Updated – Kudos to Zagg for responding quickly and resolving the issue (see below). Well done!
IMPORTANT: Don’t use the USB charging cable that came with the Zagg with Keyboard. This cable has small tabs that keep it secure in the unit. Unfortunately, the pressure required to remove the tabs also unseats the charging unit. Do yourself a favor and get a standard micro USB cable with out the tabs and use that.
One of the things that kept me from buying an iPad for so long was the fact that I don’t type well on glass keyboards. Whether it’s a phone or tablet, I have yet to find a glass keyboard interface that just works with my fingers. So, when I saw the ZaggMate with Keyboard banner ads plastered all over the tech websites I read, I decided that maybe it was time to take the plunge, buy an iPad and try the ZaggMate.
I bought my first ZaggMate with Keyboard through my local Best Buy, getting the last one in stock just before Christmas. My initial impression was that for $100, this product was a steal. Very nice brushed metal finish that matched the iPad case perfectly and the iPad fit snugly inside the case.
I like this, because I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I want my iPad investment to be protected. The bluetooth keyboard is definitely smaller than a netbook keyboard and felt slightly cramped, but I didn’t think it was anything I couldn’t adjust to. The keyboard paired in 30 seconds and I was up and running.
The micro-USB charger is the same as the one I use for my Samsung Moment, so it didn’t bother me that the keyboard doesn’t charge using the standard iPad charger.
Unfortunately, when I plugged the charger in, I noticed that the blue charging indication light was flickering. After wiggling the USB cable, it was obvious that there was a poor connection in the cable provided with the product, or in the Zaggmate with Keyboard itself.
After testing with a different cable, it became apparent that there was a connection problem within the product itself.
This was unsettling.
I was immediately concerned about the manufacturing process used to build the product. I wasn’t willing to shell out $100 for something that was just going to end up being a simple case because I couldn’t charge the keyboard anymore.
So, I reached out to ZaggMate with the following email:
Subject: ZaggMate quality?
I recently purchased an iPad at BestBuy and decided to buy the ZaggMate + Keyboard as my case/keyboard option. I wanted to share my experience with you. While I love the look and slim profile of the ZaggMate + keyboard, when I tried to plug in the item, the charging light did not light up. After wiggling the USB cable, the light did flicker, but did not stay lit. I determined that I could prop up the cable to keep it charging, but I’m not willing to accept a product that I have to make work. I purchased the iPad because I want superior quality over the competing Android tablets and I expect that the accessories (both from Apple and 3rd party vendors) meet the same exacting quality as the iPad.
I returned the ZaggMate + Keyboard to BestBuy this evening, only to find that there isn’t another item available within 40 miles of my location. As a result, my options are to either buy directly from Zagg or to go with a competitor product.
I guess I’m looking for some assurances that if I order through Zagg and wait to have it delivered, that I’m not going to be disappointed with the product. I want to know that the item that is shipped to me has been through quality control and I’m not going to end up with something that breaks on me quickly. I travel a lot and need my devices to function and function well and since the ZaggMate + Keyboard is priced even higher than some of the Apple keyboards, I expect that quality to be very high.
Can you confirm for me that these products are manufactured to a high standard and are put through quality assurance testing? I don’t want to order another item if it’s not going to meet my needs.
The response I got was a fairly canned response response from Customer Service, indicating that they weren’t aware of any issues with the charging light.
Thank you for contacting ZAGG, where we are zealous about great gadgets! My name is <Name Removed> and I appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
In response to your e-mail, I would like to apologize for any inconvenience that may have been caused. Our products do go through quality control and we back the ZAGGmate with a 1 year replacement warranty. We have not heard of any reports with the charging light not working however I have forwarded your feedback to management.
You can see more about the ZAGGmate here:
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Our phone number is 801-263-0699 or toll free at 800-700-9244. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM, Mountain Time.
Thank you for choosing ZAGG! We appreciate your business.
In a followup email clarified that the light wasn’t the issue, that the charging port appeared to be the problem, but didn’t receive any follow up.
Deciding to go ahead and take the risk, I waited a few more days and found another unit at a different Best Buy and picked it up.
For almost 30 days, I have been a huge fan of the unit.
I took it on multiple business trips, wrote quite a few blog posts using it, and took meeting notes with the keyboard. I loved the fact that the keyboard offers a full set of arrow keys, something that the iPad is lacking.
I used the keyboard for probably 8-10 hours after the first charge, so it held a charge for quite a long time. I even live-tweeted from a recent conference with Brian Solis and Jason Falls and the combination of the iPad and the Zaggmate with keyboard proved to be the perfect live-tweeting combo.
In fact, my next complaint about the unit came when I tried to charge it.
I plugged it in using the provided USB cable, let it charge overnight and then, when I removed the cable the next day, was greeted with the most unpleasant surprise….the entire charging unit came off with the cable (see photo below).
Really….REALLY?!?!? A second unit with a problem with the charging system??
At this point, I have reached out to Zagg for a warranty replacement since the product comes with a 1 year warranty, but have yet to hear back from them. We’ll see how smoothly their replacement process goes.
At this point, I would really have to recommend that people avoid this product. While I love the keyboard and the case, I need tech tools that work flawlessly and for the price, I think that isn’t too much to offer for this product. I find it hard to believe that I got the two units with this flaw.
I’d be curious to hear whether others have had the same or similar issues with the charger on the Zaggmate with Keyboard. Leave a comment if you have additional info to share. I’ll update this post as the details unfold.
Update – Resolution Of The Issue
Obviously, Zagg is paying attention to the social space and cares about their customer issues. On Tuesday, I received a call from a Zagg representative letting me know that my replacement unit was on the way, including a return shipping slip for the defective unit.
I also received a followup comment on the blog post, confirming that there had been an issue with a batch of units, but the process had been resolved.
As promised, I received my replacement unit and as a courtesy, Zagg added their Invisible Shield coating to the new unit, which is really nice. The really nice thing about this whole process is that Zagg resolved the issue before my old unit lots its charge, so I wasn’t without my Zagg with Keyboard at any time.
Well done, Zagg…a great product accompanied by great customer service. I’m not sure I can ask for more and you have earned a repeat customer.