Over the summer, we brought you a review of the Zagg Rugged Book Go, a protective case for your iPad Pro that also packs in a Bluetooth keyboard, allowing you to turn your iPad Pro into something approximating a laptop. Once Apple baked mouse/trackpad support into the iPad OS, we’ve seen a number of device embracing that. One I’ve been spending some time with is the Zagg Pro Keys.
As far as a protective case for the iPad Pro goes, this is one that will get the job done. You’ve got shell that goes around your iPad, which is then magnetically attached into the folio portion that contains the keyboard, as well as the trifold look we’re used to seeing on iPad covers. The trifold isn’t for covering the screen, though. This is on the back side of the case, and is used to adjust the angle the iPad is as compared to the keyboard. Most will have it kicked back at an angle, but you can also have it set at almost 90 degrees.
That means to cover the screen of your iPad, you’re closing the Zagg Pro Keys over the screen, which then sets the keyboard over your screen. They keyboard itself is relatively stiff, due to the battery being packed in there, so it does provide good protection to your screen. That said, it all makes for a bulky configuration, especially if you’re used to slipping your iPad into a narrow pocket in your bag. Still, it keeps it all covered and together, including a spot for your Apple Pencil. And don’t worry – it can still charge off of the iPad, even though it’s not directly touching the device.
How is typing on the Zagg Pro Keys? Frankly, very much like the Rugged Book Go. You’ve got a fairly flat chicklet-style keyboard, with minimal travel for the keys. You’ll also notice that the keyboard feels a little cramped, as it’s fitting itself to the real estate that the 10.2″ iPad allows. Still, as with any keyboard, you can relearn your touch typing, and be on your way.
With the trackpad included, you can keep typing away and interact with the screen without actually needing to touch the screen (you get a small, circular “cursor” showing up for where the pointer is). Should you be accidentally tracking or clicking with the pad, you can use the Fn key with the left arrow to lock/disable the trackpad, which some folks should find handy. With the Fn and arrow keys, you can also cycle through various colors of backlighting on the keys, as well as three different brightness levels (or turn the backlighting off).
On the F key row, you’ll notice that there are a bunch that are specifically built for your iPad usage, including locking the screen, hitting the “home” button (which the Pro doesn’t have) and App expose, among others. For myself, I’ve gotten way more used to using my Pro with the Apple pencil to write out my notes, so I’m seeing less of an appeal for a case like the Zagg Pro Keys. That’s just me – I’m sure there are plenty of folks who are looking at the iPad Pro as much lighter-weight laptop replacement, in which case the Zagg Pro Keys presents a solid (if bulky) alternative to the pricey OE option from Apple, particularly if you’re needing to type while on the go. The one we reviewed, for the 10.2″ iPad pro, runs $99; they do also have it for the 11″ Pro, which will run you $149. zagg.com
Details from Zagg
- Ultimate Productivity Accessory
- Transform your tablet into a lightweight, portable workstation so you can work from anywhere. We’ve optimized Pro Keys with accessories that enhance your tablet’s capabilities, making it truly user-friendly and efficient.
- Detachable Keyboard and Holder for Apple Pencil
- The keyboard and case detach to accommodate different uses and environments. The holder for Apple Pencil keeps it, or any other stylus, close at-hand for when inspiration strikes.
- Backlit, Laptop-style Keys
- Our new Pro keyframe design provides optimal key travel for clean, precise keystrokes and an easy, comfortable typing experience. The backlit keys, in seven different colors, make typing in low-light conditions easy.
- Reliable Protection, Lightweight Design
- The durable polycarbonate case has a rigid core, rubberized edges and button covers, and corner bumpers, all of which combine to provide 6.6 (2m) of drop protection. The lightweight design fits easily in your bag.
- Multi-Device Pairing
- The Pro Keys wireless keyboard pairs with two devices simultaneously, like a tablet and your phone, so you can toggle back and forth between them.
- Long-lasting Battery
- Type for up to a year before recharging the battery.* Keyboard automatically turns off when folded backwards against the tablet. The sleep/wake function helps preserve battery life when keyboard is not in use.
- *Based on regular use of one hour per day.