iPad Pro Apple Smart Keyboard - Best Keyboard?

mrcb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2016
18
4
Hey Guys,

I am about to buy an iPad Pro 9.7.

Primary use is going to be for work, and I will be buying a pencil for notes.

I like the idea of getting a keyboard also, but I guess I am hung up on the price of the ASK.
I tried it out today, and I did like it - I like how it also doubles up as a stand.

If I were to buy this, would I be wanting to buy a case also for the rear protection of the iPad?
Would it be safe to double the ASK back on itself whilst I write on it with the pencil?Would it be safe to double the ASK back on itself whilst I write on it with the pencil?

Are there any other alternatives that are better but at a fraction of the price, or is the ASK really unrivaled?

Thanks in advance.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
13,350
11,677
Singapore
I have no experience with the Smart Keyboard, but I generally shy away from any keyboard case which locks me into one model of iPad (and in this case, one single product).

The keyboard also cannot used to prop your iPad in a 30 degree angle or less, which limits its utility for drawing.

I recently purchased a Logitech keys to go keyboard. It's cheap and thin and light and the typing experience isn't all that bad. I like it a lot.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00VBNSCM8/ref=oh_aui_i_d_old_o0_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1

How do you see yourself typing? If it's an enclosed or cramped space like a lecture room seat rest, a keyboard case might be the best way to go. If it's a more spacious environment like on a table, an external Bluetooth keyboard should suffice. Then get a cheap case which protects the back and with a Smart Cover that can be folded back as a stand.

Hope this helps.
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
12,126
9,527
That looks like a pretty cool $30 keyboard

I agree with limitations on viewing angles, but I like my SKB so far overall.

Don't really like the aesthetic of Logitech smart connector keyboard, or something like Zagg that looks useful but like weak laptop keyboard implementation

Got an open box from Best Buy for 145 less 20 in reward zone cash I had, so 125 net.

For me it was worth it to take advantage of Smart connector. It has its merits, powering the device without needing to charge or worry about pairing aside from automatically by virtue of physically connecting, having a Smart Cover embedded, I love the butterfly mechanism with fabric over, it's like a rMB keyboard with more travel and a layer over it.
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,552
820
New Hampshire
I have the SKB and although the price is absurd, I really like it. I use it with the IPP and just a skin on the back of the iPad for scratch protection. When I'm traveling the iPad, SKB and Pencil are in a zippered pouch. If using the keyboard flat against the back, It stays magnetized against it.

You can fold the keyboard to get basically the same prop modes as a regular cover.
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,732
3,352
The big advantage of the smart keyboard is that it is as slim and light as possible, and it doubles as a cover. This means you'll probably have the keyboard with you all of the time. If you just want a good keyboard to type on, and don't care about portability, you can use literally any keyboard you want - either through bluetooth or over usb with the camera connection kit.

Me, I've tried several different keyboard covers over the years and they've all had the same fundamental problems - with bluetooth they need a battery, which means they are as big and heavy as the iPad themselves, which means I end up leaving them at home most of the time. Many of them also have a built in case which adds further weight, and makes it very difficult to remove. With the smart keyboard I remove it multiple times every day while I'm not using it, then just snap it back on if I do. There are several additional positions, some pictured above, that give you a usable lower viewing angle.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,743
9,588
Prescott Valley, AZ
The big advantage of the smart keyboard is that it is as slim and light as possible, and it doubles as a cover. This means you'll probably have the keyboard with you all of the time. If you just want a good keyboard to type on, and don't care about portability, you can use literally any keyboard you want - either through bluetooth or over usb with the camera connection kit.

Me, I've tried several different keyboard covers over the years and they've all had the same fundamental problems - with bluetooth they need a battery, which means they are as big and heavy as the iPad themselves, which means I end up leaving them at home most of the time. Many of them also have a built in case which adds further weight, and makes it very difficult to remove. With the smart keyboard I remove it multiple times every day while I'm not using it, then just snap it back on if I do. There are several additional positions, some pictured above, that give you a usable lower viewing angle.
@mrcb would be wise to heed the opinion of this post.

The worst part of the ASK, IMO, is the price. Once one gets over that, it is the best option (again IMO) for the reasons that @zhenya cite. I too have had many types of keyboards for iPads... including the keyboard dock that Apple made for the iPad 1. They were all adequate for the task but not preferable.

With the ASK, it really does feel like an extension of the iPad, not yet another device that needs to be "cared" for. The 12.9 version is a joy to type on and has replaced the Surface TypeCover as my favorite keyboard for a portable device. The greatest challenge was adjusting my typing position and approach because I no longer had to incorporated a cramped touch-typist position due to a keyboard that is confined to the 9.7 screen size of the iPad.

The value of the ease of removing the ASK cannot be overstated. To go from notebook-y type usage to an unencumbered tablet mode so quickly and easily goes a long way towards a converged/hybrid device.
 
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mrcb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2016
18
4
Thank you for all of your replies.

I have gone ahead with the ASK - Looking forward to picking up my IPP, Pencil and ASK on Saturday!
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,552
820
New Hampshire
The big advantage of the smart keyboard is that it is as slim and light as possible, and it doubles as a cover. This means you'll probably have the keyboard with you all of the time. If you just want a good keyboard to type on, and don't care about portability, you can use literally any keyboard you want - either through bluetooth or over usb with the camera connection kit.

Me, I've tried several different keyboard covers over the years and they've all had the same fundamental problems - with bluetooth they need a battery, which means they are as big and heavy as the iPad themselves, which means I end up leaving them at home most of the time. Many of them also have a built in case which adds further weight, and makes it very difficult to remove. With the smart keyboard I remove it multiple times every day while I'm not using it, then just snap it back on if I do. There are several additional positions, some pictured above, that give you a usable lower viewing angle.
I totally agree with you. The ease of just taking the iPad off the keyboard is great. Also the AKB works just as well typing on my lap in my recliner as it does on a desk. I don't know how I could use a totally separate keyboard in my lap with the iPad.
 
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thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
12,126
9,527
The 9.7 SKB felt cramped to me, but anyone who's gone 12.9 to 9.7 have you adjusted? The way lighter cover was appreciated however when I toyed with it at the store,

Just curious :)
Also curious though it won't make for the nicest slimmest case, would a 9.7 work with 12.9 SKB from a usability perspective of the KB,

Loving my 12.9 with Pencil+SKB, fun kit
 
Last edited:

mrcb

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 14, 2016
18
4
I have the SKB and although the price is absurd, I really like it. I use it with the IPP and just a skin on the back of the iPad for scratch protection. When I'm traveling the iPad, SKB and Pencil are in a zippered pouch. If using the keyboard flat against the back, It stays magnetized against it.

You can fold the keyboard to get basically the same prop modes as a regular cover. View attachment 631356 View attachment 631357
Hey - Can you let me know which skin you purchased for the back? How has it performed?
 

Nhwhazup

macrumors 68030
Sep 2, 2010
2,552
820
New Hampshire
Hey - Can you let me know which skin you purchased for the back? How has it performed?
I used the matte BestSkinsEver. I absolutely love it. I consider myself to be really good at installing screen protectors both glass and PET. I have also installed back skins that are solid in color with no issues.

For me the clear or matte back skins are really tough to install and you need to be very patient and keep working at it. I've tried a skin on my phone in the past and couldn't get an install that I was happy with. I could get it perfectly aligned but would have discoloration under the skin that wouldn't go away. I think I found out how to avoid the discoloration/cloudiness. This time around with the iPad Pro, I did the wet install and kept working the edges and corners for a total time of about 40 minutes. However, this time I actually followed the instructions and kept my iPad turned off and let the skin cure for overnight. Every other time I couldn't wait and would use it earlier than the recommended wait time. I was pleasantly surprised to find my iPad skin looking great. No cloudiness and no bubbles. It looks like nothing on the iPad. I've had it on for about 2 months and it still looks like the day I put it on. It does give a bit of extra grip which of course is good. I don't put the iPad in a case so I can't speak for how it would hold up catching on a case. For me, I prefer the SKB and the skin on the back. Best overall way to keep the iPad thin and light - carrying around only what I need.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
13,350
11,677
Singapore
You won't regret it, the ASK really is the best keyboard out there.
I have no doubt about this. I have watched a few YouTube unboxing videos and found myself salivating over the keyboard. Just can't bring myself to pay so much money for it though, so eventually settled on a cheaper alternative.
 

ibookg409

Suspended
Apr 20, 2016
613
7,555
Portsmouth, NH
I am actually surprised how sturdy it seems to be, also I heard that the Zagg Slim book makes the iPad VERY heavy, like Macbook Pro kind of heavy.
The weight was the only reason I didn't get the Slim Book.
[doublepost=1463531400][/doublepost]I also took advantage of the att 20% off deal so I got the pencil and the ASK for 20% off.
 

Andy847

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2016
162
230
Chicago Suburb
I tried an Open box, plus $20 BB gift Card, on the ASK. I actually didn't like it. I got it for a great price, but returned it, because there's no feel to the keypunch, since it's so slim. I like to feel the keys as they get pressed down while typing. I had the logitech, didn't even open the box, because I would have to change the cover after taking it out of the keyboard case. Zagg Slim Book looks great, but too heavy and people complaining in reviews that the back piece on the IPP was breaking/cheaply made.

So right now I'm just using the Apple Wireless Keyboard from my Mac. I have the logitech solar wireless keyboard for my Mac and the wireless was just sitting on a shelf. Works fine and forgot how much I like typing on it. I am waiting on the Brydge and the Clam Case Keyboards that are suppose to come out soon. I'm think I might be tempted to go with the Clam Case, since the Brydge is really expensive. I have to see when they come out.
 

striders

macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2009
406
24
Any recommendation for 3rd party back cover that will work with the Apple Smart Keyboard? Apple branded back cover is $69, which is ridiculous.

As for the ASK itself, one thing that I like is that there is zero lag or delay. I have tried many bluetooth keyboard and there, occasionally, lag in what I typed and what is shown on the screen.
 

lyngo

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2007
657
789
Any recommendation for 3rd party back cover that will work with the Apple Smart Keyboard? Apple branded back cover is $69, which is ridiculous.

As for the ASK itself, one thing that I like is that there is zero lag or delay. I have tried many bluetooth keyboard and there, occasionally, lag in what I typed and what is shown on the screen.
There is a clear one from ESR that's on sale over at Amazon for right around $10. I wish I had the link for you and might post it later on, but don't have it right now. I have it on mine and love it.
 
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