The iPad, even the iPad Pro (2021), isn't a laptop, but you can get darn close to that functionality if you have a good trackpad keyboard case. ZAGG's Pro Keys with Trackpad is one to consider. It features a removable case so you don't need to bring the keyboard folio when you don't need it. You can connect two devices via Bluetooth and easily switch between them with a touch of a button. The keyboard is nice and springy and features a row of keyboard shortcuts. The back of the folio case folds into a stand that accommodates various angles. While this isn't the smoothest keyboarding experience I've had, I did write this entire review on the ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad and my iPad Pro.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad: Price and availability
The ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad is compatible with the 11-inch iPad Pro (all three generations) and the 10.9-inch iPad Air. You can find it on ZAGG's website and at major big box stores and websites, including Amazon and Best Buy. The price is about $150, no matter where you buy it.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad: What's good
Anytime I can get away with taking my iPad Pro with me and leaving my heavier MacBook behind is a good thing. While I can't do 100% of my work easily on an iPad no matter what tools I use, this keyboard case gets me closer than ever. The trackpad makes all the difference since I don't have to touch my iPad's screen to scroll, select, copy, paste, and more. Not only does that save me time, but it helps keep my screen a lot cleaner!
I love the keyboard itself. The keys are definitely smaller than a laptop's keys, but they are nice and springy, almost clacky even, which I like. It's a comfortable typing experience. There is a whole row of shortcut keys at the top, such as volume/mute keys, forward/back/play/pause keys, emoji/keyboard keys, and more. Plus, since you have the trackpad, you can cut/copy/paste using normal keyboard shortcuts. You can cycle through a bunch of different colors and three brightness levels on the backlit keyboard.
Connect the keyboard to your iPad and iPhone at the same time.
A very cool feature of this keyboard is that you can connect it to two different devices, such as your iPad and iPhone, at once. You just tap the appropriate shortcut key two switch between them seamlessly. The keyboard's battery should last up to a year; it's easy to recharge via a USB-C port on one side.
The case is quite rugged and folds up folio-style when not in use for all-over protection. Fold the folio back, it is stable at several different angles so you can type or write on your screen as needed. Speaking of writing, there is a stylus holder that stores your Apple Pencil or ZAGG stylus. The case even has Sleep/Wake functionality for an instant "on" when you need to get to work. Don't need keys? Simply pop the case out of the keyboard for protection as you do your non-typing activities. Other nice touches include forward-facing speaker holes to direct the sound to you.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad: What's not good
I just wish the trackpad itself were more buttery-smooth. It just doesn't feel quite as natural as my MacBook Pro's keyboard. The trackpad does stick or lag sometimes and doesn't select text for copying and pasting as smoothly as I'd like. It does the job in the end, but it does feel a bit frustrating sometimes.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad: Competition
The obvious comparison is to the Apple Magic Keyboard. While it's substantially more expensive than the ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad, it does offer the "Apple experience" we know and love.
Another keyboard case you might consider is the Logitech Folio Touch for 11-inch iPad Pro. It has similar features to the ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad, but there are some differences that make it worth checking out. It also comes in a version for the iPad Air specifically.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You need a keyboard case with trackpad
- You want something less expensive than Apple's Magic Keyboard
- You want laptop-like experience
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You're really not going to use the trackpad
- It's out of your budget
- You want a super-smooth trackpad experience
This is a product to consider for the person who wants to use their iPad as a laptop-like device, particularly on the go. If you don't need that functionality, you can certainly get a decent keyboard case or standalone keyboard for a lot less money.
Though I found the trackpad disappointingly jerky at times, it does the job and it does give you a laptop-type experience. The ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad is certainly lighter to carry around than a laptop. The keyboard itself is quite nice, with multi-color backlighting, shortcut keys, long battery life, and a nice clacky feel. The case is also well-designed, protective, and sturdy. You can remove the keyboard folio and your iPad will still be protected in its case. You can even connect the keyboard to two different devices, and toggle between them with a tap of a button.
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