The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio turns an iPad Pro into an ultralight laptop, but it’s so slim it doesn’t do much to shield the tablet inside. We tested a sleeve from Dodocase that goes around Apple’s keyboard to protect both it and the iPad. It also improves the look of the keyboard case.
Be sure to read our hands-on review of the handy Keyboard Folio Sleeve.
Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve review: Protects iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard Folio
From the outside, this sleeve looks like an old-fashioned school notebook. It’s available in a range of color combinations. Our test model is a two-tone Dove Grey Indigo, which brings a nice retro appearance. Other options include solid black and pale blue, which look more professional.
Open up the Keyboard Folio Sleeve to slide in the iPad Pro and the Smart Keyboard Folio. A T-shaped strap securely holds Apple’s case, and magnets keep the tablet in place. All three parts stay together surprisingly well.
It’s not necessary to remove the sleeve to type on the iPad. Dodocase designed it to bend where the keyboard case does. The two work together nicely.
That said, adding an outer shell to a keyboard attached to a tablet is slightly cumbersome. The Keyboard Folio Sleeve is 0.93 pounds, Apple’s keyboard is 0.9 lbs. and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is 1.5 lbs. The result is, of course, 3.3 lbs. The combination is 0.9 inches thick, compared to the 0.55 ins. of the iPad Pro with keyboard.
Using the iPad as a tablet requires removing it from both cases, as the keyboard cannot be folded behind the screen with the sleeve attached. But the computer is held in with magnets, so a quick pull is all that’s required.
Neither of these downsides are dealbreakers, and some sacrifice is inescapable when adding protection. This sleeve wraps around the front and back of the Smart Keyboard Folio, cushioning it from bumps and blows. It won’t save the iPad from a tumble down the stairs, but will defend against more typical wear and tear.
And it’s designed to last. The Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve looks like it’s just made of cardboard, but Tyvek reinforces its hinges and the T-shaped strap that holds in Apple’s keyboard.
Speaking of straps, an elastic band securely holds this folio closed when transporting the iPad Pro and its keyboard.
An opening in the back panel is supposed to allow the rear-facing camera to operate. However, we found that the camera is partially obscured when the iPad, keyboard and sleeve are propped up for typing. It’s better to remove the tablet from its nested cases to take pictures.
This sleeve leaves three of the edges of the iPad Pro open. It doesn’t interfere with even large USB-C accessories, like the HyperDrive 6-port hub.
This case allows the Apple Pencil 2 to clip to the edge of the tablet so it can charge. There’s even elastic loop to add some security to this connection.
Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve final thoughts
Anyone planning to walk around with their iPad Pro shouldn’t depend solely on the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for defense from accidents. Adding the Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve is a fine solution.
It adds a decent amount of protection for a moderate amount of bulk, and it looks good… better than Apple’s keyboard alone.
The price starts at $79.95, which isn’t bad for a case handmade in a bookbindery. Dodocase charges the same for the 12.9- and 11-inch iPad Pro versions of its sleeve. Adding a monogram bumps the price up by $9.95, though.
Buy From: Dodocase
For comparison, Urban Armor Gear makes the Scout Series, cases that are also designed to go around Apple’s tablet and keyboard. These are $49.95 or $59.95, depending on the screen size of the iPad Pro. Or Picaso Lab makes a leather sleeve for this combination that costs $108. And check out Slickwraps for Apple Smart Keyboard Folio.