One of my main motivations for getting an iPad Pro was to write more. Last year, I tried to write with an iPad Mini and an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but that was a bulky, system that didn’t spark my creative outpouring.
The iPad Pro seemed to be targeted directly at me. I prefer writing on iOS, so the inclusion of a low-profile, portable keyboard was too good to pass up.
The Smart Keyboard
Having a keyboard always attached to my iPad is wonderful, but having it double as a Smart Cover is even better. I find myself writing just because the keyboard is there. Which is obviously why people love laptops. However, I’d argue iOS being streamlined and focus-oriented is making my writing habit easy to maintain.
It is worth noting that throughout the day, I type on an obnoxious mechanical keyboard, which I love. The Smart Keyboard couldn’t be further in ideology and form factor from my beloved mechanical behemoth. Does it stack up to my desktop giant? Is it worth the price? Find out below.
The first day that I had my Smart Keyboard, I could not figure out how to flip the thing open and closed. Every time I tried to use the keyboard, there was 30 seconds of flipping the case around. So discoverability of how to use this thing, gets a POOR grade.
Once I got used to the twists and turns, everything was fine. I know the precise dance to make this into a keyboard or just a stand.
In “keyboard mode,” the case has a relaxed stance that feels comfortable to look at and sturdy enough to type on. The “stand mode” sits closer to a 90° angle which isn’t ideal for anything really. It works, but I find myself just having the keyboard out even if I don’t need it.
The Smart Keyboard isn’t bulky which is nice when carry around. It stays in place and definitely works to protect the iPad’s screen.
They keys aren’t cramped, but I do find myself hitting the wrong keys, except for the arrow keys. Seriously, Apple, listen, your arrows keys suck. I fumble around all the time. They suck a lot. This isn’t localized to the Smart Keyboard because Apple thinks it’s good for all their keyboards to have impossible to use arrow keys. However, this is the only Apple keyboard I use, so I get to complain about it here.
I’d give the design of the Smart Keyboard an overall GOOD rating. It serves purpose and does what it’s designed to pretty well.
The Key Feel
Some background before I get into how this keyboard feels. I type on a big, beautiful, mechanical keyboard. I specifically sought out a mechanical keyboard because the way I type was causing some Repeated Stress Injury (RSI) concerns. I like to bang on the keys, which probably isn’t great. I also really love the tactile feel of a mechanical keyboard, which is sort of reoccurring motif in all of the products I use on a daily basis.
The Smart Keyboard is not anything close to a mechanical keyboard. Which, I realize, is a silly thing to say, but bear with me.
I can feel each rubber dome every time I depress a key. It’s something that I usually dislike on desktop keyboards, but here, I don’t hate it as much. I’ve sort of had to adapt my typing style, but it still makes for a decent experience.
Would I leave my CODE Keyboard for this? No, never. Am I surprised and how well the Smart Keyboard types after getting used to it? Yeah, color me lavender1. Over, I’d rate the key feel as SOLID.
I’d Probably Buy This Again
That doesn’t sound like a glowing recommendation, but seriously, this keyboard is rock solid for what it does. It mostly owns its compromises and flaws, and it makes the iPad usable as a laptop for me, which is exactly what I was looking for. The iPad + Smart Keyboard combo is definitely the star of the show for iPad accessories. If you want to get any work done on an iPad or even just write for a blog no one is going to read, grab the Smart Keyboard.
- Lavender is impressed. ↩