Logitech Slim Combo for Apple iPad 10.5 hands-on: Not very slim, but great for productivity

It is common to pair an iPad with a keyboard to get work done on the go, and Logitech is one of the key brands that works directly with Apple to develop its keyboards. The new Slim Combo is a solid option to Apple's Smart Keyboard.

I've been using my new iPad Pro 10.5 for a couple of weeks, and thanks to a couple keyboards, it is serving as my daily commuter platform to get work done.

The Apple Smart Keyboard was available at the Apple Store when I bought my 10.5-inch iPad Pro, so I bought one to try and also compare to other keyboard options. Logitech sent along a black Slim Combo that also is sold in Apple stores and on the Apple Store website.

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Logitech is well known for its keyboards, and I have been using them on various mobile devices for many years. The Logitech Slim Combo for the iPad Pro is designed to work in four ways Typing in standard landscape orientation with the keyboard attached, viewing without the keyboard attached and the hinge down at a flatter angle, FaceTime calling with the keyboard removed and the iPad propped up in portrait orientation, and reading with just the iPad in your hand inside the upper part of the case. Reading could also be expanded to drawing, too, since this case comes with an integrated sleeve for the Apple Pencil -- something that is sorely missing on the Apple Smart Keyboard.

Top piece of the Slim Combo

The Slim Combo is a two-piece solution. The upper portion houses your iPad Pro and securely holds it after you snap in your iPad. There are large openings in the frame piece on the right side (in landscape orientation) for the dual speakers and Lightning port. The bottom is also mostly open since that is the area that connects to the Apple Smart Connector.

There are openings on the back left side for the speakers, headphone jack, microphones, camera, and flash. Raised buttons for volume and power are also present.

An Apple Pencil sleeve is positioned along the top (in landscape orientation) that covers about 50 percent of your Apple Pencil to keep it securely in place. I find myself using the Logitech Slim Combo more than the Apple Smart Keyboard on my daily commute due in large part to having a place to store the Apple Pencil. This is important for the road warrior carrying everything along with the iPad and one reason the Logitech Slim Combo is a good option.

There is also a large flap on the back with two hinges. You are able to extend this flap to prop up your iPad back about 50 degrees and then down to nearly flat. The hinges are stiff and once you move the flap into position everything stays exactly where you placed it. It's a great hinge design and has satisfied all of the angles I desire for use.

Bottom piece of the Slim Combo

The bottom piece is the keyboard itself. It attaches via the Apple Smart Connector and is fully powered by your iPad. This includes providing the backlight and making the pairing of the keyboard possible. Apple reports that the keyboard uses around 0.4 to 2.3 percent of iPad battery for an hour of typing.

There are 14 keys on the top row of the keyboard that serve as the following shortcuts:

  1. Go to the Home screen
  2. Adjust screen brightness
  3. Adjust screen brightness down
  4. Bring up iOS search field
  5. Switch keyboard input language
  6. Adjust brightness of keyboard backlighting down
  7. Adjust brightness of keyboard backlighting up
  8. Media control for back
  9. Media control for play/pause
  10. Media control for forward
  11. Mute
  12. Volume up
  13. Volume down
  14. Locks iPad Pro screen

There are five rows of keys below this top line with a full number row, directional arrows, two CMD, Option, and Shift keys. Keyboard spacing is good and the travel is excellent, so I don't feel I am compromising on performance. I don't feel cramped by the keyboard, even though I have mid-size hands.

The Logitech Slim Combo keyboard has a 19mm key pitch and 1.5mm key travel with scissor key mechanism. There is an ample palm rest too with the 12.9 inch palm rest having a foldable design.

There are three levels of backlighting, so you can use the keyboard in any lighting condition. The bottom of the keyboard is textured so that it doesn't slide around and is easy to hold onto when the package is closed up.

Daily usage experiences

I was quite excited to try out this keyboard solution, and for the most part, it is very functional and improves my productivity. However, I think the name is misleading since the Logitech Slim Combo is anything but slim. The cellular iPad Pro I own weighs in at 1.05 pounds, while the Slim Combo is 1.16 pounds. The weight doesn't even bother me, though. It is the thickness of the combo that disappoints me.

With slim elegance, the Apple Smart Keyboard is what you want to carry for a minimalist solution. While I like the additional features of the Logitech Slim Combo, it is 1.06 inches in thickness when the top is closed down on the keyboard. The iPad Pro 10.5 is just 0.24 inches thick, so you can see this is not a very slim package.

I can understand the bottom portion with the keyboard being a bit thick in order to support the travel of the keys and backlighting while also having a bit of an angle for easier typing. However, the top has a deep frame around the iPad that seems unnecessary and the complete combination package just feels too thick for an elegant Apple solution. Maybe there are reasons for this, but I think Logitech can do better at making a slimmer combination in the future. Or maybe Logitech just needs to rename the keyboard solution.

The 360-degree protection is provided by the Logitech Slim Combo, so I did feel that my iPad was very well protected when traveling in my bag during my daily commute.

My iPad Pro turned on every time I popped open the keyboard. The keyboard connected every single time. The hinge worked well at propping up the iPad. And I was able to enter text at a fast rate. The Apple keyboard shortcuts are supported by the keyboard, so you can always simply press and hold the CMD button to view the available shortcuts in each app you use on your iPad.

The Logitech Slim Combo comes in black or blue and is available for purchase in Apple retail stores, Apple.com, and Logitech.com. The suggested retail price for the Slim Combo for 10.5-inch iPad Pro is $129.99. You can also find the combo for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro at $149.99.

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