Apple may no longer sell the 2015 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but there are still plenty of great hardware keyboards available for first-generation owners. They can help you pump out emails, spreadsheets, papers, and more, all while giving you easy access to your touchscreen.
Note: These cases are only confirmed to fit the 2015 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The 2017 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a different camera setup, and thus won't fit in some older cases. We'll have a separate roundup soon that focuses specifically on cases for the 2017 models.
- Apple Smart Keyboard
- Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case
- Razer Mechanical Keyboard Case
- ZAGG Slim Book
- Apple Magic Keyboard
Smart Connector Keyboards
If you want the simplest way to connect your iPad to a mechanical keyboard, the Smart Connector is hard to beat. You don't have to worry about Bluetooth, nor do you have to charge or connect your keyboard — it automatically pairs when you snap it to your iPad.
Unfortunately, these models come with a few drawbacks: They're often more expensive than a stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case, and even in 2017, there are really only two good options: Apple's Smart Keyboard, and Logitech's Create.
Apple Smart Keyboard
Apple's 12.9-inch full-size keyboard attaches to the iPad Pro using the Smart Connector and allows for charging and a two-way exchange of data—no Bluetooth required!
The $169 Smart Keyboard also folds into a slim, lightweight cover to protect the iPad Pro's screen when not in use. Its woven fabric keys do take a slight adjustment period, but as long as you don't mind the texture, you'll be typing away in no time.
Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case
Logitech's Create keyboard case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro offers an excellent way to type — even in low-light environments. The backlit keyboard attaches to the iPad Pro's Smart Connector for an easy powered connection, while the rear case protects your iPad from drops, scratches, and other scrapes. It is a bit heavy — the case and iPad combined weighs just over 3 pounds — but more than makes up for it with its feature set.
The $149.99 Create's biggest "pro" feature is its function row: It's the only Smart Connector keyboard to offer a full set of keys controlling screen brightness, play controls, search, and more.
Bluetooth Keyboards and Keyboard Cases
Though these keyboards have to be charged on occasion, they often offer a cheaper entry into the world of physical iPad keyboards, and are usually lighter and offer more viewing angles than their Smart Connector brethren.
Apple Magic Keyboard and Canopy Case
Apple's $99 Magic Keyboard is a simple choice for iPad users looking to type on their iPad, but not a poor one. For one, if you have an iMac, you likely already have a Magic Keyboard lying around. It connects via Bluetooth to your iPad, offering a half-pound typing option with a rechargeable battery that lasts over a month.
You can even pair it with a carrying case that doubles as a stand if you're interested: Studio Neat's $40 Canopy offers a synthetic canvas and microfiber stand that both protects your keyboard when not in use and sets up as a nice prop for working with your iPad at an angle.
ZAGG Slim Book
The $139.99 Slim Book from ZAGG takes a more traditional approach to connecting to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, eschewing the Smart Connector for Bluetooth. It can pair up to three devices at once, and you can detach the protective case from the keyboard at any time.
Because of that Bluetooth connection, the Slim Book does need to be charged via micro-USB; thankfully, a single boost of battery life should last up to two years, according to the manufacturer.
Keyboards we considered
There are a number of other keyboards for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro out there that we considered for this roundup, but inevitably discarded due to fit, finish, weight, or reliability issues. Those include:
Your favorite 2015 12.9-inch iPad Keyboard?
Are you planning to pick up one of these keyboards, or do you have a different one you love? Let us know in the comments!
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