Apple made its first iPad keyboard ever for the iPad Pro, and it looks to be a good one. The new Smart Connector eliminates the need to use Bluetooth with keyboards, and that means no battery charging for them. Logitech worked closely with Apple to implement the new keyboard technology in the Logi CREATE Keyboard, and it works well.
The CREATE is a keyboard case that protects the expensive iPad Pro in transport and opens into a clamshell form for using the big tablet like a laptop. Open it up and set the iPad Pro in a narrow slot containing the three Smart Connector buttons and the keyboard is connected to the slate.
The viewing angle in this slot is optimized for typing, and the iPad Pro can be set nearly flat for viewing video and using the iPad without the keyboard. In this secondary position the keyboard is not accessible as there is no Smart Connector.
The iPad Pro snaps easily into the lid of the CREATE Keyboard case much like keyboards for smaller iPads. It features smart cover technology so the iPad Pro turns on and off when the case is opened and closed. It takes two hands to open the lid and place it into the slot for typing, due to the size of the iPad Pro.
The keyboard is as good as most laptops. The CREATE Keyboard has physical keys that provide good feedback when pressed. The advantage of the larger iPad when used with a keyboard is that the latter can be full sized, and that's the case with the CREATE. After using it for a short while I was typing as fast on this keyboard as I can on my laptops. It is very good for rapidly typing heavy volumes of text.
The Logi CREATE Keyboard Case has two welcome features, the first being backlit keys. They are as bright as those on the MacBook, and intelligently designed. The backlighting turns off unless you are actively typing to save the iPad Pro battery. The second nice feature of the Logi CREATE is the design of the keyboard, which has the keys sunken below the level of the area surrounding the keys. This forms a small palm rest in front of the keys that makes typing for long periods very comfortable.
Logi CREATE Keyboard Case for iPad Pro (hands on): Laptop quality
As mentioned, the Smart Connector technology has the keyboard directly connecting to the iPad Pro. There is no battery in the CREATE Keyboard so no remembering to charge it before trips. Simply put the iPad Pro in the case and get busy.
Logitech told me that it worked closely with Apple to ensure the technology functions properly, and this has been my experience using the CREATE keyboard. Eliminating Bluetooth from the connection aside, having a physical connection eliminates any lag as is common with Bluetooth keyboards. The CREATE is instantly recognized once connected.
The Logi CREATE Keyboard Case is a quality accessory that leverages the iPad Pro to full advantage. It adds little bulk and weight to the big iPad, while turning it into a laptop replacement. I haven't received the Smart Keyboard from Apple to do a direct comparison, but early reviews consistently find the CREATE to be better than the Apple model.
Laptop quality keyboard
Smart Connector technology
Reviewer's rating: 9.2 out of 10
That makes the Logi CREATE Keyboard Case a better value than the Apple keyboard as at $149.99 the CREATE is cheaper than the $169 keyboard from Apple.