Apple’s latest commercial for the iPad Pro highlights the fact that the tablet is powerful enough, and apps sophisticated enough, that it can replace a laptop. I’m not convinced I can go without a laptop, but the ZAGG Slim Book for the Apple 10.5-inch iPad Pro certainly moves the productivity of the iPad Pro in that direction.
I’ve reviewed previous iterations of the ZAGG Slim Book and have always been impressed. The flexibility of its design, its fantastic battery life, and the superb typing experience on the keyboard combine to make this $119.99 keyboard case one of the best options if you want a keyboard case for the iPad Pro.
Inside the box, you get the Slim Book, a charging cable, and a quick start guide.
Style and Strength: The stylish Slim Book includes a fabric weave exterior, black matte frame, and satin black keys. Not only does it look great in any environment, the stiff rubber overmold absorbs impact and can withstand drops up to one meter. And the spill-proof fabric exterior doesn’t show wear and tear, so you can look professional in the office, even if you’ve been working in the wild.
The Slim Book itself, however, is two pieces that work together to give you maximum flexibility. Both pieces have the same fabric weave exterior and matt frame. This not only translates to more protection but also makes the Slim Book easier to hold.
The first half of the Slim Book is the shell. Made of simple black plastic, the iPad Pro snaps into it and, once placed, stays put until you decide to remove it. The shell offers complete protection of the iPad’s sides and back but not of the screen. That’s because the shell sits flush with the surface of the iPad and offers no lay-on-the-table protection. This design does, however, allow you to have a true tablet experience when using the iPad that way. For those who are concerned about the screen, I should note that it is compatible with ZAGG’s InvisibleShield screen protector.
There is a cutout for the 3.5mm headphone jack. (Yes, Apple has not yet removed the port from their iPad line.) It also has a cutout for the Lightning connector, the two microphones and the camera and flash. These cutouts are sized just large enough to allow the necessary access without exposing more of the iPad than is necessary. The four iPad speakers are now along the top and bottom edge of the iPad. This means the shell only has to offer a slight gap between the iPad and the case to let the sound flow. This too means more of the iPad is covered than was previously necessary. The power and volume buttons are covered, but the molded plastic makes them easy to find and control through the shell.
New to this Slim Book, as opposed to the ones I previously reviewed, is the docking area for the Apple Pencil. It is a nice touch and means that your Apple Pencil will always be within reach. It does, however, mean that one side of the shell is a bit more awkward to hold than the other.
But, while the dock for the Apple Pencil is nice, the fact that the Apple Smart Connector on the side of the iPad is covered is a bit of a bummer. I have a stand that uses this connection and, sadly, it is currently unusable unless I remove the iPad from the shell.
The second part of the Slim Book is the keyboard.
At the rear is the Slim Book’s adjustable cradle hinge. This meets with one of the sides of the shell and locks the two parts together. The cradle is designed to hold the iPad at whatever angle you choose.
That’s accomplished by having the hinge loose enough that it can be adjusted but strong enough that, once set into the desired position, it will remain at that angle. It works well and lets you have the iPad at the optimal angle for viewing.
I had an issue with a previous version of this case when using it with an old generation iPad. In that case, the meeting point between the shell and keyboard was a bit too thin. After a period it broke and rendered that Slim Book was unusable. With the version for the 10.5” iPad Pro, they seem to have resolved that issue. I’ve been using it for a while and see no sign of any issue developing.
Multi-Device Pairing: You’re a multi-faceted multi-tasker, and you need your tablet to be as versatile as you are. Slim Book’s multi-pairing capability lets you connect to two devices simultaneously, like your phone and your tablet, and then toggle back and forth between them.
The keyboard pairs to the iPad over Bluetooth in the standard way. You turn on the keyboard, press the pairing button and then connect via the iPad’s settings. A nice added feature is the ability to pair two different devices to the keyboard. That means you can use the same keyboard to type on your iPad or your iPhone and can switch between the two with the tap of a button.
The keys themselves are a pleasure to use. They are nicely sized, employ an “Island” design for easy typing and have just the right amount of play. They are, of course, backlit so you can get your work done at any time of day. There are a dedicated number and specialty character row AND a special function row above that. This top line of keys include the multi-pairing buttons, a Home button, media controls and more. It is, in fact, a no-compromise keyboard that you will happily use for serious productivity. Perhaps best of all, ZAGG indicates that the keyboard can get up to two years of use on a single charge.
- Device Compatibility: 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- Battery Life: 2 Years
- Backlighting: Yes
- Multi-Angle Viewing: Yes
- Multi Pairing: Up to 2 Devices
- Detachable Case: Yes
- Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty
- Weight: 1.43 lbs
- Dimensions: 10.08″ x 7.76″ x 1.09″
- Tablet Function Keys: Yes
- Laptop-Style Keys: Yes
- Language Options Available: Yes
- InvisibleShield Friendly: Yes
- Materials: Polycarbonate Case, Polyurethane Cover
- Hinge Mechanism: Magnetic Cradle Hinge
So far we have seen that the Slim Book for iPad Pro 10.5 offers a nice protective shell that keeps your Apple Pencil handy and a backlit keyboard that is fantastic for typing. There is one additional aspect of this iPad accessory that is important to highlight.
As Versatile As You Are: Slim Book’s detachable case increases your options for how and where you use your device.
One of the things that make the iPad such a powerful tool is its versatility. It can be used as a tablet for gaming, as a screen for viewing video or as a laptop replacement when paired with a keyboard. The ZAGG Slim Book lets you take advantage of this flexibility by offering four distinct modes of use.
- Keyboard Mode Keyboard: Type with the keyboard attached, or detach it and continue typing comfortably on another surface.
- Case Mode Case: Detach the keyboard and use the case to protect your iPad when you’re reading, watching a video, or just carrying it with you.
- Book Mode Book: Store your keyboard safely inside the Slim Book when you want to relax and read the next chapter in your favorite book.
- Video Mode Video: Use the keyboard as a stand when watching videos by detaching the case and re-attaching it facing away from the keyboard.
For the first few months, I had my 10.5” iPad Pro I used a simple case. It did a great job protecting my iPad but had some shortcomings. Since the cover was not detachable, it was a bit heavy and was cumbersome to hold. And, since it did not have a keyboard, it meant my iPad was more a consumption device than a productivity tool. With the ZAGG Slim Book, I can use my iPad as a tablet and hold something that is just slightly heavier than the iPad itself. I can also use my iPad as a laptop replacement and, while there are still things I prefer to do on a computer, the iPad fills much of my day-to-day computing needs quite nicely. And, since I can flip the iPad around and use the keyboard to access “Video Mode,” I don’t need an iPad stand for handsfree viewing. The typing experience is excellent, and the battery life can’t be beaten. It’s a great product. If you use your 10.5” iPad Pro for serious work, I highly recommend it. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the ZAGG Slim Book for Apple iPad Pro 10.5
What I Like: Delivers four different modes of functionality with each of them working well; Shell has a holder for the Apple Pencil; Keyboard is backlit with comfortable keys and a host of specialty keys; Great battery life; Multi-pairing means it will also work with your phone
What Needs Improvement: So far, nothing