This week has ended up being a series of quick reviews: Logitech Slim Combo, 10.5” iPad Pro, and the Apple Leather Sleeve. In this final installment I wanted to write some thoughts on the Apple Smart Keyboard.
The keyboard has a lot going for it. For one, the slightly bigger size compared to the 9.7” results in a massive different. The 9.7” was slightly cramped when writing. Although I did get used to this I still felt that the keys were too close together and my hands were never resting in a natural position but instead they were really close together. The added size of the iPad really does fix this. My hands rest in a natural position and I don’t feel cramped at all.
Apple is touting this as a “full size keyboard.” While I don’t think this is entirely accurate because, really, it is not a full size keyboard. But it is full siz_ish_, which is enough. In actual use I forget that I am typing on a slightly smaller keyboard compared to the Apple Magic Keyboard or my massive-over-the-top-mechanical-naked-keys Das Keyboard.
As with the previous versions, the keyboard pairs via the Smart Connector, which, when you get used to this instead of Bluetooth you realize how truly great this is. You never have to worry about powering, batter, connection issues, or anything else. Just open the keyboard and begin to type.
The keyboard is really, really thin. When carrying the iPad around with the keyboard attached its basically like carrying a small notebook. One of the reasons that I love this combination is that it is so easy to just pick up and go then sit down and get to work. The whole process is basically frictionless. Additionally, the keyboard is waterproof so when you spill your coffee all over the keyboard in the morning you are good to go.
With all that said, I think this keyboard is adequete and gets the job done. It’s not great but its certainly the best option for a keyboard for the 10.5” iPad Pro that uses the Smart Connector. I am not thrilled about the typing experience. Since the keyboard is so flat there is not a lot of room for the keys to depress. After a while I do feel like that my fingers have been pressing down on a table for a while. This is definitely a personal preference as I know several that have no reservations about this. This is still better than the awful Microsoft Surface keyboard. Now that truly feels like you are typing on a table the whole time. I really prefer the Logitech Keyboard feel, but, well, you have seen my opinions on that.
Additionally, I really wish there was a way to carry the Apple Pencil as well. This is one of the reasons I ended up getting the Apple Leather Sleeve (plus some additional protection). Carrying the Apple Pencil around in my pocket made it prone to losing it, stabbing my leg, or just forgetting it when I go to a meeting or the coffee shop.
At the end of the day I really do like the iPad Pro + Smart Keyboard + Leather Sleeve. I think in the future there may be better solutions as other companies take advantage of the Smart Connector but for now this definitely gets the job done, and in my opinion, the best option out there.