Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro Review Roundup: ‘The Gold Standard of iPad Keyboards’

Last week, Apple opened orders for the brand new Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro, which features a brand new keyboard design (compared to the Smart Folio Case for the same tablet lineup) and a built-in trackpad.

The first impressions are in: Apple’s iPad Pro Magic Keyboard reviews have started trickling out, and they all seem to agree that despite its weight and price tag, the keyboard is a well-designed, practical, and useful addition to the iPad Pro ecosystem.

Engadget‘s Chris Velazco praised the keyboard, saying that its addition finally turns the iPad into something it’s tried to be for a long time — a proper computer:

The Magic Keyboard might not be my ideal solution, and it’s pricey compared to some of the third-party options. But its technical elegance and the fact it draws inspiration from Apple’s much-improved MacBook keyboards, make this the best all-around option for being productive on your iPad Pro […]

The Verge‘s Dieter Bohn says that while the Magic Keyboard is indeed an incredible addition to the iPad Pro, it still doesn’t quite compare to the Microsoft Surface’s keyboard:

The Surface lets you tilt the screen to virtually any angle, even almost fully flat. The Surface also lets you flip the keyboard underneath so you can prop the tablet up to watch movies. When closed with the keyboard attached, the Surface is thinner. The Surface with its keyboard is lighter than the iPad with its keyboard. The Surface’s webcam is placed in the top center of the screen instead of off to the side […]

For all its faults, the Microsoft Surface feels like it was designed from the start to have a detachable keyboard. The iPad does not — and not even the very good Magic Keyboard can change that.

Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch said that the Magic Keyboard is leaps and bounds ahead of the Smart Keyboard Folio and makes the iPad Pro drastically more useable:

The new Magic Keyboard is as different from that device as the new MacBook Pro keyboards are from the low profile ones that dominated headlines over the last couple of years. It’s a huge jump forward in usability for the iPad Pro — and for last year’s model too […]

The Magic Keyboard offers a lovely, backlit deck that holds its own against the 16” MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air for best portable keyboards. The key travel is excellent — in between the two laptops in my opinion — and the feel is tight, responsive and precise. This is a first class typing experience, full stop […]

For typing, [the range of possible] positions should be just fine for the vast majority of users. And the solid (very high friction) hinge means that the whole thing is very sturdy feeling, even with more moving parts. I have been quite comfortable grabbing the whole assembly of the 12.9” iPad Pro plus Magic Keyboard by the deck of the keyboard and carrying it around, much in the way I’d carry a laptop. No worries about accidental floppiness or detachment […]

It’s also a laptop-class trackpad, proving that Apple’s engineering teams still have a better idea about how to make a trackpad that works crisply and as expected than any other hardware team out there […]

In conclusion, Engadget calls the keyboard a fantastic addition, despite its price tag:

The iPad Pro is a phenomenal tablet, and the Magic Keyboard makes it feel more like a bonafide computer than ever. Typing is a pleasure thanks to Apple’s updated scissor-switch keys, and the fact that its key layout is nearly the same size as the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s means acclimating doesn’t take long. The glass trackpad is a star, too, thanks in large part to improvements Apple made to iPadOS. That said, the iPad only has a 40 degree range of motion on its hinge so it’s not quite as flexible as a laptop, and we have questions about how well these keys will hold up to everyday grit and grime. If money is no issue, or if you’re just willing to splurge, the Magic Keyboard is the gold standard of iPad keyboards. Just know that it’s not ideal for every situation.

Apple’s Magic Keyboard costs $399/$449 for the 11-inch/12.9-inch versions in Canada.

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