I really wanted to like the Smart Keyboard, but I can’t fold the keys out of the way and just use it as a stand, I don’t like the feel of it, I find it loud compared to the other keyboards I use, and I don’t like the feel of the keys when it’s folded backwards. So I’m keeping the Smart Folio and returning the keyboard. I’ll just use one of the keyboards I already own with it.
I bought both because I knew I would switch you--on the go I take the keyboard and around the house I use the regular folio. So far it has worked out very well.
I will say this... Sometimes I go out with the keyboard and DON'T need to use it for certain tasks, mainly meaning I am using the Pencil to highlight PDFs. I actually end up taking the keyboard cover entirely off... When it flips around, the keys are exposed and it is not fun to handle.
If I am absolutely sure I won't need a keyboard I take it out with the regular folio. The keyboard folio is great if you need a keyboard really badly... Otherwise it is a nuisance (but I felt the same way about the old keyboard case too).
Get the Smart Folio and spend the £100 you save on a decent Bluetooth keyboard; that’s what I’ve done.
The benefits of the attached keyboard are really just stability in my experience. I haven’t suffered lost key strokes due to the keyboard sleeping that some people report. Currently I use a Logitech K810, but I’m planning to get an even more compact keyboard for out and about.
I like the keyboard folio as well. It’s very stable (surprisingly so) using as a stand on my lap, and also provides a physical keyboard to type on. I’m not a big fan of virtual keyboards. I can use them but I don’t particularly like having to look at the keys in order to type without a bunch of errors. So the keyboard folio is perfect for me.
I didn't like the keyboard on the 10.5, tried and returned. However, I love it on the 11. Feels more stable, good keys and I can very comfortably touch type. The keys are a little loud though... I like the two angles, but miss not being able to prop it up it a shallow angle (like you can with the folio). Doesn't add too much weight.
I have also purchased the Ztotop folio case which is pretty much identical to the Apple folio but a third of the price so will have this option if I know I won't need the keyboard.
The new Keyboard folio is a big improvement over the old one. It really feels like it adds very little additional bulk to the device (really - with the folio closed you have to look closely to even notice the difference between the front and back), yet you always have a functional keyboard at a moment’s notice. It’s also the only truly slim keyboard attachment I’ve used that is stable on any surface, including your lap (looking at you Surface devices).
On the 10.5 I swapped between the cover and keyboard regularly. I didn’t like doing that, but that fold over bump and added weight kind of forced it.
On the 11, I bought both as well but have not been swapping out at all. I think I may actually return the Smart Cover portfolio and keep the keyboard.
The keyboard is now more balanced. No more origami folds which takes away some added weight as well. It is solid, previous versions were a little floppy. I could be wrong, but I think the complaints on the typing noise may be coming from those coming from a standard type keyboard used to a longer travel in the keys. That muscle memory may have you clicking the keys harder which will make it noisier. I have one of the newer keyboards on my MacBook Pro, the key travel is the same, so I’m not getting the clicking.
I love that it now offers front and back protection. It always drove me nuts that Apple offered no rear protection at all on the 10.5. The other complaint people have is that you can’t prop it like you can with the smart cover, but keeping it up in keyboard mode works just as good and will never tip over.
My suggestion is buy and try both, and return the one you don’t want.
If I’m leaving it on my desk at work i use the keyboard folio. But if im using it in my lap i switch to the plain. Theres a way to hold the keyboard one so your hand is on the bottom under the keys, but it makes it top heavy. I actually really like using iMac bluetooth keyboards with ipads. My briefcase is big enough for ipad, imac keyboard, and MacBook Pro
Definitely will get the smart folio. I never use an external keyboard with my iPads. I much prefer using the virtual screen keyboard if I need to type something. Plus the smart folio is thinner & lighter.