Video: Apple unveils new 10.5-inch iPad Pro
After purchasing my Apple iPad Pro 10.5 last summer, I tested the ZAGG Rugged Messenger keyboard and found it to be the best of all keyboards I tried. ZAGG recently released a new model, the ZAGG Slim Book that improves upon the Rugged Messenger and is now my preferred keyboard for optimal productivity.
Improvements in the ZAGG Slim Book include a hinge design that lets you rotate your iPad Pro 10.5 through 180 degrees from closed to completely flat open, a slimmer overall thickness of the keyboard case and iPad, and a spill-proof fabric exterior that looks great in the office while functioning perfectly in the field. In addition, there are four advertised operating modes for this keyboard, compared to two modes for the Rugged Messenger.
Slide your iPad Pro into the top case portion of the combo for protection around the edges and back of your iPad Pro. The spill-proof fabric is on the back and there is are ample openings for the camera and Lightning port. There are raised buttons for volume and power. This top cover is less substantial than the Rugged Messenger top and is not designed to provide any serious level of drop protection.
One of the best features of the ZAGG Slim Book combo is the Apple Pencil holder found along the top (in landscape) or right (in portrait). I hate that there is no way to conveniently carry the Apple Pencil with your iPad and this feature alone may make the ZAGG Slim Book worth it it to Apple iPad Pro 10.5 owners.
Given the new hinge design, you can remove your iPad Pro and the top cover from the keyboard base and then rotate it before reinserting it back into the keyboard hinge slot. You can now have the keyboard away from you and rotate the display to enjoy video content on your iPad Pro. This is similar to how the video mode on the Google Pixelbook works.
While still having your iPad Pro and top cover in this reverse video mode, rotate your iPad Pro down onto the keyboard and then you can hold up the entire assembly in portrait to read content on your iPad Pro.
The bottom piece is the keyboard and unlike the magnetic attachment on the Rugged Messenger, there is a long hinged slot at the top of the keyboard with two tabs extending up to help you align your iPad Pro 10.5. The back cover slides down and onto the two tabs while a strong magnet works to keep the top cover and your iPad Pro securely in place.
There is a microUSB port on the right side of the keyboard to charge it up, but you won't have to use it often. ZAGG states that a fully charged keyboard is rated to last for up to two years between charging.
The keyboard has the same design and layout as the Rugged Messenger. It is all black, compared to the gray and black color scheme of the Rugged Messenger.
There is a row of keys above the five typical keyboard rows that serve as the following shortcuts:
- Two Bluetooth keys to pair to multiple devices
- Launchpad to switch between apps
- Switch keyboard input language
- Keyboard hide/show
- Media control for back
- Media control for play/pause
- Media control for forward
- Volume down
- Volume up
- Keyboard power button
There are five rows of keys below this top line with a full number row, directional arrows, FN key, two CMD, Two Alt/Option, and two Shift keys. Use the FN and down arrow to toggle through three brightness levels. Use the FN and right arrow to toggle through seven keyboard backlight colors. The backlighting is more even and bright than what is present on the Logitech Slim Combo.
The keys are well spaced and have solid travel. The wrist support is long enough to be comfortable when used in a number of ways. The hinge design is great to move your iPad into any preferred angle. I did notice it can get a bit top heavy at higher angles to make sure the keyboard bottom piece is on a secure foundation.
Daily usage experiences
The ZAGG Slim Book matches the premium design of the Apple iPad Pro and looks even better in an enterprise environment than the Rugged Messenger keyboard solution. I was able to enter text quickly with the keyboard and never had to worry about connecting the iPad and keyboard after the initial Bluetooth connection.
The ZAGG Slim Book is priced at $119.99, which is very reasonable when compared to the Apple keyboard solutions. I have tested all multiple keyboards and prefer the ZAGG design and capability. The ZAGG Slim Book weighs in at 1.53 pounds.
The Apple Pencil holder, ability to rotate through 180 degrees, backlighting options, attractive fabric outer shell design, and excellent use on your lap make the ZAGG Slim Book my new favorite keyboard for the Apple iPad Pro 10.5.
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