don't want a laptop but do want something better than the onscreen option.
The keyboard snaps on the Nexus as a cover and the tablet docks with the keyboard when needed.
It is also available, now!

I use one of those with my original N7. Great keyboard with one significant caveat... The letters on the keys wear off VERY quickly. I had to rewrite the letters with silver sharpie and cover them with clear nail polish.

The Nexus 10 version of that case was great for about 3 weeks, then all of the keys rubbed off and the clip wore out. I have two keys that have popped out completely. There is a long thread over at XDA about it, and they eventually took it off the market. Tread carefully, and don't jump to conclusions after a weeks use, that would be my reccomendation.

Posted via Android Central App

Is great but if you really love to type for real then I think it will also be good if you buy a laptop. Just saying.

Abdul Majeed Posted via Android Central App

Well for many reasons. Obviously a 7-inch tablet with a keyboard attached isn't a laptop replacement, and not just because the keyboard is small.

Posted via Android Central App

Since it is not big enough to really type on, I don't see how it would be all that much better than using the on-screen keyboard.

It's actually drastically better than an on-screen keyboard. I'm easily a 100 WPM typist on my laptop and maybe slowed down 20% moving down to this. Surprisingly good once you get used to the size.

Posted via Android Central App

$25 looks like a great price. this looks like a good add-on for a student, journalist, or writer who needs a keyboard.

Definitely! This is also suitable for bloggers. Why take a heavy laptop out with you if you can just post your blog through a lightweight device? This is great for bloggers and online freelancers too.

It looks nice, but I'd rather put a physical keyboard on a 10 inch tablet. Touch typing is a lot easier on a 7 inch tablet than it is on a 10 inch tablet.

Posted by someone who is watching you...right now

Rushed and bought the wireless hp keyboard when the nexus 7 was first announced. Boy, its weird to carry separate pieces with me hahaha.

I always enjoy reading your articles, Andrew. They are very thorough and detailed and perfect for the reader who's thinking about the purchase. Keep up the good work!

Hi Andrew how much more convenient is it to type on this keyboard than the aluminum keyboard case? I had the aluminum case and it was a nightmare. Do your fingers fit comfortably on the home row keys? Thanks! Great review.

It seems like the leather that wraps around the screen keeps it lifted off the keys. I haven't noticed any issues with the keys touching the screen.

Posted via Android Central App

I have this exact keyboard. Used it for about 3 days before I returned it to Amazon. It was a quality devices for sure. Especially when you consider the price. The problem is that it was entirely too difficult for me to type. I have sausage fingers, so somebody with normal sized fingers might not have as much of an issue as I did. Definitely worth noting though.

No complaints about the product itself though.

It would have been nice if the keyboard added some extra functionality, like a couple of USB ports for instance..

But the whole point of having a Bluetooth keyboard is its wireless. Now you want cords connecting it and the extra thickness/size of usb ports?

Posted via Android Central App

Thats a crazy good price for something like this.

I have an transformer tf300 with the keyboard dock and love the thing. Its a 3/4(i think) size keyboard and i still get cramped on it sometimes though. I can only imagine this one is smaller. I just cant type anything more than a couple of words on an on screen keyboard on a 10" tablet. Too much hunt and peck for me.

Yeah! even a 7 inch tab needs a keyboard as well ;) This is such a perfect Keyboard for Nexus 7. Especially like me who wants to travel and go to Wifi zones, this keyboard is really nice. Cute, Simple and so handy. Nice review!

I actually bought this one for my nexus 7. Honestly, I never really thought that this accessory could exceed my expectation for a keyboard stand case. I thought this one wont last that long as it's not that expensive but I got mistaken. I don't usually build up any products I buy but since I really appreciate the usefulness of this stand case, I decided to speak out my mind here. :)

I bought this one from amazon though I wasn't able to leave a review for this item during my purchased. Anyhow, if you are looking for affordable yet durable Keyboard Case for your Nexus 7 this is really a good choice. I highly recommend this!

I bought this exact product and as a web developer it's been just what I needed, until today when it stopped working! Ive had it for a week to the day and it just decides to pack in. At first I thought it was a battery thing because It hasn't needed to be charged and it was as if my backspace button was being held in, also the majority of the keys in the "A" row completely ceased to respond. Like I said, it's been great for me until today and I'm trying to figure out if it was something I've done or if its a faulty product.

I got home, stuck the keyboard on charge, came back to it 10 minutes later and I was still having issues. I then decided to unpair it from my nexus 7, turn the nexus 7 off and on again and try to reconnect. Now I can't get it connected at all. It's giving me the option to pair my device to the keyboard but the return button doesn't seem to be working so I can't submit the numbers that I'm being asked to type in.

Something has obviously gone wrong but I've done nothing to cause this, it's as if it's had water damage.

I would definitely consider buying another one but only of I know that this is a one of and not a regular occurrence. Has anybody else had an issue like this one?