August 24th, 2020

iPad Pro Keyboard Shootout

I’ve accumulated a few iPad Pro keyboard cases in the two years I’ve had my iPad which means I have choices when I want to stick my iPad in a case. I know not everyone has choices though so today I’m going to give you a shootout on the cases I have to help you decide what case is best for your use case.

You’ll find links to purchase any of these keyboards at the bottom of the post.

Best Keyboard on Your Lap

Winner: Brydge Pro

I’ve had the Brydge keyboard long enough that it’s showing some wear on the edge from the metal in my watch band touching the metal base. I used to use this case if I was going to be out and about for the day but wasn’t sure of my work surfaces. Without a doubt it is the most stable case on your lap.

Runner Up: Magic Keyboard

While the Magic Keyboard does a decent job on your lap, it wants to tip backward ever so slightly. Not enough to make it fall backward, but enough that the keyboard raises slightly off your lap if your hands aren’t on it. For this reason it doesn’t earn the top spot as the best keyboard on your lap.

Best Typing Experience

Winner: Magic Keyboard

While the Magic Keyboard isn’t as nice as my Anne Pro 2, it’s not a typing experience I’ll complain about. Yes it would be nice to have a function row, but the keys themselves feels excellent. They have plenty of travel and don’t have an odd configuration that your fingers have to learn so you can stop making typos.

Runner Up: Brydge Pro

The Brydge Pro is the second best typing experience here. The stable platform the keys sit in, and the depth they travel of each press is excellent. Here you even get function keys...amazing. There is a bit of latency with the Bluetooth connection, but I may notice it once in a day while working.

Best Portability

Both of these keyboards have something in common, they use the Smart Connector that’s on your iPad Pro. That means they don’t have a battery and you don’t need to charge them. When I’m out for the day working I don’t have to carry extra battery packs or cables to make sure that either of these two cases stay charged. All I need to do is keep my iPad charged and these are good to go.

Winner: Smart Keyboard Folio

If you’re looking for the most portable keyboard case for your iPad then the Smart Folio is the clear choice. Yes the key travel is shallow, and you’ll feel the bottoming out, but it’s not terrible. You get a lot of functionality, with little weight in the Smart Keyboard Folio.

Runner Up: Magic Keyboard

Yes, the Magic Keyboard is heavy. Inside this package you get lots of functionality though. A nice set of keys, and a trackpad. An extra USB C port to charge your device. If portability was measured only in weight, then this wouldn’t win anything, but it provides so much utility for it’s weight that it’s a great choice for people on the go with their iPad. The magnetic attachment also makes it easy to take your iPad off if you want to use it in tablet mode.

Best Protection

Winner: Inateck iPad Pro Keyboard Case

The Inateck keyboard comes in 2 parts. First is the rubber shell that wraps around your iPad and provides excellent drop coverage for the back and corners of your device. The second part is the detachable keyboard. It has enough rigidity that I’d have no worry about a sharp impact hitting the screen of my iPad and damaging it through the keyboard. It also provides a great spot for the Apple Pencil inside the case where it won’t fall off and migrate to the depths of your bag.

Runner Up: ProCase

The ProCase keyboard is a folio that fully wraps your iPad when closed. It also wraps the Apple Pencil when attached in the charging position, or provides an internal storage slot if you don’t want to store it and charge it. My only concern here is that long term the keyboard pressing on the iPad screen will cause issues even though it provides two large flat surfaces that contact your iPad screen, and not small sharp surfaces.

Best Tablet Case

Winner: Smart Keyboard Folio

One thing that always bothered me about other folio cases was the flap that flopped around the back of your device when it was in tablet mode. It took a week of use of the Smart Keyboard Folio for me to realize that it doesn’t have this problem. Here the keyboard has magnets in the base so it “sticks” to the back of the case and stays in place.

The Smart Keyboard Folio is a light case that lets you use your iPad as a tablet without any compromise, while still providing a decent keyboard when you need to type.

Runner Up: Inateck

Our runner up allows you to detach the keyboard when you don’t want keyboard functionality. Then you have a kickstand to hold your device up and a well protected tablet to use. If you’re prone to bumping your iPad while you cook, or are worried about dropping it then this is a better option than the Smart Keyboard Folio because it provides good drop protection while the Smart Keyboard Folio doesn’t provide any.

Which Case Should You Get

I know I wasn’t a fan of the Apple cases before I owned them. I lamented their expense many times. I couldn’t see how they’d provide as much value as they cost. Now that I’ve owned them for a while, my tune has changed.

If you’re a light typist then the Smart Keyboard Folio gives you the ability to type when you need it, but gets out of your way when you don’t need the keyboard. Add to that the fabric covered keys that will survive spills, and you’ve got an excellent package.

If you’re a heavy typist and love the trackpad features Apple brought to it’s tablet line up, then the Magic Keyboard is the obvious choice. I find the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard better than my Magic Trackpad 2 in daily use. The other case I have with a trackpad sucks. Note it didn’t even show up as a recommended in any situation keyboard.

Everything I’ve read about the Brydge Pro+ says that it’s trackpad isn’t great either. While I wish the Magic Keyboard felt excellent on your lap, that’s the only thing I don’t like about it. The truth is, I rarely use a device on my lap unless I’m at home and then I have a bunch of lap desks or huge kid books in the house to use on my lap to help improve the stability of the device.

If I had money to buy one case, it would be the Smart Folio case. While there are other less expensive keyboard cases, the typing experience on them is less than stellar. The Smart Folio also provides the best tablet experience for your iPad, while the other cases have flaps that get in your way, or force extra work to remove their keyboards. If you’re hoping to use the iPad as a mobile computing replacement for a laptop, then save your pennies and get the Magic Keyboard.

Yes it’s that nice.

Purchase Links