Community Reviews Team Leader
- Nov 12, 2012
Apple recently revamped their entry level iPad with a newer processor and a slightly better screen and some camera improvements, making their cheapest iPad even more compelling (upping the starting storage capacity to 64 GB, while still almost unacceptably small, was a welcome improvement as well). As capable as the iPad 9th Generation is, if you need to be even a little productive on it, you should really consider a keyboard case for it like the Logitech Combo Touch case.
When Apple first launched the iPad Pro several years ago, it debuted the Smart Keyboard accessory along with it. This magnetically attachable keyboard case completely changed the way people could use their iPad and brought it much more in line with Apple’s vision for people using their iPad to replace their laptop. For me at least, it made me infinitely more productive on my iPad than I had been able to be without it and I really enjoyed using it. There were certainly some limitations with it but it was arguably one of the most important accessories Apple has made for their products in a long time.
Fast forward a few years to when Apple launched the redesigned iPad Pro with the new Magic Keyboard that included a touch pad that enabled mouse support and a “floating” cantilevered design that took the iPad’s usability to another level. As great as both of these accessories are, they still had many limitations, most notably that they have very limited angles of movement for the iPad.
One of the most compelling competitors to the iPad Pro is Microsoft’s Surface Pro device. Software differences aside (that’s an article for another day), the biggest differentiator between the two is the Surface Pro’s hardware. Its unique hinge lets it sit at almost any angle between 0 and 180 degrees, and the magnetically attachable keyboard is very convenient and just a solid keyboard in its own right.
In that light, the biggest compliment I can give to Logitech’s Combo Touch Keyboard Case is that it basically turns it into a Surface Device. The wraparound case for the iPad itself has a hinge on the back that allows it to sit anywhere between 20 and 60 degrees (still not nearly as flexible as the Surface but much better than Apple’s own cases). The keyboard snaps onto the case and has a decently big trackpad for such a small keyboard.
Before I get into the keyboard, I want to make note of the hinge. It’s quite sturdy and I never felt it slip or get loose at all. It is easy to adjust and stays just where you put it without having to fiddle with it at all to find the spot you need. I don’t know what magic they pulled here to figure this out but it’s pretty great.
I was particularly impressed with the keyboard itself. It’s definitely the star of the show here. We all know that Logitech makes great keyboards, but this one is impressive for how good it is for being such a small, portable keyboard. It attaches directly to the smart connector on the iPad and is instantly paired and ready to go, no extra steps required.
The key travel is wonderful and very solid for such a small device. I’m a mechanical keyboard guy at heart and I was quite satisfied with the typing experience on this keyboard. I can type quickly and accurately and have no problem at all using this keyboard for longer form content (like this review) and other articles as well. The limiting nature of iPadOS still prevents me from using the iPad as my main computer, but it’s great to know that I can take it out for the day and use it in a pinch without any problems.
What’s even more impressive is that they’ve included a full function row of keys at the top of the keyboard, with some extremely useful keys on there as well. There’s brightness keys, a key to bring up the software keyboard if you ever need it, a key to toggle Siri search, backlight keys, media keys (back, play/pause, and forward) and volume keys. They’ve even included a key to instantly lock the iPad and a home key (there’s also a dedicated emoji key if you’re into that. Personally, I find emojis about as useless as a screen door on a submarine but that’s just me). The only omission I can find is any sort of dedicated escape key. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.
Oh, and the entire keyboard is backlit. Quite impressive for a keyboard this small. It’s not the brightest I’ve ever seen but it’s plenty bright enough to use in darker environments. And it doesn’t really seem to have any adverse effects on battery life. The iPad already has fantastic battery life so it’s hard to tell if the backlight has an impact but I wouldn't worry about it at all.
And they’ve managed to add all this extra functionality without the keyboard feeling cramped at all. Now, full disclosure, I have smaller-ish hands so if you have bigger hands, you might find it a tad cramped but hopefully not.
The trackpad experience is also quite impressive. It was always extremely responsive for me and provides great click responsiveness and the touch sensitivity is good too. Again, the only limiting factor here is the mouse experience on iPadOS so no fault of Logitech here. Once Apple finally gets the software side of things figured out, this will be a fantastic touchpad to use with your iPad.
One other nice feature about the case is that it includes a holder for the Apple Pencil. I personally don’t use the Pencil very often but it’s great to always have it on hand when I do use it.
If there is a downside to this case at all, it’s that it adds some bulk and weight to the iPad. Personally, it doesn’t bother me one bit because it keeps the device very well protected even without the keyboard attached and it’s still extremely portable with the case on. It’s also very simple to pop the iPad in and out of the case if you don’t want to use it so I wouldn’t let that be a problem.
If you can’t tell by now, I’m a huge fan of this case. My wife and I both find it to be quite useful for whatever we need to use the iPad for. It maintains the device’s intended portability while significantly improving its productivity. It’s certainly a bit pricey, but it’s actually cheaper than Apple’s Smart Keyboard and it adds a whole lot more functionality so there’s really no reason to not pick one up. Grab yours here and you won’t be disappointed.