Tablet

Smart folio-style keyboard that is also a workhorse

On a recent long-haul flight, I wanted to write my stories on my 12.9-inch iPad Pro using Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio ($299).

However, as the keyboard lacks backlighting, and with the cabin light switched off, I found it hard to type. I did not switch on my seat's lamp as everyone on the plane was asleep and the light might wake everybody up.

If only I had the Logitech Slim Folio Pro for iPad Pro, which not only has backlighting, but also comes with three levels of brightness.

I tested the version for the 12.9-inch, third-generation iPad Pro. This all-in-one folio-style keyboard case, which provides both front and back protection when you close the folio, is also available for the 11-inch iPad Pro.

Like Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio, the Slim Folio Pro is available only in dark grey. It does not use the iPad Pro's Smart Connector like Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio. Instead, it uses Bluetooth LE to connect to the tablet.

The iPad Pro fits into its back case, which is made of rubber and plastic. The corners and left side of the back case are lined with thick rubber.

On the right side is an opening that fits an Apple Pencil 2 stylus. The top and bottom of the back case are left open to accommodate the tablet's speakers and USB-C port.

  • FOR

    • Backlit keyboard

    • Tactile keys

    • Superb "lapability"

    • More affordable than Apple's offering

    • Long battery life


    AGAINST

    • Heavy, thick and bulky

    • Only one viewing angle for typing

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: $199

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 707.4g


    RATING

    FEATURE: 3.5/5

    DESIGN: 3.5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The Slim Folio Pro's front case has a keyboard on its inside and a USB-C port on its right side for charging. A magnetic latch keeps the folio case securely closed when not in use. The latch has a storage loop for a stylus.

Open the folio, pull up the back case to dock it on a magnetic strip just above the keyboard and you can start typing. The tablet rests at a fixed 55-degree angle, which is mostly optimal for typing.

Despite the "slim" in its name, the Slim Folio Pro is actually about 1cm thicker than the Smart Keyboard Folio and quite heavy at more than 700g.

But I can live with these downsides because of its superior keyboard.

I love that it has three levels of backlight brightness and that the keys are nicely spaced out and provide great key travel.

There is also the keys' tactile response, which makes typing more enjoyable - it is like typing on a real keyboard.

I found myself typing better and faster and with fewer mistakes than with Apple's offering. In fact, I typed this review using it.

On the top of the keyboard is a handy row of shortcut keys that let you access the Home screen, bring up the iOS search field, control the iPad's volume, adjust the keyboard's backlight brightness and see the keyboard's battery status (via a battery indicator at the top right of the keyboard).

The Slim Folio Pro also passes the "lapability" test with flying colours - I can type with ease and accuracy with it resting on my lap.

Battery life is rated at three months on a full charge if you use it for two hours a day.

After using it for around two weeks, the battery indicator is still showing green.

Not to mention, you can always use the tablet itself to charge the Slim Folio Pro using a USB-C-to-USB-C cable.

If your primary work on the iPad Pro involves a lot of typing, the Slim Pro Folio is a must-have.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2019, with the headline 'Smart folio-style keyboard that is also a workhorse'. Print Edition | Subscribe