If you're purchasing the brand-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, you're most likely going to want a keyboard to opt for it. Right now, you have actually only got 2 alternatives that use the iPad's Smart Port.
In one corner is Apple's own $159 Smart Keyboard, a light-weight typing accessory that functions as a screen cover. In the other is Logitech's $130 Slim Combination keyboard, whose kickstand-equipped case and detachable keyboard practically turn the iPad into a Microsoft Surface.
These 2 iPad keyboards take greatly different methods toward style and features, with Apple favoring elegance and Logitech going for utilitarianism. And together they produce a case study in how adding more functions brings more trade-offs.
The Smart Keyboard grows up
Its Smart Keyboard is also roomier since the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is larger than the previous 9.7-inch variation. I measured a little over 17.5 mm horizontally in between keys, and just about 18mm vertically, falling simply a hair except OSHA guidelines. (The 12.9-inch iPad Pro's keyboard, for what it deserves, runs about 1mm wider in between each secret.).
Sizing aside, the brand-new Smart Keyboard has the exact same design as the old one, with a nylon-like layer of woven fabric over the secrets, along with plastic and felt-like fabric on opposite sides of the screen cover. The top of the cover snaps magnetically into the iPad's Smart Connector, then folds into a little triangle, allowing the iPad to drop into a narrow groove just above the keyboard. Setting this up ceases to be puzzling after about a day.
When you're done typing, the keyboard folds into the bottom two-thirds of the cover, then turns over to safeguard the screen. You can fold the cover back behind the iPad for handheld usage, or tuck the keyboard into a triangle behind the tablet for usage as a stand; iOS will change to its software application keyboard when it recognizes that the physical one is stowed away.
The Smart Keyboard's style has some intrinsic disadvantages. It just permits for a single angle of slope-- mitigated, somewhat, by the iPad's excellent viewing angles-- and it leaves no room for function secrets. The numbers row is also close sufficient to the screen to invite some unintended tapping, and there's still no place to stow away an Apple Pencil.
Since the keyboard location is so shallow, your fingers needn't reach as far to touch the screen, and the whole cover is light enough that it doesn't severly jeopardize the iPad as a portable computer system. The Smart Keyboard does not have all the creature conveniences of a standard keyboard, it's effective in feeling like a real part of the iPad hardware, rather than just a bolted-on device.
Logitech boosts with the Slim Combo
Logitech's iPad keyboard takes almost all the Smart Keyboard's weak points and strengths and flips them around.
The Slim Combo is loaded with functions. It has backlit secrets, a kickstand with adjustable viewing angles, and a function crucial row with buttons for House, screen brightness, an on-screen keyboard, media playback, volume, mute, and lock. The clamshell design acts like a protective barrier for both sides of the iPad, and it even consists of a material loop for keeping an Apple Pencil.
Yet the style that facilitates those functions likewise lends a particular clumsiness to Logitech's hardware. The kickstand is part of a bulky snap-in case that's heavy in the hands and inconvenient to get rid of, and as soon as the kickstand is unfurled, it requires a lot more space than the Smart Keyboard's triangular stand. That makes the Slim Combination harder to stabilize on a lap, and harder to use on a plane. And with extra secrets stuffed into the keyboard base-- which runs about as deep as the iPad itself-- the screen is even more away from your fingers compared to Apple's keyboard.
The kickstand could be more stiff to avoid the screen from wobbling, and the floppy, rubberized band that connects the case and base areas enables the keyboard to move around in your lap. And while the secrets themselves have more travel compared to Apple's Smart Keyboard, they're likewise more constrained together.
In general, utilizing the Logitech Slim Combination seems like a much deeper commitment to the iPad-as-laptop principle, with more functions that interest severe typists. But it also makes the iPad harder to utilize in its natural state, and in some methods still manages to fall brief as a typing machine.
The typing test
To see which keyboard was much faster, I ran a series of typing tests in the complimentary TapTyping app for iOS. Each test needed copying 3 short passages of literature, and I ran each test 3 times per keyboard on two separate days.
In these tests, Apple's Smart Keyboard was consistently faster, but not dramatically so. I averaged 98 words per minute on Apple's keyboard, versus 94.5 words per minute on Logitech's keyboard. My highest score on the Smart Keyboard was 100 words per minute, versus 97 words per minute with the Slim Combo. Error rate was almost the very same on both keyboards, at 97.83 for Apple's keyboard and 97.67 for Logitech's keyboard. My sense is that Logitech's extra crucial travel makes typing a bit slower.
Speed isn't whatever, though, and the soft springiness of Logitech's keys felt less demanding on my fingertips and joints throughout prolonged usage. Using the Smart Keyboard needs a softer touch to avoid discomfort.