The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is officially my primary computing device.
For the past five months, I’ve used it for everything from browsing the web and watching YouTube videos at night, to researching and writing stories for Cult of Mac during the day. I can’t remember the last time I turned on my PC — it’s been a long time.
I wouldn’t have been able to use the iPad Pro for all of this without a great physical keyboard. I’ve tried a bunch of them. And for the past two months or so, I’ve been using Zagg’s excellent Slim Book.
Here’s why it’s my favorite keyboard case for iPad.
My history with iPad keyboards
I’ve used and reviewed many iPad keyboards over the years, but I didn’t start using one seriously until I made the iPad Pro my primary machine. It was then that I realized it’s really difficult to find a good keyboard for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
I had always liked Apple’s Smart Keyboard, so I picked up one of those on the same day I got my iPad. It was great for a while, and unlike a lot of people, I really enjoyed typing on its butterfly keys. However, it wasn’t long before I started to miss function keys. I also worried that the Smart Keyboard offered no protection for my iPad when I was on the go.
I had heard great things about Razer’s iPad Pro keyboard, but that’s only available for the 12.9-inch model. After reading Lewis’ review, I picked up the Logitech Slim Combo. While it’s great to type on, you can’t really use it on your lap and it’s definitely not slim. I also tried the Brydge keyboard for iPad Pro but ran into a number of issues — my review on that will be coming soon.
Finally, I asked Zagg to send me the Slim Book, and I think I’ve found the iPad keyboard I was looking for.
Zagg Slim Book has it all
It’s certainly not the prettiest iPad Pro keyboard case, but that doesn’t mean the Slim Book is badly designed. It has almost everything you could want in a keyboard case, including great protection for your iPad Pro, easy access to all ports and buttons, and a keyboard that’s a joy to type on.
It takes a little bit of getting used to because the Slim Book’s keyboard is (obviously) smaller than a standard laptop keyboard. You might find yourself hitting the wrong keys for the first day or so. But as soon as your hands get used to it, you’ll be typing just as quickly and as accurately as you did before.
The keys are well-spaced and feel incredibly sturdy. They’re firm but responsive, and they produce a satisfying click without being loud. The keyboard feels like an older MacBook keyboard (before Apple introduced the flawed butterfly keys), only a little firmer.
The keyboard layout is exactly as you’d expect; all keys are where they should be. Thankfully, Zagg did not make any nasty changes to save space. The tab, shift, delete and enter keys are all a good size, and the arrow keys are laid out properly. You’ll find all the function keys you need, too.
Function keys and beautiful backlighting
Across the top of the keyboard, you get dedicated buttons for returning to the home screen, putting your iPad to sleep, accessing the app switcher, opening the on-screen keyboard and switching languages, controlling your music, and adjusting volume and screen brightness.
One key lets you turn the Slim Book off when you’re not using it to conserve battery life. Another two let you switch between connected devices (you can pair the keyboard with two devices simultaneously over Bluetooth).
What’s more, all of these keys are backlit to make typing in dark rooms a little easier — and you can change the color of the backlighting. Simply hold down the function key and hit the right arrow key to cycle through the options, which include white, blue, turquoise, green, yellow, red and purple. You can also turn off the lights completely if you don’t need them.
Of course, using the lights drains your battery faster. Because this is a Bluetooth keyboard, it has its own battery that needs charging. However, the Slim Book lasts a long time in between charges. Zagg says you’ll get about two years of use if you type for around one hour a day.
I haven’t had to charge my Slim Book since I started using it around two months ago, and I use mine about eight hours a day, five days a week. I also tend to put in a few hours at the weekend because Lewis doesn’t like to let us relax.
Slim Book suits any situation
One of the things I love most about the Slim Book is that I can use it anywhere. It turns your iPad into more of a laptop. Its incredibly strong hinge holds your iPad at almost any angle. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, on the couch, or even in bed, you can find a comfortable position.
This proves incredibly important for me. I started using an iPad Pro so I could work anywhere. My office is in an attic and unbearably hot in the summer, so I wanted to be able to sit wherever I felt comfortable. I also wanted to be able to get out of the house if I felt like it, without having to lug around a laptop and charger.
Other iPad keyboards — those without a hinge — make this difficult. Many feel uncomfortable to use on your lap, or take up too much space, or offer no protection against drops when you’re on the move. The Slim Book doesn’t suffer these problems.
Having said that, there is one thing you need to be aware of. The Slim Book’s keyboard is incredibly light, which means the whole unit is top-heavy. This isn’t a problem most of the time, but if you angle your iPad back too far, it will topple over.
Zagg Slim Book is protective and practical
The case portion of the Slim Book is made out of a polycarbonate plastic that’s flexible and durable. It prevents your iPad from getting scratched in your bag and should protect it against accidental falls off a table. It’s also detachable, which means you’re not tied to the keyboard all the time.
When you don’t need physical keys, you can pull your iPad away from the keyboard and use it by itself. Alternatively, you can attach the iPad to the Slim Book backward so you can fold it back onto the keys and continue to use its screen while the keyboard is closed. This also works well when you’re watching a movie and want to use the keyboard section as a stand without it getting in the way.
Neither the case nor the Slim Book’s hinge, despite it being rather large and sturdy, get in the way of your iPad’s screen. The hinge has a groove in it that means you can continue to use iOS 11’s awesome gestures for multitasking as normal. Some keyboard cases get in the way and prevent this, and that’s frustrating when you’re using your iPad for productivity.
One thing I don’t like about the case is that it covers the iPad’s speakers. There are channels inside it designed to direct the sound toward your face, but they’re not very big. You’ll find your iPad doesn’t sound as loud or as good when it’s inside the case, but it’s certainly bearable.
Zagg Slim Book review: The verdict
The Slim Book isn’t perfect. I do think Zagg could improve a few minor things, but none of them are dealbreakers. This wonderful keyboard case will serve you well no matter how you use it.
The Slim Book quickly became my favorite keyboard case for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It looks good, it’s reliable, and it works incredibly well. Get yours from Zagg for $119.99, or from Amazon by clicking the button below.
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