Peripherals

A mechanical keyboard case for iPad Pro, at last

The Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case for iPad Pro 12.9 inch has enough space for your wrists to rest on but no touchpad.
The Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case for iPad Pro 12.9 inch has enough space for your wrists to rest on but no touchpad.PHOTO: RAZER

It's the first keyboard for a mobile device with low-profile mechanical switches, says Razer

I think Razer's CEO Tan Min Liang is a 12.9-inch iPad Pro user and became frustrated with Apple's Smart Keyboard Case.

So Razer engineers had to come up with a mechanical keyboard case to suit Mr Tan's taste. And thus, we have the Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case for iPad Pro 12.9 inch.

Considering that Razer products usually have fancy names like Deathstalker and Ouroboros, it is strange that this Razer keyboard case is named so literally.

The keyboard case comprises two parts - the keyboard and the case. The keyboard looks like one that had been yanked from a Razer Blade laptop. There is enough space for your wrists to rest on but no touchpad.

It is the world's first keyboard for a mobile device with low-profile mechanical switches, or so Razer claims. These key switches are said to deliver the same performance and feel as a full-fledged mechanical keyboard.

Each key is backlit, so you can type easily in the dark. You can also adjust the brightness of the backlight using two dedicated keys sited next to the screen brightness shortcut keys.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $249.90

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 970g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The keyboard connects to the iPad via Bluetooth, and not the Smart Connector. So it requires charging. With every full charge, the keyboard is supposed to last 10hr when used at full backlight brightness, and 600hr without backlight.

The keyboard really feels like a mechanical keyboard. I love the great tactile response and loud "clicky" sound. Key travel is superb for an iPad keyboard case.

But I hate the placement of the virtual keyboard key. It is sited next to the right-arrow key, at the bottom right of the keyboard. Muscle memory means I will naturally move my finger to the bottom right too, when pressing the right arrow key. So imagine my frustration when I see the virtual keyboard popping up on the iPad's screen instead of seeing the cursor move right.

The case fits the large iPad Pro snugly. In fact, the fit is really tight. I find it hard to remove the iPad Pro from the case.

The case protects almost the whole of the iPad Pro, except the top and bottom.

The keyboard has a metallic flap that attaches to the case, and you can close the case onto the keyboard - making the whole setup look like a laptop.

However, the metallic connection is not very strong. While this makes it easy to detach the case from the keyboard, you need to be careful not to drop the keyboard or the case with the iPad.

On the upside, the case has a built-in metal kickstand that you can adjust to any viewing angle - from flat to nearly 90 degrees. Most keyboard cases offer one or, at most, two viewing angles.

But that also means it takes up so much more desktop real estate than the Apple Smart Keyboard. This becomes an issue if you want to type on an airplane seat or on your lap. It does not pass my "lapability" test, unless I am typing with my legs outstretched on a sofa.

In addition, the keyboard case adds bulk and weight to your iPad Pro with its 0.9-inch-thick frame that weighs 970g.

•Verdict: If your one and only travelling work device is the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, this Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case is the perfect typing solution. That is, if you don't mind the additional bulk.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'A mechanical keyboard case for iPad Pro, at last'. Print Edition | Subscribe