Luxurious leather case gives iPad Pro with Apple keyboard the protection they need [Review]

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Picaso Lab iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve review
Carry your iPad Pro and its keyboard in this attractive leather sleeve.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Picaso Lab hand makes a professional-looking leather sleeve that goes around both the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the Smart Folio Keyboard. It offers much more protection to the tablet than just Apple’s keyboard case. And this sleeve looks far better than Apple’s folio.

Read on for our full review of this great-looking protective cover.

Picaso Lab iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve review

Let’s get this out of the way: the Picaso Lab sleeve for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Smart Folio Keyboard really is a case that goes around a case that goes around the iPad. Some will immediately dismiss it as inherently redundant.  

But Apple’s Smart Folio Keyboard emphasizes portability over protection. It can keep the iPad Pro’s screen and back from getting scratched up but not much else.  

Picaso Lab’s sleeve offers much more. It’s not a truly rugged case but it’s well padded and covers all four edges and corners of this pricy tablet, not just the front and back.

And it looks like something you’d be proud to carry around. Our test sleeve is very well made, with robust black leather and bold red stitching.  A small snap-on retaining strap is also red. Picaso Lab is investigating offering it in other color combinations but these aren’t out yet.

UPDATE: A version of this case in brown and gray as well as one in brown and red have just been released.

The luxurious appearance of this case stands in stark contrast to the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio which — let’s be honest here — is ugly as a mud fence. It’s lightweight and useful but not attractive. In this sleeve, no one has to look at it.

For iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard

The Picaso Lab iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve was specifically designed for just that combination. It fits closely around the 12.9-inch tablet and the keyboard, holding them securely.

The sleeve is actually made to fit very tightly at first. As our testing over several weeks showed, the leather will stretch slightly to fit the contents like a glove. Not too tight, not too loose.

Picaso Lab iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve
This sleeve is specifically for the latest iPad Pro and the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

This case is a bit oversized to hold just the full-size iPad Pro from 2018. The tablet will slide out easily if not held in with the leather, snap-on strap.  Picaso Lab is planning to offer a smaller sleeve for this tablet without the keyboard.

Speaking of the strap, it’s snapped on both ends, so you can open it from either side. That means it’s also removable. And it leaves room for an Apple Pencil.

No pockets

There’s no secondary pocket to hold additional items in this case. We put this question to focus group of potential buyers: some considered it drawback, but others preferred the sleek look. 

Very small items can be slipped in the sleeve along with the tablet. Just be careful to not stretch the leather as it won’t return to its original shape. 

When we needed to carry a few pieces of paper, we put them between the tablet and the keyboard and then put this combination in the sleeve. 

Picaso Lab iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve final thoughts

The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio by itself is $199. That right there is a reason that it deserves some protection.

And if you add a really protective case to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro you can’t attach Apple’s keyboard. Picaso Lab’s sleeve fills in this gap, defending both iPad Pro and this clip-on keyboard from everyday bumps and blows.

The fact that this handmade leather case looks so great is a bonus. Picaso Lab took care of our request for additional color options, and the red and black one we tested appears very professional.

This product is handmade in the United States, and the leather is also from the US.

This company’s iPad Pro with Apple Keyboard sleeve is $108. That’s not an unreasonable amount to pay for a luxury case.

Buy from: Picaso Lab

As a bonus, Picaso Lab is offering 10 percent of the cost of any item on its website. Just use the coupon code PicasoDeal10. The company makes leather sleeves for a wide variety of MacBook models.

Picaso Lab provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.