Keyboard case transforms iPad Pro into laptop alternative

Unlike Apple's Smart Keyboard, the Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case has backlit keys allowing you to work in low-light conditions.
Unlike Apple's Smart Keyboard, the Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case has backlit keys allowing you to work in low-light conditions.PHOTO: LOGITECH

If you are not satisfied with Apple's Smart Keyboard Case for your 9.7- inch iPad Pro, take a look at the Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case.

It is a folio case that offers all- round protection for your iPad Pro when closed, whereas the Smart Keyboard leaves the iPad's rear unprotected. And like Apple's keyboard, it transforms your 9.7-inch iPad Pro into a laptop replacement.

Available in blue or black (version reviewed), the Create has a fabric- like exterior that is resistant to bumps, scratches and spills. The texture also makes it less susceptible to slipping from your hands.

The keyboard lies on the inside of the Create's front cover. On top of the keyboard is a thin magnetic strip with Apple's Smart Connector. Using the Smart Connector means no Bluetooth pairing or charging is required. All you need to do is lift up the iPad, dock it on the strip and start typing.

Unlike Apple's Smart Keyboard, the Create has backlit keys that allow you to work during those long- haul flights in darkened cabins.

The mechanical scissor keys offer a very nice tactile response with minimal key travel. It feels like I am typing on a normal keyboard, despite the smaller surface area.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $219

    CONNECTIVITY: Apple Smart Connector

    WEIGHT: 426g

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The Create's keyboard also has an extra row of keys for adjusting screen brightness, keyboard backlight brightness, volume and music playback.

I can also type easily even when the Create is resting on my lap, so it easily passes my "lapability" test.

I often do not know where to put my Apple Pencil - Apple's stylus. So, I was thankful that the Create has an integrated holder for it. Now, I can be sure where to find the Apple Pencil when I need it, instead of searching in my backpack for it.

On the downside, the Create will add some bulk to the sleek iPad Pro. It makes your iPad much thicker at 23mm, which is a pretty hefty increase from its 6.1mm-thin frame.

Thankfully, unlike with the larger Create for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, I find that this Create makes inserting and removing the 9.7-inch iPad Pro much easier. This is great when you want to remove the iPad Pro from the case to read an e-book, to avoid being encumbered with the case.

The combined weight of the Create and the iPad Pro is only 870g. This makes it a laptop replacement that is lighter than even an Apple MacBook.

However, unlike the MacBook, you can type at only one angle - around 55 degrees - with the Create. The viewing angle is rather pleasant though, and I was able to type without any issues on a long-haul flight and without experiencing much neck ache. That said, it would have been better to be able to adjust the viewing angle to your liking.

You can also lay the iPad almost flat on the keyboard - at an eight-degree angle - for drawing with the Apple Pencil.

Trevor Tan

  • Verdict: The Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case for iPad Pro (9.7-inch) is probably the best keyboard case currently, if you want to make your iPad a laptop replacement.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'Keyboard case transforms iPad Pro into laptop alternative'. Print Edition | Subscribe