We’ll start with a disclaimer, ProCase got me a 99% coupon for this case. I paid something for it, but barely anything. They hoped I write something about it or add it to a video, but didn’t make that a requirement, and they haven’t seen this until you’re seeing it. The other truth is that this was already in a wishlist of keyboards to purchase and try at some point in the future, so I probably would have got it for demo at some point anyway.
With that out of the way, what do I think of the ProCase iPad Pro keyboard case?
While I have the 2018 12.9” iPad Pro, this will fit both the 2018 and 2020 version of the device. It has a plastic shell that grips the iPad case, and reminds me very much of the TouchType Pro case I reviewed a while back. The shell grips well but I’m feeling spoiled by magnetic cases now so I feel I need to downgrade the experience of a plastic shell case in my current setups.
Just like the TouchType, this is a folio case. That means it provides decent protection when your iPad is in the case because it entirely encloses your device.
The case also contains a bluetooth keyboard and works equally well when you have the keyboard in the case, or stick it to the side and go iPad only. Again, this is much like the TouchType Pro and is a feature that I like about the case.
When your iPad is in your bag, the ProCase Folio also makes sure that your Apple Pencil stays attached to your iPad in it’s standard charging location. While I haven’t lost my pencil often in my bag, it still happens with other cases and it’s still annoying. You are also provided with a second location to store the pencil under the shell at the bottom of the iPad if you want. I’m not sure why you’d use this since the Apple Pencil is protected when the case is closed already, but it’s there if you can see a reason for it.
The case provides three viewing angles, which hit any angle I’ve wanted while using my iPad.
Finally, the keyboard makes a decent use of magnets to attach to the case. This means it doesn’t move around if you bump it while typing, but it’s easy to remove when you’re done with the keyboard. I’ve ended up removing the case when I’m looking up a recipe and want to make sure that I don’t dump any kitchen ingredients into the keyboard.
While there is a bunch going for the case itself, it’s by no means perfect. First, it takes up around 13” of desk space. The tables at the local coffee shop are small and this takes up almost the entire room available on them.
Yes the keyboard has magnets, but the bottom of the shell doesn’t have magnets, your iPad is held in by friction alone. I’ve moved it a few times when tapping away on the iPad. I’d much rather drop the lower section for your Apple Pencil and get some magnets to hold the case in it’s viewing angles.
My final gripe from a functional standpoint is that the keyboard remains in contact with the screen of your iPad. I’m aware that the Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard do this as well, but I trust Apple more. In my few weeks of use I haven’t found any marks on my screen, so maybe I’m worrying for nothing.
On the keyboard front, pairing was easy. Press
fn+C and the devices showed up in Bluetooth setting. It paired right away and I was able to start typing.
Unlike the Apple keyboards, this does have a function row. I’d rather drop the dedicated Home key, or the dedicated key for Spotlight though. In return, give me a proper escape key. Yes iPadOS allows you to remap your keys so that Caps Lock (or some other keys) can become ESC, but I’d still rather have a proper ESC key.
The arrows, are terrible. Forget Home/End and give me a proper inverted T for the arrow keys. I regularly hit the wrong key here and hate it.
My biggest knock on the typing front is that the entire key surface is slightly recessed. This does provide a large flat surface on the top and bottom of the keyboard, which is the surface that contacts your iPad screen. It also means that you’re reaching slightly down to touch the keys. I found that I regularly had incorrect keyboard presses on the lower rows of keys. I have to be intentional about pressing them, or I don’t put enough force in to activate them.
On the battery front, it doesn’t report its level to iPadOS. This annoys me for any keyboard but way more in a keyboard that’s intended for use with an iPad. My Anne Pro 2 doesn’t report it’s battery level either, but it’s meant to be a desktop keyboard and most of those don’t report battery level to the OS.
Reporting battery level to your iPad should be a basic level of functionality for an iPad keyboard.
The manual says it lasts for 2 hours and sleeps after 10 minutes and takes a few hours to charge from dead via it’s Micro USB Cable. Yes, Micro USB sucks. Yes, this should be USB C.
In practice, the keyboard works all week and I plug it in for a few hours on Friday. Just like I do with all my wireless devices. It’s always had power when I want to use it so the battery seems fine to me.
One note in the manual is that the battery will last for 3 years. My iPad Pro is already coming up on 2 years old and I’ll probably pass it to my wife or one of my kids who will use it for another three to five years. That does mean that even if the case is in good shape I’ll have to get a new keyboard for it if we use the battery heavily. If it’s used lightly, we’ll probably get more than three years.
If you’re a heavy typist like I am, then I can’t recommend this case. While I’m generally able to adapt to a keyboard and type acceptably the recessed key surface causes far too many typing errors. I was never able to get used to it.
If a keyboard is simply nice to have with your iPad Pro, then this is a great case. My wife saw it and said she thought it was nice, and she doesn’t use the keyboard with her iPad much at all. I would give her this case without worrying she’d feel it was a bad option.
I also find plastic shell cases annoying because they make moving over to my Magnetic VESA stand hard, but I’m a nerd. I realize that most people purchase a case and then leave it. They don’t change to an ergonomic desk setup and three other cases that use magnets.
For those of you looking for a decent protection package for your iPad that has a keyboard with it, this is a decent keyboard and a very nice case. If ProCase offered a nicer keyboard, then I would have no reservations with this case.