Zagg’s new Bluetooth keyboard also does wireless charging [Review]

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Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 review★★★★☆
This new Zagg Pro keyboard uses Bluetooth and wireless charging.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 is a slim, lightweight desktop keyboard that uses Bluetooth so no data cable is required. And it also charges wirelessly so it never needs a cable of any kind.

The accessory can be paired with multiple devices, and switch easily between them.

I tested the membrane keyboard in my home office for several weeks. Here’s what it’s like in real-world use.

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Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 review

It can be easy to overlook the importance of a good keyboard. Don’t put up with one that doesn’t fit your needs — you spend too much time using it.

When it comes time to pick one out, there are many designs to choose from in multiple categories: large, medium and small; wired or wireless; membrane or mechanical. The Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 is a small, wireless, membrane keyboard.

And it has a nifty trick that I like: it can get power from any Qi charging mat. Plus, like many Bluetooth keyboards, you can switch it between your computers are the press of a button.

Space-saving keyboard

Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 has a standard QWERTY layout, with a row of function keys across the top.

At 11.6 inches by 5.1 inches and 0.75 at its thickest, the input device takes up a minimal amount of space on a desk. The only way it could be much smaller would be by squeezing the keys closer together, and that certainly wouldn’t be an improvement.

Zagg did not built feet into the keyboard, so you’ll need to prop something under the front edge of you want the keys to tilt up.

You can get this accessory in any color you want as long as what you want is very dark grey. It’s a serviceable color that doesn’t show the grime that keyboards often pick up. But this is a downer for Mac users who prefer white.

Typical membrane typing experience

Zagg Pro Keyboard 15
If you like membrane keyboards you’ll enjoy typing on this one.
Photo: Zagg

Horizontal key separation is 0.75 inches, and 0.7 vertical. That’s about standard, and certainly plenty. The keys are not in any way cramped. I can type at my full normal speed on the Zagg Pro Keyboard 12.

Key travel is 0.1 inches. That’s typical for a membrane keyboard like this one. If you want lots more key travel, you need a mechanical action. And this one from Zagg isn’t nearly as “clicky” as typical mechanical keys, either.

But membrane vs. mechanical is a personal choice — neither is inherently better. What I’m saying is that the feel of Zagg’s keys is typical for a membrane keyboard. If that’s what you prefer, you’ll like this one.

There are larger versions in Zagg’s new keyboard series, all the way up to 17 inches. With extra width comes room for a numberpad and function keys. I didn’t test any but the 12-inch model, though.

Even on the smaller version, there is room for a row of useful function keys above the number keys, and not just F1 through F12. A set of multimedia controls are very convenient, as are the Home and Spotlight buttons.

Not specifically for Mac or iPad

The Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 is platform agnostic but a bit tilted toward Windows. My testing shows it’s completely usable with Mac and iPad, but Apple users have to put up with a Start key. This also acts as the Option key, but the primary label on it and other keys are for Windows.

Also, Zagg inserted a Function key between the Control and Option buttons. This is useful, as it allows some of the keys to do two jobs — the function keys mentioned above are also the F1-though-F12 keys thanks to this “fn” button, for example.

But its placement is unfortunate. When I’m working, my fingers are very accustomed to pressing various combinations of the Command, Option, Control and Shift keys without looking, and inserting the Function key in the middle of them messes that up.

Two kinds of wireless keyboard

Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 wireless charger
The circle on the back of the Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 shows its wireless charger.

Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 communicates with your computer via Bluetooth. Wireless keyboards have been around for well over a decade and just about all the bugs have been worked out.

Even better, the accessory can be paired with three computers and switch between them at the press of a button. I have it paired with my iPad Pro, my iPhone and a Microsoft Surface tablet, and the input device works fine with all of them.

And that’s not its only wireless trick. The keyboard can get power from any Qi charging mat, like the ones for iPhone. Just rest the center of the keyboard on the mat and wait for the red charging LED to come on.

I find this very convenient. I already keep a wireless charging mat on my desk for my AirPods case and for the Zagg Pro Mouse.

Or there’s a USB-C port for charging.

Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 final thoughts

A keyboard is a keyboard, right? Wrong. A badly designed one can hinder your productivity. And even one that’s not your preference can be irritating when you’re trying to get work done.

Zagg’s latest is for fans of membrane keyboards, and offers excellent key separation and decent key travel. I especially like its small size, and wireless charging is a nice bonus.

★★★★☆

It’s more focused on Windows PCs than Mac, though. And the placement of the Function key takes getting used to.

Pricing

Many people prefer membrane keyboards because they cost less. The Zagg Pro Keyboard 12 no exception — at $69.99, it’s well below the cost of good mechanical keyboard.

Buy it from: Amazon or Zagg

Keyboards are a commodity product that you can find for crazy cheap prices. Much lower than Zagg’s. But if you get one of those, you might want to buy two because you can’t trust those to last.

If you prefer a mechanical keyboard that is focused on Mac users, I regularly use the Logitech MX Mechanical Mini ($149.99). Or there’s the Das Keyboard MacTigr ($219).

Zagg provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.

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