in this article, I’ll tell you exactly why I chose the Smart Keyboard Folio instead of the Magic Keyboard And whether I regret it.
I had thought about buying the Smart Keyboard Folio for my 2018 12.9 ” iPad Pro for a while but at $179, I could never make a leap. When the Magic Keyboard was launched, like many other people, was drooling. The design was outstanding and the capabilities it added to the iPad Pro was thrilling. Not only did it finally give the iPad Pro a “real keyboard” it also gave it something brand new, a trackpad. The Magic Keyboard seemed ready to finally answer the question “Can an iPad Replace a Laptop?”
I was certain I would get the Magic Keyboard. Until I didn’t. Instead, I bought the Smart Keyboard Folio. This is why:
If I were to buy the Magic Keyboard for my 12.9 ” iPad Pro, it would set me back $299. That’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of money by itself but even more when you consider I already paid $999 for the iPad. It’s a huge investment to make my iPad Pro work more like my MacBook Pro.
If I already own a MacBook Pro, do I need to spend $299 to make my iPad Pro function more like MacBook Pro? Although yes, the Magic Keyboard adds a trackpad as well as a keyboard but does what I do on my iPad support the need for both of those?
This was the issue I started pondering the more I considered parting with the considerable amount of money.
Now, compare that $299 price tag to $179 for the Smart Keyboard Folio. Like I pointed out, I already had a difficult time convincing myself the Smart Keyboard Folio was worth buying. Let the internal fight begin.
Yes, the Magic Keyboard is gorgeous.
And yes, it has a “real keyboard” with real keycaps and actual key travel. Gone are the woven-fabric keys of the Smart Keyboard Folio.
And yes, it has an additional USB-C port for charging, so you can free up the one on the iPad for accessories.
And yes, it comes with a trackpad for a whole new way of interacting with the iPad Pro.
But for $299, I had to make sure the things I did on my iPad Pro versus my MacBook Pro justified that price tag.
is an absolute solution for a very specific category of iPad users. If you are someone who is deeply entrenched into the iPad and iPadOS and has long desired to replace your traditional laptop with it, the Magic Keyboard makes that a very real possibility.
If the things you care about are web browsing, word processing, email, and media consumption then the Magic Keyboard now lets you get the best of most worlds.
You get a great typing experience with backlit keys, more viewing angles, and an extra USB-C port. And you get a trackpad that gives you more control of your apps.
However, if you are like me and you want your iPad to be the best device you can get, one that lets you surf the internet, watch movies and TV shows, and play some games from time to time, one that doesn’t replace your laptop but complements it, you should reconsider the
Smart Keyboard Folio
as I did.
Besides wanting the best tablet, I also want to be able to sit down and easily reply to an email, type a new blog post, or take some notes.
When I need something with more power and capabilities, I take my MacBook Pro with me. When I need something more portable and handy, I take my iPad Pro with me.
Weight and Portability
Unfortunately, Due to the pandemic, I didn’t get a chance to try the Magic Keyboard myself. I was, however, watching all the unboxing and review videos I could find. A commone theme came up in every video, the weight.
My 12.9 ” iPad Pro, with no case, weighs 631.00 grams. The Smart Keyboard Folio weighs 297 grams compared to the Magic Keyboard at 601 grams. The Magic Keyboard by itself weighs almost the same as my iPad Pro. I needed something that would offer me a more comfortable typing experience without sacrificing portability.
Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio is the best option if you truly value portability. It’s a slim case that attaches magnetically to the back of the iPad and flips around like a laptop, with two angles that you can snap the screen into. The fabric-covered keys have very shallow travel but actually offers a pretty comfortable typing experience. I prefer them to Apple’s current MacBook keyboards, and they’re certainly less likely to break.
One thing that separates the Smart Keyboard Folio from the park though, is its convenience. It’s the only iPad Pro keyboard to make use of the Smart Connector on the back of the tablet, which handles pairing and power automatically. You never have to charge the keyboard or dive into Bluetooth settings. It’s also really easy to remove whenever you just want to use the iPad as a tablet by itself, and it’s by far the thinnest and lightest keyboard option out there. Actually, it’s arguably the only keyboard that really makes sense as a basic protective case at times when you’re unsure whether you’ll be doing any typing.
While the combined weight of my iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard, at 1232 grams or just about 2.8 pounds, would still be less than my 13 inch ” MacBook Pro at 3.02 pounds, it was getting close. To me, the Magic Keyboard would actually add a lot of weight to my iPad and affect one of it’s best features, it’s portability.
I was waiting for the Cupertino based company to announce the “next-gen Smart Keyboard Folio” just as much as the next person. I had long wanted to get the Smart Keyboard Folio and was excited to see what Apple would do to eventually get me to buy it. As it turned out, they announced a brand new keyboard instead.
Like I said, the Magic Keyboard is one of the best keyboard for the iPad pro out there. It certainly offers the best typing experience you can have with an iPad and I think the trackpad will surely be a game-changer for the iPad Pro.
But at the moment, for the stuff I do with my iPad on a daily basis, I couldn’t justify spending the cash on it.
I purchased the Smart Keyboard Folio because it lets me get an fantastic typing experience on my iPad Pro without sacrificing weight, comfort, or portability. I can still take notes using my Apple Pencil without having to take off the folio. The Smart Keyboard Folio hasn’t forced me to change the way I use my iPad Pro whatsoever, it has just made one part of what I do with it, typing, a much better experience.
If I needed to replace my laptop with my iPad or didn’t have a laptop and wanted my iPad to be able to do more things a traditional laptop can do, then I would have considered getting myself a Magic Keyboard.
I think the iPad Pro together with the Magic Keyboard is a fantastic set-up for a student or writer but even though, if you purchase the cheapest iPad Pro at $799 and the Magic Keyboard for $299, you’re looking at almost $1,100, which is more than the base MacBook Air. It’s a tough decision to make and one that requires some thoughts about what you plan to use it for.
Definitely, the Magic Keyboard made my decision to purchase the Smart Keyboard Folio easier. It compelled me to consider what I use my iPad for and how each keyboard would fit into that. The Smart Keyboard Folio is a perfect fit for what I use both iPad Pro and MacBook Pro for. I have enjoyed using the Smart Keyboard Folio and it has made me grab my iPad Pro over my MacBook Pro more times than I might have in the past. I don’t regret my purchase and recommend anyone considering the two options to take a closer look at what you do with your iPad Pro and what you want out of it. Keep in mind, there is no single best iPad Pro keyboard for everyone.
A few reasons the iPad Pro can’t replace the MacBook, even with the Magic Keyboard