Smart Key­board

Edg­ing your iPad to­wards true MacBook re­place­ment ter­ri­tory

Mac Format - - RATED - £139 Man­u­fac­turer Ap­ple, ap­ple.com Di­men­sions 30.6x2.3x0.7cm Weight 335g Con­nec­tiv­ity Smart Con­nec­tor

Ap­ple hasn’t made an of­fi­cial key­board since the first iPad, leav­ing it to third-par­ties to do so for its smaller tablets, and there are many good buys. The iPad Pro, by Ap­ple’s own ad­mis­sion, sets out a clear vi­sion for how the com­pany sees the fu­ture of com­put­ing, and as a tablet/lap­top hy­brid the need for a phys­i­cal key­board has never been more press­ing. When you see the iPad Pro docked in the Smart Key­board you be­gin to understand that this is an iPad with se­ri­ous com­put­ing po­ten­tial, and we doubt any other man­u­fac­turer could make a key­board case that’s so in keep­ing with the style of the iPad Pro. It fits per­fectly with Ap­ple’s Sil­i­cone Case, which pro­tects the back of the iPad, but there’s an odd gully on the front when the Smart Key­board is closed as a screen cover, which is rather un­gainly and smacks of com­pro­mise.

How­ever, you wouldn’t buy this to keep it closed; it’s sup­posed to spend most of its ac­tive life in the typ­ing or ‘me­dia’ po­si­tions, and we’re pleased to say it snaps into place eas­ily and feels very sturdy in ei­ther con­fig­u­ra­tion. Yet it’s not for laps in typ­ing mode as you’ll find it tends to bend in to­wards the fold at the back of the key­board. The feel of the keys take a lit­tle get­ting used to, but is com­fort­able for longer pe­ri­ods, and their short travel is sim­i­lar to the MacBook. The omis­sion of a top row of me­dia keys, offering sys­tem-wide shortcuts for vol­ume and bright­ness con­trols, as well as play/pause and a Home but­ton, may grate, since you’ll have to reach up to the iPad’s screen to make those tweaks. Chris­tian Hall

The iPad just got its big­gest ever on-screen key­board, so why buy a phys­i­cal one as well?

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