To start with, I’m writing this review on the new Logitech CREATE Keyboard Case on my iPad Pro. If I wasn’t, it would be a very bad sign. So you can assume the keyboard must at least be pleasant enough to use that it’s not stopping me from writing a medium length document on it. So that’s good.
As you can see from the photo above, the iPad Pro looks like a monster compared to an iPad Air 2, and the Logitech CREATE keyboard is signifigantly larger than the Clamcase holding the Air. This larger size alone makes all the difference in the world, and Logitech made the most of it.
CREATE Keyboard Case Overview
The new Apple iPad Pro is so hot right now that its almost impossible to get your hands on one! Apple is facing real challenges meeting supply, but not nearly as bad as just trying to supply their own Apple Keyboards and Pencils. In other words, you might be able to get an iPad Pro. But you definitely can’t get the accessories.
Naturally, this means many people are searching for a good alternative, and Logitech has stepped up with a combination case + keyboard that fits the bill nicely.
Switching gears, lets take a look at some details by jumping right in with the biggest design difference the iPad Pro offers. The new Pro was designed with special keyboard connectors built right into the side of the device that allow it to pass power and data through to a keyboard, eliminating the need to pair via bluetooth and keep the keyboard charged seperately.
One shortcoming in my opinion is that the iPad Pro only contains these connectors on the horizontal edge, with none on the vertical edge. Meaning you can only use your keyboard with the iPad laying on its side. Bluetooth keyboards, by comparison, are not dependent on the orientation of the tablet, and with a screen as large as the iPad Pro it would have been useful to be able to use the device in portrait mode to essentially see a full sized piece of digital paper while working.
But I digress… the Logitech CREATE keyboard does indeed contain the appropriate iPad connectors to provide power and data transfer, so you can check that box.
In addition to the keyboard, the CREATE also has a built in case for the iPad Pro, meaning this is an all-in-one unit and doesn’t require you to purchase multiple pieces to surround and protect your iPad the way Apple does.
CREATE Keyboard Case Pros
There are a lot of things to like about the Logitech offering.
- The Price – Yes, its gonna run you $150 unless you can catch it on sale. But the Apple keyboard alone is $170! And when you add on the Apple case for another $80 you’ve spend a whopping $250 on a freaking keyboard! So saving at least $100 is a good plan, assuming the functionality is there (and it is).
- The Backlighting – There are a lot of things that we take for granted until we need them. Like hair. And keyboard backlighting. But suffice it to say the CREATE keyboard is as easy to use in the dark as it is in the daylight.
- The Feel – The keys have a similar feel to the Apple wireless keyboard, but require slightly less pressure. All in all, it makes for a smooth and efficient typing experience.
- The Size – Because of the size of the iPad Pro screen, there’s plenty of room for the keyboard. In fact, if you’re used to an Apple wireless keyboard there will be almost no learning curve as the keys are essentially identical in size, spacing and layout. I’m talking everything from the shift keys, to the enter key, number keys, and even the special keys such as Play, Volume and Screen Brightness.
- The Weight – This case / keyboard combo weighs in at just under 26 ounces. Again, compared to the Apple products, whose keyboard alone weighs 24 ounces before tacking on the 12 ounce silicon cover, the Logitech option saves you about 2/3rds of a pound.
- The Look – Granted, this one is going to be a personal preference issue, but the rigid nylon covering not only provides for excellent grip, but it looks like a professional piece of kit if you intend to carry the iPad Pro around and use it in work situations. Of course, you could opt for a color other than black, if you are more interested in making a style statement.
CREATE Keyboard Case Cons
As with anything, you have to take the good with the bad, and there are a couple of things that are less than optimal.
- The Buttons – The CREATE case offers the iPad protection for the power and volume buttons by covering them up and providing rubber buttons that you press to activate the device underneath. Unfortunately, the rubber is so hard, it basically takes two hands to manually adjust any of them. You’ll definitely be glad the keyboard has volume controls built in. Oh, and the little white plastic lining in the keys began coming out within days…
- The Plastic – The nice thing about the keyboard construction is that they kept the weight down. The bad news is that when you pick up the iPad Pro by the edge of the keyboard it flexes enough to make you worry that you’re about to break it in half. In fact, I’m almost certain that you could indeed break it this way. Which also means the first time you drop it on the keyboard, you’ll probably sacrifice it. But hey, hopefully it will protect that big expensive screen. One other minor annoyance – the edge of the iPad dragging against the keyboard leaves marks all over it.
- The Angles – Although the upright screen position is pretty much perfect, the second position for the screen involves lifting it off the keyboard contact points and laying it flat over the keyboard. In this position the way the cover folds and flexes makes it just feek a bit weird. When its brand new out of the box, no problem. But after its been opened and closed a few times and loosens up it gets a little sloppy feeling.
Final Thoughts on the Logitech CREATE Keyboard Case for iPad Pro
First of all, its too early to compare how this keyboard case combo compares to anything else. There simply hasn’t been enough time or availability to try several competing units. But the good news is, if treated gently, the Logitech CREATE Keyboard Case should provide years of good use.
I found it pleasing to type with, I appreciate the fact that it adds the minimal weight to a tablet whose primary benefit is portability, and I like the look and feel of it when carrying it around.
Only time will tell whether it stands up to the rigors of daily use and travel, but for anyone looking to put a cover on their expensive iPad Pro RIGHT NOW, the Logitech CREATE will get the job done with no regrets.
Oh… and for anyone wondering about the experience of actually using the iPad Pro to write this article, or generally do any similar sort of work instead of using a traditional laptop, let me just say – it’s Ok. A traditional OS still has several advantages over iOS, but there are some things about using an iPad for web authoring that are pretty cool. For example, being able to take photos and then launch the WordPress app and instantly upload them to share with comments.
But we’ll cover more of that when I put out a complete review of the iPad Pro.