Some third-party case makers have begun treating the iPad Pro with a Smart Keyboard Folio attached as a single device. Urban Armor Gear is the latest to introduce a lightweight protective case that goes around both, adding drop protection and an Apple Pencil holder.
Don’t miss our hands-on review of the UAG Scout Series, which is available for the most recent 12.9- and 11-inch iPad Pro.
Update April 27, 2020: UAG released a version of the Scout modified for the larger camera hump in the 2020 iPad Pro.
UAG Scout for iPad Pro review: Protects your tablet and keyboard
Add the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio to an iPad Pro to create a powerful 2-in-1 laptop/tablet. But this combination needs some extra protection. Apple’s keyboard case is more keyboard than case, so it doesn’t do much to shield the tablet. That’s where the UAG Scout comes in.
This case is designed specifically to wrap around both the iPad Pro and Apple keyboard. It doesn’t fit without the keyboard.
Scout brings significant drop protection. Urban Armor Gear promises it conforms to military drop-test standard MIL STD 810G-516.6. This means UAG repeatedly dropped the case a distance of 4 feet onto 2 inches of plywood over concrete. Don’t try this with just Apple’s keyboard case; it won‘t be pretty.
UAG’s case covers only the back and sides of the tablet/keyboard, which is enough to shield the iPad Pro without adding too much bulk. The version of this case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs in at 0.6 pounds (10 ounces); UAG says the 11-inch model is 0.4 lbs. (7 oz.) The case adds about a quarter inch to all four sides of the tablet, and roughly an eighth of an inch to the thickness.
There are openings for the tablet’s speakers, USB-C port, camera, microphones, et al., and a cover for the side button.
At the top of the Scout is a clip that helps hold the Apple Pencil against the side of the iPad Pro.
UAG Scout for iPad Pro performance
Scout for iPad Pro doesn’t interfere with the using the keyboard at all. Because it doesn’t cover the front, all that’s required to start typing on the Smart Keyboard Folio is pull the keyboard open and fold the base under the tablet. The bottom edge of the Scout case will bend out of the way.
Reverse this process to close the keyboard. It’s best to press on all four corners to be sure the Scout is securely in place.
Apple’s keyboard is designed the flip around behind the screen to be out of the way when the iPad Pro is being used as a traditional tablet. Scout doesn’t interfere with this process at all.
This protective case is pleasantly easy to remove. As it wraps around just the sides and back, curl back a corner to start pulling the case off. To be clear, the case is held securly in place with tabs so it’s not coming off accidentally. Taking out the iPad while leaving the keyboard in UAG’s case is equally easy.
We regularly carry around our iPad Pro with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio attached, so we used Scout for iPad Pro for several days. We enjoyed the feeling of extra protection with minimal bulk. UAG’s offering didn’t hamper with our regular use of the device. That said, because of the extra weight, we didn’t often flip the keyboard behind the screen. Instead, we were more likely to read books or play games on the iPad Pro with both cases removed.
The loop to hold the Apple Pencil did its job well. It never interfered with charging this stylus, nor did the Pencil show any signs of coming loose. The magnets built into tablet and stylus already do a fine job of holding this accessory in place, but this loop adds some extra insurance.
UAG Scout for iPad Pro final thoughts
Don’t think of the Scout is a case for a tablet that’s already in a keyboard case. Apple’s keyboard offers so little protection for the iPad Pro that it shouldn’t be thought of as a case at all. UAG’s is a real case that brings much needed shielding for both the tablet and Apple’s keyboard too.
Urban Armor Gear’s design adds surprisingly little bulk, and this case is so easy to put on and remove that it’s practical to attach Scout just when on the go, and then take it off for use around the home or office.
The UAG Scout for the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a suggested price of $59.95. The 11-inch version of this tablet is $49.95.
12.9-inch version: Buy from: Amazon
11-inch version: Buy from: Amazon
Update: As noted above, in 2020 there’s also versions of the UAG Scout for the fourth-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the second-gen 11-inch iPad Pro.
For comparison, the Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve also wraps around the latest iPad Pro and Apple keyboard but it makes this combination resemble a school notebook. Its two sizes have the same prices as the UAG Scout.
Another option is a leather sleeve from Picaso Lab that holds both iPad and keyboard. This hand-made product is $108.