Need help deciding between smart cover vs smart keyboard for iPad Pro 9.7

212rikanmofo

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i just recently bought an iPad Pro 9.7 and really enjoy it. It's a new member to my Apple collection. I just bought the Apple Silicone case to protect the backside and now need something to protect the front. I can't decide between the smart cover or the smart keyboard. I already have a 12" Retina MacBook for the typical casual web surfing, chatting, email, facebook, youtube, plex etc, and a 27" iMac for productivity.

For those of you with the keyboard, how's the size on the smaller one for the 9.7 iPad Pro? Do you have problems typing on it? I really wish there was a trackpad and media keys to control volume and playback for music and video, and brightness, etc. Not sure if I should hold off and wait to see if Apple will make an improved smart cover.

I will be using my iPad around the house mostly, such as when I go eat at the table or take it with me when I go grab lunch of some drink somewhere. These accessories are expensive, $69 for the silicone case already, and then $49 for the smart cover and $149 for the smart keyboard. Don't know if I should spend the extra $100 and get the smart keyboard over the smart cover or what. Tough decision.

What do you guys think?
 

bigdog5142

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For me, the Smart Keyboard was worth it. I don't use the keyboard every day...but when I do...it's awesome to have. I tried the new Logitech Create for my 9.7 and I loved it...but it added so much bulk and I really enjoy being able to take the cover off and just use the iPad. The Create was designed to be on the iPad more than off of it, so taking it off and on was somewhat of a pain.

It really all depends on your usage. I'm typing on the keyboard right now and I am almost as fast with it as I am on a normal keyboard. Anytime I type longer text...I use the keyboard. The only downside is that it is somewhat unstable when used on anything but a flat surface. Trying to use it on my lap can be interesting. It easily falls over and/or loses connection with the Smart Connector.

I, however, did not go with the silicone case for the back of my iPad Pro. I went with an iCarbons skin that protects against scratches and keeps the small form factor. Put a Zagg Glass on the front and when coupled with the Keyboard Cover, it's a great setup for me. I also use the Apple Pencil and the screen protector doesn't effect it at all.

I had the smart cover and used a bluetooth keyboard...and while it worked...I like the Smart Keyboard Cover better. Since it's always with me and I don't have to worry about storing it...I find I use the keyboard more. BUT...it these questions are all about your usage. I use the iPad largely for media and internet and book consumption...but I find that I can leave my Macbook Pro (15, early 2011) behind more often than I used to with the keyboard always with me. I can get more work done than I could before.

That's my $.02.
 
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212rikanmofo

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Thanks for your thoughts, I am leaning towards the smart keyboard cover, but one thing that I don't like is you can't fold it to the low typing angle as you can with the smart cover, or can you?

Can you fold it like this with the smart keyboard cover

 

bigdog5142

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Thanks for your thoughts, I am leaning towards the smart keyboard cover, but one thing that I don't like is you can't fold it to the low typing angle as you can with the smart cover, or can you?

Can you fold it like this with the smart keyboard cover

No. I assume that's because since you have the keyboard all the time...why would you use the iPad in a keyboard position like this? I suppose some would like that for viewing/browsing. I don't see a way for this stand configuration.
 

bigdog5142

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Actually...I did just figure that out...you can. It's not the most stable, but it's possible. Takes a little figuring out...
 

BeatCrazy

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I also have the 12" MacBook for times when I need to do more serious surfing or typing from the couch (and of course Mac Pro/mini for "real" work ha). But I do just fine with the smart cover, not keyboard. For me, the IPP should be almost as portable as an iPhone. Once you add the keyboard to it, I might as well grab my MacBook.
 
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bigdog5142

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I also have the 12" MacBook for times when I need to do more serious surfing or typing from the couch (and of course Mac Pro/mini for "real" work ha). But I do just fine with the smart cover, not keyboard. For me, the IPP should be almost as portable as an iPhone. Once you add the keyboard to it, I might as well grab my MacBook.
I fully agree with you. However, the Smart Keyboard Cover is the best of both worlds. I HATED all other keyboard covers (too bulky, heavy, etc). This gives me the ability to have a keyboard when I want it...and keeps it completely portable.
 
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212rikanmofo

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Hrmmm such a tough choice to make guys...

I do kinda agree with this though:

For me, the IPP should be almost as portable as an iPhone. Once you add the keyboard to it, I might as well grab my MacBook.

Sigh, I don't know... Deciding between these 2 covers and whether or not I should get the Apple Pencil.
 

Night Spring

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Jul 17, 2008
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Can you get both to try and keep the one you like?

Personally, I use my 12.9 iPP with just a back case and the onscreen keyboard. But the onscreen keyboard on the 12.9 is more comfortable to type on than the 9.7. So I can't really offer any insights into the 9.7 Smart Keyboard.
 

212rikanmofo

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I rather just think it through and get it right the first time... can you draw with the smart keyboard? Can it fold back and lay flat on the table like the smart cover or would I have to remove it completely?

I want to avoid putting it on and taking it off so many times because I heard the magnet will wear out the space gray coating on the iPad. I thought the magnet connector has some kind of soft material to prevent this?
 

Night Spring

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Jul 17, 2008
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I rather just think it through and get it right the first time... can you draw with the smart keyboard? Can it fold back and lay flat on the table like the smart cover or would I have to remove it completely?

I want to avoid putting it on and taking it off so many times because I heard the magnet will wear out the space gray coating on the iPad. I thought the magnet connector has some kind of soft material to prevent this?
It can fold "flat," but it does have a bit of a step or bump in thickness where the keyboard is. I also think the keyboard side is exposed when you fold it back.

The magnet scratching the iPad coating was a problem with the earliest smart covers. That happened even if you almost never removed the things! More recent smartcovers have soft material to prevent the scratching, and I believe the Smart Keyboard does, too.

I appreciate your desire to think things through first, but sometimes no amount of thinking replaces actual experience. I thought about how I'll use my iPad Pro before I bought it, and decided not to use the Smart Keyboard or the Smart Cover, but I thought I'd use my existing Bluetooth keyboard for typing longer text. Turns out I hardly ever use the Bluetooth keyboard. I'm glad I didn't buy a new keyboard, but if I had, I wouldn't have realized I didn't use it before the return period ran out.
 

212rikanmofo

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Thanks for the info! I think I'll just get a smart cover instead... I believe an iPad should be truly lightweight and portable, plus I already have a 12" macbook if I need to type or do anything productive. I see no point in having 2 small devices with a keyboard.
 

playaproved

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Sep 29, 2005
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I picked up both. My main intention was I don't ever intend on traveling with my MBP again.

For everyday use, I put the Smart Cover on and take my iPP with me. When I'm going on a trip or I know I'll need to type during a meeting/seminar, I'll bring the Smart Keyboard.

I do handwrite a lot of notes in notability on a regular basis, rather than typing them out.
 

The Game 161

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I think the keyboard is more suited to 12.9 personally so I,would go for Smart Cover but your choice of course :)

My girlfriend has the 9.7 pro and I can't imagine using the keyboard on it compared to what I have for my 12.9
 

im_to_hyper

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Aug 25, 2004
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Which option did you choose? I love my Smart Keyboard. I have a tempered glass screen protector that I keep on the front, so even if the Smart Keyboard isn't covering it, I still have some protection.

I'm also considering the possibility of getting a second Smart Cover just to A) have if my mood changes B) use if I need more portability and less typing ability.

Thanks for the info! I think I'll just get a smart cover instead... I believe an iPad should be truly lightweight and portable, plus I already have a 12" macbook if I need to type or do anything productive. I see no point in having 2 small devices with a keyboard.
 

Traverse

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This probably won't help you at all, but I have both. :oops:

I love the Smart Cover because of its simplicity. It's light, easy, and makes a great way to have some basic protection when you carry your device around and keeps you from having to set your device directly on a table (though i use the opposite way so the fiber part isn't touching nasty surfaces). It has better viewing angles than the Smart Keyboard and is more sturdy when used to prop the iPad upright in my opinion. I love it but it's overpriced.

The Smart Cover is noticeably heavier and more clunky. I wouldn't want it on all the time, especially when I'm just carrying the iPad around and using it for casual use. However, it's the best iPad keyboard I've every used. It's so simple - just snap and use - no batteries, low profile, and great tactile feel. It's the first iPad keyboard I've stuck with and I've used it to write many many pages of text.

So - Cover for casual use - keyboard for productivity.

If I could only choose one, I'd choose the Smart Keyboard since it acts as a cover *and* keyboard, but I'd miss the standard Smart Cover.
 

Spankey

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I really look at the keyboard as more of a tool than an actual cover. Use it when on the go and absolutely need a keyboard and you don't have a laptop. For all other times use the smart cover.

An Apple Pencil is used much more than the keyboard in my use. I take notes on it during meetings and once at my desk go back and type in what I need on either my Mac or MacBook.
 

The Game 161

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I really look at the keyboard as more of a tool than an actual cover. Use it when on the go and absolutely need a keyboard and you don't have a laptop. For all other times use the smart cover.

An Apple Pencil is used much more than the keyboard in my use. I take notes on it during meetings and once at my desk go back and type in what I need on either my Mac or MacBook.
You have both the Smart Cover and keyboard?
 

Traverse

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How do you do that? Doesn't it collapse if you fold it with the smooth side out?
When using it flat, I just put it on backwards so that the soft fibre is along the back of the iPad. Surprisingly though, no. I use inverted for both the low viewing angle and the upright viewing angle (the smooth side out) and it's still sturdy. Not quite as much so sometimes it falls when writing on the low viewing angle, but not often.

The newer ones work much better inverted than the original cover.
 

Night Spring

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When using it flat, I just put it on backwards so that the soft fibre is along the back of the iPad. Surprisingly though, no. I use inverted for both the low viewing angle and the upright viewing angle (the smooth side out) and it's still sturdy. Not quite as much so sometimes it falls when writing on the low viewing angle, but not often.

The newer ones work much better inverted than the original cover.
The Smart Covers I've had didn't stick to the iPad if you tried putting it on backwards. Though come to think of it, I've used the Smart Case for Air 1 and 2, so last time I had a Smart Cover was with the iPad 3. Hmmmm, wonder when this changed? I'll try it the next time I go by an Apple Store. Currently, I'm using my 12.9 Pro with just a back case and screen protector. i felt having both front and back cover/case made the iPad a tad too heavy for me, and I decided I'd rather protect the back than have an always-there stand.
 
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Traverse

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The Smart Covers I've had didn't stick to the iPad if you tried putting it on backwards. Though come to think of it, I've used the Smart Case for Air 1 and 2, so last time I had a Smart Cover was with the iPad 3. Hmmmm, wonder when this changed? I'll try it the next time I go by an Apple Store. Currently, I'm using my 12.9 Pro with just a back case and screen protector. i felt having both front and back cover/case made the iPad a tad too heavy for me, and I decided I'd rather protect the back than have an always-there stand.
I think it worked better when they moved to the fabric magnet versus the old metal one.
 

sracer

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Apr 9, 2010
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I also have the 12" MacBook for times when I need to do more serious surfing or typing from the couch (and of course Mac Pro/mini for "real" work ha). But I do just fine with the smart cover, not keyboard. For me, the IPP should be almost as portable as an iPhone. Once you add the keyboard to it, I might as well grab my MacBook.
We all have different needs and wants but I don't think that traveling with both an rMB and a 9.7 iPP is a great option for most people. Yes, there is some segment where that makes sense, though.

With my 12.9 iPP + ASK, I have been able to replace both my MBA and iPad Air 2. Jump Desktop + Citrix X1 mouse on the iPP allows me full use/access to my iMac and Mac Pro when I need to do "real" work. I can see where that might not be as viable on the 9.7 iPP.


I fully agree with you. However, the Smart Keyboard Cover is the best of both worlds. I HATED all other keyboard covers (too bulky, heavy, etc). This gives me the ability to have a keyboard when I want it...and keeps it completely portable.
I agree. The ASK is the thinnest, lightest keyboard cover available for any tablet (that doesn't have an built-in kickstand). It can be folded back to use the iPad in "tablet" mode, but it can also be removed, reversed, and reattached so that the outside of the cover is facing out. (this is an old trick that I use with my Surface TypeCovers)

And... there's a difference between keyboard COVERS and keyboard CASES.
 
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