My two month review of the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro 11-inch. Unfortunately, due to COVID, my business and personal travel plans have been canceled making it hard truly test how well it is to use away from home. I will however do my best to address if it’s worth the $300- $350 price tag, if it works well as a laptop replacement, and if it improves the overall experience of using your iPad as a computer.
This is specifically the 11-inch model and I’ve had this for about a month. Unfortunately, all of my business and personal travel plans have been cancelled due to COVID and for the most part, I have used this indoors. The whole point of this type of setup is to take it out and about but I’ve been pretty much limited to using this from one room to another.
Right when I first got this and was holding the box, I could already tell that it was going to be heavy and there is a very noticeable difference between this and the folio keyboard
They keyboard weighs at 601 grams – about the same weight as the iPad Pro itself which makes sense for this type of design to act as the counterbalance to the tablet.
Weight of the keyboard stops becoming an issue. You get used to it after carrying it around for a few minutes
Keep in mind that this keyboard might not fit the tablet pockets on some backpacks because it does increase the width a little bit. Some tablet pockets are made for the exact size of the 10.5 – 11-inch iPad. If it will fit with your old folio, it might not fit with the new magic keyboard!
Because of the weight, the keyboard feels solid and very well built. I really like how the keys feel in comparison to the folio keyboard. No more of that mushy butterfly bull crap but more of an actual real mechanical keyboard. As some reviewers have pointed out, the typing experience is similar to the keyboards found on the newer MacBooks.
I don’t really mind the absence of the function keys because I’ve gotten used all the shortcuts the iPad has had over the years but the design placement of that top row is too close to the bottom edge of the iPad. I think it will bother those with larger hands and people who move their hands up and down a lot when they type.
Also, the Backlit keys are definitely a welcome addition
Using on the lap still isn’t as good as a laptop but it’s much less awkward to use than the keyboard folio
The viewing angle is MUCH MUCH better than the one on the folio. Night and day
I thought the trackpad would be annoyingly thin, but it’s not so bad and it is very responsive. I think I am more impressed with the trackpad than they keys on the keyboard. Gesture experience (Swiping, scrolling, etc) is similar to the MacBooks
So again, I’ve used this for about a month and some people may be wondering – is this a computer and if it could replace a laptop. Short answer is yes to both.
But is it better than the actual laptop / desktop computer experience? Now that depends on your own personal use cases.
If the iPad Pro was my main device and if I were to use this very often I most probably say this would be the way to go.
But the thing is, it’s not. Even with the release of the new iPad OS 14, it’s still not a desktop like experience. I don’t want to get into the details of the Operating System limitations but my workflow consists of working on multiple spreadsheets, side by side and juggling that data in between other applications. I mean it IS possible to do that on the iPad and obviously the new Magic Keyboard does improve the typing experience but it really doesn’t add anything new to the usage experience that we didn’t already have… at least not anyway. Sure you have the trackpad which is nice… but after using the touch screen alone on the iPad for so long, I don’t use the mouse capabilities as often as I thought I would over the past few months. I honestly tried real hard to make this my only device but if I had another tool readily available such as my MacBook Pro that does a better job for making my money, then I would obviously use that.
But make no mistake, the iPad itself is an excellent compliment to a Mac and even a Windows device and can handle a majority of everyday tasks. A lot of us work within a browser using cloud based services and the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard is very capable of doing all that.
So the big question… is this worth $300 – $350?
If your work is mostly done on a desktop or a MacBook because of your workflow and application needs, then $300 is way too much to pay for a websurfing media viewing device where you end up just popping off the keyboard anyway.
If you need a keyboard to just type on occasion or do minor work, the keyboard folio paired with a bluetooth mouse or simply using the touchscreen is more than fine. If budget is no issue… then I would absolutely say go for it.
This is as close to a viable MacBook touch screen experience as it gets.