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Why Logitech's US$150 iPad Pro keypad is better than Apple's US$169 Smart Keyboard

James A. Martin | Dec. 11, 2015
Apple's Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro is light, versatile and splash-resistant, but it lacks key features, and it's no match for Logitech's more affordable Create keypad.

apple smart keyboard ipad pro
Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Lam

If you bought or plan to buy an iPad Pro ($799 and up), you likely want a keyboard. The obvious choices are Apple's Smart Keyboard ($169) and Logitech's Create ($150), both of which draw power from the Apple tablet's "smart connector" so they don't need to be recharged separately.

I reviewed the Logitech keyboard last month, but after using it side by side with the official Apple iPad Pro keypad, I came up with a few things Apple's Smart Keyboard does better than Logitech's option, as well as a number of ways it lags behind.

Pros and Cons of Apple's Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro

Pro: It's lightweight

At 11.84 ounces, the Apple Smart Keyboard is noticeably thinner and lighter than Logitech's Create, which weighs 25.6 ounces.

Pro: It's versatile

Unlike Create, Apple's Smart Keyboard can be folded back and used as a stand for viewing video.

Pro: It's splash-proof

Apple says the Smart Keyboard is coated in a "water- and stain-resistant finish" to minimize stains and damage from spills, though I didn't test that claim. The Logitech keyboard only has "water repellent fabric on the outside."

Con: It doesn't have backlighting

For me, this is almost a deal killer. I often work in dimly-lit conditions, when I'm on an airplane at night or in my own living room with the TV on. Without backlit keys, I'm reduced at times to hunting-and-pecking. Logitech's Create has backlit keys with adjustable brightness levels.

Con: Its keys are loud

Typing on the Smart Keyboard is noisy, especially if you're in a quiet environment, such as a doctor's waiting room. The Create keyboard is much quieter.

Con: It doesn't have dedicated function keys

Create has a row of dedicated keys that let you adjust screen brightness, volume, and more. The Apple keyboard does not.

Con: It only comes in one (boring) color

The Apple Smart Keyboard comes in just one color: charcoal gray. The Logitech keyboard is available in five colors, including navy, and deep purple (my favorites) and red with a gold-accented keyboard (my least favorite).

Con: It doesn't protect iPad Pro's rear side

The Create keyboard fully protects the iPad Pro's screen and back panel. Apple's keyboard is similar to the company's Smart Cover for iPad, with a keyboard attached, and it only protects the screen.

Con: There's no place to store Apple Pencil

Apple's keyboard does not include any way to secure the Apple Pencil. The company probably didn't want to completely copy Microsoft's Surface tablet by adding a fabric loop to its keyboard to hold the stylus. But some such accommodation would have been appreciated. (The Create keyboard does not stow the stylus, either.)

 

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