The iPad has shifted from being a content consumption device, when it was introduced in 2010, to a potential replacement for a laptop in some use-cases. And while it's not going to be able to replace every traveller's needs, it can suffice in many situations. But for that to happen, an external keyboard is essential. There are a few options but if you're looking for something that uses the Smart Connector then there aren't too many options around. One is the Logitech Slim Combo. Here's what I found after a couple of weeks of testing.
What Is It?
The Logitech Slim Combo is a two-piece case with one part snapping onto the back of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro I tested it with and a keyboard section that connects via the magnetic Smart Connector. That's a set of three contacts that provide data and power to the keyboard. That means there no need to worry about charging as the keyboard is fed from the iPad's battery.
|Dimensions||258mm x 184mm x 27mm|
|Power supply and connectivity||Via Apple Smart Connector - no batteries or charging accessories required|
One of my biggest hates of Apple Smart Keyboard is that it lacks a convenient tool for storing the Apple Pencil with the iPad. That means I either forget it on my desk or waste time searching for it in my satchel when it inevitably falls out of a pen slot or I drop it in when I'm hurrying. Logitech have solved that with an sleeve the Apple Pencil neatly and securely slips into.
Although the Slim Case adds a few millimetres to each side of the iPad Pro, increasing the dimensions to 258 x 184mm from the iPad Pro's usual 251 x 174mm it doesn't make much practical difference when using the iPad Pro. But you will notice the extra 528g when carrying the device around, which more than doubles the iPad Pro's weight. But that extra heft adds some solid protection to the tablet.
The back of the main case has a kickstand that allows you to adjust the angle of the display within a 50 degrees range of between 20 and 70 degrees.
The keyboard is comfortable to use but, like any other small keyboard there are some compromises. Logitech has added a row of shortcut keys to the top of the Slim Combo which are very handy. My only hassle was that the Lock button, which powers the iPad off, is in the top right corner of the keyboard and I'm used to that being where the Delete key is placed. But that's a small issue. The keyboard was comfortable to use.
It's also backlit so I can use it when in darkened places such as plane cabins.
I have one big problem with the Logitech Slim Combo. When the keyboard is attached, there's no way to fold it behind the display. The connection that links the keyboard to the iPad Pro is so short that the keyboard disconnects when I pull it around. If I want to use the iPad Pro as a tablet, I need to either leave the keyboard behind of find somewhere to put it.
I assume that was a deliberate design decision. In my view, it was a pretty bad call as it makes the product harder to use.
Should You Buy It
All iPad Pro keyboards are going to be judged against Apple's "default" accessory - the Smart Keyboard.
Logitech's Slim Combo offers a superior keyboard to type on, backlighting and shortcut keys. The case also offers a level of protection Apple's option doesn't get anywhere near. The mart Keyboard I have is already wearing with the soft covering thinning on the corners, exposing the inner body.
But the inability to simply fold the keyboard to the back so it can be used as a tablet is a big hassle in my view.
If that's not a problem for you, then the $199.95 asking price, which is $35 cheaper than the Apple Smart Keyboard, is a lower cost option that adds a number of great features. However, there are some less expensive options if for this device if you shop around