I held out before getting the Apple iPad Pro longer than I expected but finally gave in. I didn’t love the Apple keyboard case and opted for the ZAGG Slim Book for the Apple iPad Pro. The company was kind enough to send a review sample and I am thrilled! I love using this keyboard.
This keyboard case has the advantage of offering a large, comfortable keyboard while also protecting the iPad. The hard shell that snaps around the large tablet adds ever-so-little weight and bulk but means you can detach it from the keyboard base and still use the tablet the way it was initially intended: as a tablet. I reviewed and use the Slim Book for the iPad Air 2 and have been pleased with it. (My one caveat is that my initial review sample eventually cracked at the point where the iPad shell fixes to the keyboard.) ZAGG kept the design of this keyboard case pretty much the same but there is one great new feature. We’ll get to that a bit later in the review.
ZAGG describes the Slim Book Ultra-Slim Tablet Keyboard and Detachable Case for the Apple iPad Pro this way:
ULTRA-SLIM, ULTRA-VERSATILE: The ZAGG Slim Book wireless Bluetooth keyboard is the ultrathin solution to your mobile typing needs. Its unique hinge secures your tablet at virtually any viewing angle and allows for a convenient video and book mode, or folds flat for a protective case mode. The Slim Book is powered by one of the industry’s most powerful batteries that keeps it going for up to two years between charges.
*Regular use of one hour per day. Using the backlit feature will impact battery life and may require more frequent charging.
The case itself is a hard shell that simply snaps onto the iPad. It has cutouts in all the appropriate places so that all four speakers are open and the controls and ports are fully accessible. It doesn’t add a lot of weight and bulk but does offer serious scratch protection to the large tablet. Because it is a rigid material it won’t provide much drop protection but I do like knowing that my iPad is protected from scratches and other mild bumps it might encounter as it is used. It is worth noting that the design of this case does not provide a bit of “lay on the table” production. That means iPad screen is protected when connected to the keyboard and closed but is not protected at all when used in tablet mode.
The iPad and shell connect to the keyboard base via magnets that pull the two parts together. The hinge is on the keyboard side of things and is quite strong. It can position the iPad in relationship to the keyboard anywhere with 135° range. This happens to be strong enough to hold the iPad securely in any of those positions. As noted previously, it was at this point that my first review sample for the iPad Air 2 version cracked. My hope is that it was a temporary issue that won’t reappear with this keyboard case. Only time will tell.
The great thing about the design of the system is that it allows the Slim Book to offer four distinct modes. Here’s a gallery of the Keyboard, Video, Case, and Book modes.
As mentioned, just like a laptop, the keyboard’s unique hinge offers 135° of viewing angles. Unlike the keyboard case offered by Apple, when using the keyboard the iPad sits at the very back of the keyboard. In Apple’s iteration the keyboard for the iPad sits closer to it.
The only downside of this is that it creates a scenario where the keyboard is similar to a laptop. In itself that’s not an issue but I have found myself reaching for the trackpad more than once. It’s simply a matter of adjusting to it and, as luck would have it, when I switch back to my MacBook I find myself trying to touch the screen once again. That too is not an issue but if I were using my MacBook in a coffee shop I would feel rather silly. 🙂
The battery inside the keyboard is powerful. For some of the things that you were to use to power to date with the backplate off, you could get up to two years of run time per charge. Obviously that will be less if you use the keyboard more frequently or have the backlight on.
Inside the box you’ll find the keyboard and case, a micro USB to USB charging cable, and the owners manual.
I ended up having to turn to the owner’s manual to pair the keyboard for a good reason. Unlike many other keyboards, the slim book can be paired with three different devices. That means the one, two, and three keys double as the parent buttons for each of the places. This is designed specifically for use with Pro, being able to jump over and use the keyboard with your iPhone as well is a nice benefit.
Speaking of the keyboard, it’s great! It has large island keys that look and feel quite similar to the ones on the MacBook Pro. The keys make a bit more noise when typing quickly but I haven’t found that much of an issue. It has dedicated special function keys that make it easy to control media and a number of key iPad functions. There really was no learning curve for me when I went from using the keyboard on my computer to this one. Add in the fact that the keys are backlit and this is a keyboard case that you will love using!
Here’s my video review:
So as a keyboard case this does the job beautifully. And if that were it’s only functionality I would be quite pleased. Having the ability to detach the iPad from the keyboard base simply by pulling up on it is a huge added benefit however. It means I don’t lose the ability to use the iPad as an iPad but also get the “oh so close to full laptop functionality” that makes the iPad Pro a great option for someone looking to turn their tablet into a true productivity tool. I certainly can see traveling with this and only this on my next trip.
The keyboard has an MSRP of $139.99 but you can get yours here for $119.99. [Affiliate link]
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Spacious comfortable keyboard; iPad case protects nicely; iPad separates from the keyboard easily; Offers four different use modes; Keyboard pairs with three different devices at once; Tons of specialty keys.
What Needs Improvement: The version for the iPad Air 2 cracked after using it for a few months. I hope this doesn’t but it’s too early to know.