iPad Pro Apple Smart Keyboard vs third party Bluetooth keyboard

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by akash.nu, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. akash.nu macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #1
    I was wondering if there's any specific significant benefit that one enjoys by using the apple Smart Keyboard instead of any other third party Bluetooth keyboard either as a separate accessory or part of an iPad case?!
     
  2. Ghost31 macrumors 68000

    Ghost31

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    #2
    The only benefit is power draw. The Smart Keyboard is powered directly through the iPad through the fancy little Smart connector whereas a Bluetooth keyboard has to have its own batteries. And people with Bluetooth keyboards sometimes complain of lag or stuttering when typing.

    But I've gone back and forth between the Smart Keyboard and my apple magic keyboard and don't notice any difference in connection. So it's really just whatever tickles your fancy
     
  3. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #3
    The Caveat would be for a Bluetooth keyboard is the batteries. Logitech has a back lit Keyboard available, but also wouldn't drain the battery on the iPad if did incorporate a Smart connector. And with a Bluetooth keyboard, you have more freedom Away from the iPad for certain positions. Bluetooth can be advantage depending on the users preference.
     
  4. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #4
    Exactly. I feel like a Bluetooth keyboard is way more versatile and also cheaper than an apple Smart Keyboard. Very weird how so many people on here loves it while being restricted. I genuinely feel like I'd rather have a Bluetooth keyboard than the apple Smart Keyboard. Not that my iPad supports it, but it makes me feel like I made the right decision.
     
  5. jcborden, Jul 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017

    jcborden macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    #5
    I got the iPad Pro 10.5 on launch and purchased the Logitech Keys To Go BT keyboard as a nice, very thin keyboard at a sensible price (£30). I was also interested in the Apple Smart Keyboard so got that as well to see which I preferred. I've gone back and forth a bit, but my conclusions are as follows:

    Logitech Keys To Go pros:
    • Small and light
    • Very quiet to type on
    • Comfortable to type on
    • Excellent battery life (supposed to be 90 days if used two hours a day, no idea if thats realistic but I've been using it quite a bit on a single charge and no signs of needing to charge it again yet
    • Function keys - dedicated keys for search, dock (great on iOS11), music playback volume etc
    • Detached - yes obviously detached, meaning you can position it where you like
    • Leave at home if you don't want a keyboard - I like this convenience!
    • Auto switch off if not used to save battery
    • Can use your iPad at any angle
    • Cost - can be had for £30
    Logitech Keys To Go cons:
    • Needs switching on and takes about four seconds to be ready to use
    • Not always with you...
    • Not quite a comfortable as the Apple Smart Keyboard to type on (although very nearly)
    • Can't be used on the lap, unless you can support your iPad safely (you can with the Apple Smart Keybaord)
    • The keyboard can move around depending upon the surface it is sitting on. Pushing it up against the iPad tends to stop that
    Apple Smart Keyboard pros:
    • Always there
    • Works instantly once your iPad is placed in the support channel (held in magnetically)
    • Nice typing experience / comfortable to type on
    • Good angle of screen
    • Nice quality overall and good protective cover
    • Can be used on your lap (with care)
    • No charging required
    Apple Smart Keyboard cons:
    • Cost - yes it is very expensive
    • No dedicated function keys, although there are a number of keyboard shortcuts available
    • Fixed typing angle, can only be used one way
    • It is quite bulky and makes the iPad feel chunky, especially when folded behind. Yes you can take it off but that's not the point
    After much consideration I have returned the Apple Smart Keyboard and kept the Logitech. I have 3rd party smart case which I love (offers great protection, quite light and thin), so I prefer to keep the iPad in this and just carry the Logitech when I think I will need it. For me this is the best of both worlds...
     
  6. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #6
    The big advantage is that it is thin and light, requires no batteries and no pairing, is durable, and just always works. Perhaps these don't sound compelling, but as someone who has used a lot of 3rd party keyboards over the years, these points come together to create an overall better experience with the Smart Keyboard. Many 3rd party keyboards are thick and heavy enough to essentially double the weight and volume of the iPad. Those that require a case or other mechanism to attach to the iPad are especially bulky, may be difficult to remove if you'd like to quickly use the iPad as a tablet, and may have durability issues at the attachment point. Keyboard lag and missed strokes are not the rule, but they do happen and they are an irritation.

    The Smart Keyboard isn't perfect, but it's by far the best keyboard companion I've come across for my iPad. It's the only one I've ever been satisfied with long-term.
     
  7. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #7
    Thanks for that awesome input. That is exactly what I'm doing right now.
     
  8. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #8
    I've seen plenty thin and light keyboards as well to be honest. And pairing is not really an issue on a daily basis. Once paired it will remain paired. I guess it depends on the model you choose.
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #9
    Thin and light is relative. Many that seem thin and light on paper end up feeling considerably less-so when you are actually using them day in and day out. Other compromises such as typing lag, the convenience of removing the case, or durability issues don't show up until you've owned it for some time. There is good reason why people who have tried a lot of these keyboards generally agree that the Smart Keyboard is the best of the bunch. http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-ipad-pro-keyboard-cases/
     
  10. 576316 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    #10
    Logitech's Keys-To-Go is a bloody amazing Bluetooth keyboard. I recommend them to everybody looking for a keyboard to use with their iPad. Literally can't say anything bad about it. Lasts absolutely ages on a single charge, not charged mine since December and still showing a full charge on the indicator. No perceived input lag, no connection delay. Thin, light, wipe-clean. Don't know what more you could ask for.
     
  11. akash.nu, Jul 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017

    akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #11
    I guess given my usage, I don't really see what the whole lag everyone complains about. Do you actually face typing delays while using a Bluetooth keyboard? And yes i agree, the thin and light bit is relative. I use a normal Anker Bluetooth keyboard that works fine for me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #12
    I just had a look at it. The keyboard doesn't have any head, isn't it a bit awkward to type?
     
  13. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #13
    I will note that the Brydge keyboard continues to be a compelling option - especially if you want a more laptop-like experience. My concerns are 1) durability with their hinges. I've owned cases like this in the past and the hinges have not held up in the long run. It's very difficult to engineer a hinge that is both cheap enough to use on a $129 keyboard, and light enough that it doesn't add considerable bulk and 2) that their keyboards are never available until the new iPad has been out for many months - ie. they aren't shipping the 10.5" compatible model until sometime this fall.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 24, 2017 ---
    That it attach to the iPad? That it provide some way to hold the iPad up?
     
  14. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #14
    This shouldn't be a problem as long as one uses a case for the iPad. Most cases have a method to prop the iPad up in various angles. In fact, I feel this method is more flexible to support various situations rather than a rigid keyboard connector.
     
  15. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #15
    The point is then you need to purchase a case as well, and the keyboard becomes yet another accessory you have to carry along separate from the iPad.
     
  16. blwade macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    #16
    My iPad is currently shipping, so I don't have real world experience with the ASK yet, but in an interesting twist, I ended up with one when I was attempting to buy a used Smart Cover...

    I'm not sure how much I'm going to like it, but since I have it, I'm going to give it a shot. I originally purchased the Brydge keyboard for a more laptop like replacement. (This keyboard does feel sturdy and really nice!) I've connected it to my phone and have done some test typing with it and it's arguable as good as a MBP (2015 edition - not sure about 2016). I didn't see any lag or missed letters with it for the short time I used it. I'm wondering if some of that comes as the battery is depleted more.

    As far as expense though, Brydge certainly isn't a much cheaper option..
     
  17. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #17
    But it comes with the added flexibility of being able to keep the iPad slim and keep the keyboard at home when not needed but also the iPad gets protected. Plus one can change the viewing angle while typing under various circumstances.
     
  18. 576316 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    #18
    Only an issue if you're not using a case which incorporates a stand...but Apple's own Smart Cover is cheap and does that.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 24, 2017 ---
    Nope. Once you're used to it (which really doesn't take long) it's pretty comfortable to type on. The keys are actually pretty tactile.
     
  19. JayMysterio macrumors 6502

    JayMysterio

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Rock Ridge
    #19
    One of my quirks is that I don't like my keyboard close to the screen. So I prefer a third party keyboard, for the distance I can have from my iPad.

    Home
    [​IMG]
    Away
    [​IMG]
    I'm also a big fan of that type of logitech keyboard. :p
     
  20. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #20
    I’ll echo the post above me on how great the Logitech K380 is. I’ve used it as a primary keyboard for work before. Now it lives in a drawer in the kitchen so I can use it with my 10.5” whenever I want. I had the ASK for a short time and I was torn on it. I loved always having it with me as an option, but I didn’t love the extra weight and bulk that it added. Since I would have used it maybe 10-25% of the time, combined with the bulk, and the cost, I decided it wasn’t worth it for my needs.
     
  21. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    u n k n o w n
    #21
    As for why so many people here love the ASK (myself included) over other keyboard options...
    • Smart connector = no need for charging the keyboard, instant-on
    • most integrated (for portability), thinnest, & lightest keyboard option for the iPad Pro
      The ASK is like the Smart Cover+(a better/larger version) Logitech keys-to-go
    • Easily to flip over or remove for working in "tablet mode".


    I have that for my iPad Mini 4. It's nice, thin, and light... but the keys are mushy and don't always register.
     
  22. spiderman0616 macrumors 68030

    spiderman0616

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    #22
    I had the ASK for my iPad Pro 9.7", and I have the new version for my 10.5". I have thoroughly loved both. It's partly because of how much I have hated every Bluetooth keyboard I have ever tried with any of my iPads, and partly because I feel like the ASK is a great experience in its own right.

    I have always hated Bluetooth. It's far too fiddly, and even when you get it to stop acting weird, it is still not very reliable in my experience. What's worse is that 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard makers always seem to want to play games with where they position certain keys--I've tried some real doozies. I actually took several formal keyboarding classes when I was younger and learned how to type "correctly" (about 75 wpm) I'm not about to adjust that because of a poor keyboard design decision. Also, I hate remembering to charge keyboards. They need it so seldom that you forget to do it until that moment when you really need it.

    The ASK is always there, is out of the way when you don't need it, doesn't require power, and doesn't have any keys in weird spots. (Though the arrow keys on the 10.5 are still a bit too small for my tastes.) I felt the 9.7" version was a bit cramped, but the 10.5" has made a huge difference for me. I wouldn't have an iPad Pro without it at this point. Furthermore, when I had my 9.7" Pro, I also kept a Smart Cover around too in case I didn't want to bring the keyboard somewhere. That never ended up being the case, so this time around I only bought the ASK and no Smart Cover.
     
  23. blwade macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    #23
    I have an Apple Smart Keyboard and a Brydge keyboard and these are my thoughts after using the two keyboards over the last couple of days..

    ASK:
    At first, I thought “Wow.. that’s really close to the screen!” and I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it. After using it for a while and switching back to the Brydge, I realized that this was a tremendous advantage. When switching between keyboard and touch, the distance to the screen on the apple keyboard is actually really nice. I also thought I wouldn’t like typing on the apple keyboard, but it has grown on me. I love that it’s easy to attach and for the most part it’s light and easy to carry around. After attaching the Smart Cover though, it feels monsterous and unwiedly to handle. The Smart Cover has magnets and will hold itself to the back of the iPad while the apple keyboard doesn’t quite do that well. So, if you are holding the iPad while the keyboard is attached and not using it as a keyboard, it can be a neusance.

    Brydge:
    This keyboard is phenomenal. I have no complaints about the way it feels or looks or how it holds the iPad. Typing on it is very similar to the experience I have typing on my 2015 MBP. I love that I have the option to have the back lit keys on and that it’s fairly easy to put on and remove when I don’t want to use the keyboard. That being said, it adds a lot of bulk. If you want to pick up and hold your iPad, you won’t want it attached to the keyboard. As I noted above in the ASK review, when using the Brydge keyboard, it was a little more cumbersome to switch between touching and typing.The screen is further away. I foun myself reaching for a track pad when I was using the Brydge keyboard. It definitely makes the iPad Pro feel like a laptop.

    I feel like for most of my daily uses, the ASK will actually win out and that surprises me. I’ve found ways to be creative in using the keyboard on my lap when I’m not at a desk.. the Brydge definitely has the ASK beat in the lap-use category. I’ll probably keep both. I bought the Brydge to use as a laptop replacement and will probably use it when I’m doing hardcore work with Remote Desktop (Jump Desktop + Citrix mouse).
     
  24. akash.nu thread starter macrumors 68040

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #24
    Ok whatever you guys are saying about the Apple Smart Keyboard, can be achieved by any Bluetooth keyboard. Also, what type of issues have you guys actually faced using a Bluetooth keyboard? I've never noticed typing lag and my speed is actually pretty good with it. Although writing is not really my full time job as such. Mostly my typing consists of emails and occasional reports and blogs.
     
  25. spiderman0616 macrumors 68030

    spiderman0616

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    #25
    Except the fact that the Apple Smart Keyboard never needs to be charged or paired.

    Also, my Bluetooth keyboards, and I've owned several, have always been finicky about whether or not they'll stay connected. I don't like having to do the un-pair/re-pair dance every time I want to send a quick email. And in some apps, there is definitely lag with Bluetooth.
     

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