Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) review & price

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Does Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) really work? Yes, finally, the Magic Keyboard lets you use your iPad Pro like a traditional clamshell laptop. It does exactly what it was designed to do, and it does it very well. I’m just not sure that it’s the right design in the first place. Get details in Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) review.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Extra USB-C charge port
  • Adjustable viewing angles
  • Responsive trackpad
  • Sturdy, relatively slim case
  • Spectacular keyboard feel
  • Great typing experience

CONS

  • Super expensive
  • Case has limited angles
  • Expensive
  • Uses some iPad battery
  • Won’t open up flat for folio-style tablet use
  • It’s heavy
  • Keyboard lacks extra row of function keys

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) Price

It’s also expensive, starting at $299 for the 11-inch version and $349 for the 12.9-inch version. (An entry-level iPad — yes, a complete iPad — will run you $329 before any discounts, for reference.)

Compatibility

The Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad is only meant to work with iPads. The size we got is only compatible with the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Gen) and the iPad Air (4th Gen). It’s different from the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, which is a standard keyboard designed for the Mac, but you can also use it with the iPad.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) review

Build

It’s made of rubber, textured plastic that feels pretty stiff. It flexes a little if you try to bend it, but it doesn’t flex during regular use. The ABS keycaps are shallow and stable, and the low-profile design helps reduce rattle. The back cover also feels nice and solid, with a smooth and durable-feeling hinge. Note that the cover magnetically attaches to the back of the iPad and doesn’t provide any protection around the sides.

Design

That balance probably comes partly from the Magic Keyboard’s most unique design element: the floating screen. 

After giving in and providing a clamshell design and a trackpad, leaving both the Esc key and a function row out seems obstinate. You will still be reaching (or swiping) up to the Control Center to manage essential functions all the time.

Firmly attached

It all works very well, and as you would expect from Apple, it works through magnets. The iPad very easily aligns with the Magic Keyboard and attaches firmly in place. It never felt like the device would fall off of the keyboard. And, thanks to the floating design it’s very easy to grab the iPad from the bottom and take it off.

Portable

According to my kitchen scale, then, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard weighs just shy of three pounds, about 25 percent heavier than the iPad Pro with the older Smart Keyboard. Three pounds is the same weight as the 13-inch MacBook Pro and heavier than the new MacBook Air.

Ports

There is a USB-C port on the side of the hinge, but it only does passthrough charging, not data transfer. That means if you plan to use an external display or USB hub with the iPad, you’re still stuck with dangling adapters off the side of the tablet. But it doesn’t seem to charge much slower than just plugging directly into the USB-C port on the iPad itself, and — more importantly — it’s much nicer to have a cable back and out of the way if you’re just charging.

Buttons

There are plenty of system-wide buttons that would be useful there! Music controls, volume, screen and keyboard brightness, home, multitasking, search: all things for which it would be convenient to have dedicated buttons.

Keys

The keyboard has 64 roomy, full-sized keys that use the same mechanism as Apple’s new laptops: scissor switches with a satisfying bit of throw that makes it easy to type quickly. The keys are subtly backlit without noticeable light leaking out from under or between them; you can alter the light level in settings. 

Backlight

It has excellent white backlighting. Each key is individually lit, and you can adjust the brightness using the slider in the iPad settings, found in General > Keyboards > Hardware Keyboard.

Trackpad

Trackpad support on iPadOS is great, by the way. The cursor is a little dot most of the time, but it quickly changes to a traditional text cursor when appropriate. It also expands out to become the size of UI elements like buttons or icons, sort of snapping to them when you get close. 

the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad is better than the Surface’s because it lets you click anywhere on the trackpad, not just in the middle or at the bottom. It’s also smooth, accurate, and there’s zero lag on iPadOS.

Beyond clicking, scrolling, and highlighting text, you can use the trackpad for navigating the system. You use three fingers to swipe up to home and multitasking — or left and right to switch between recent apps.

Tilt

You can tilt the screen from 90 to 130 degrees, which sounds fine on paper. But in practice, 130 degrees is not nearly enough. It can feel cramped, especially if you’re used to pushing a laptop’s screen back when it’s on your lap.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) Performance review

The keys, for starters, offer plenty of travel and a nice, tactile feel. Apple seems to have learned a lot about keyboards in the past few years — gone are the days when Apple aimed to build keyboards as thin as possible. 

The Magic Keyboard play into how easy it is to use in day-to-day life. The USB-C port for charging really does help, as does the angled design that makes it easier to grab and use the iPad as an iPad. That angled design helps in other ways too. It’s adjustable for different viewing angles, and while it does have limited angles, I found that it worked fine in most situations.

Thanks to the iPad’s mouse support, the trackpad is super helpful. That’s in stark contrast to the iPadOS of just a few years ago, which didn’t support a mouse at all.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation) customer review

An Almost Perfect Accessory to the iPad Pro

The iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard provides a laptop-like experience that’s unmatched by anything else in the market. Despite the Magic Keyboard being so far ahead of the competition, it does have its drawbacks that prevent it from being a perfect addition to the iPad.

The keyboard – it does incredibly well in terms of functionality. The keyboard is top-notch and feels as it should; natural. The keys are spaced out properly and give you the same exact experience you’d have on Apple’s other magic keyboards. The backlit keys automatically adjust their brightness, a feature I’ve come to love (I’ve never felt the need to go into settings to adjust them). A common criticism for the keyboard is the lack of function keys, which I’m sure is a disappointment to many. I will say, the iPad Pro makes it incredibly easy to adjust things like volume and screen brightness, if that is a concern to you at all.

The trackpad – it also shines, as it has a lovely feel to it when you move your fingers across it. With strong gesture support that I’m sure will be improved exponentially over the next update, I have to say the trackpad is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the Magic Keyboard. If I do have any critiquing, it’s that the trackpad feels somewhat small at times. Although I’ve adjust the trackpad speed, my finger still periodically slides to the top edge of the trackpad. A minor nuisance at best.

Construction – my main issue with the Magic Keyboard lies here. The polyurethane material that is used here does have a nice feel to it, but easily attracts oil from fingers, as well as being prone to scratches or dents. It’s also the same material found on Apple’s Keyboard Folio which is disappointing, due to the fact that you’re paying an incredibly high price for this product. The durability of this keyboard is highly questionable – especially if you’re someone that plans to take this keyboard out often and in different conditions. Look at online reviews of Apple’s Keyboard Folio after months or years of use to get an estimate of what your Magic Keyboard may look like over time.

Additional Thoughts – The USB-C port on the Magic Keyboard provides another charging option which is great, but it cannot detect any hardware being plugged into it. Disappointing? Yes, especially at the $350 price point. But if you feel like the single port on the iPad Pro itself is enough for you, then this drawback will be a bit easier to accept. In terms of overall weight, the Magic Keyboard with iPad Pro attached can feel a little hefty. I personally don’t mind it and I understand the need for the added weight. Lastly, the viewing angles are excellent. I’ve never felt the need to adjust it more than it’s capable of. I love using this keyboard on a table, and it’s pretty comfortable to use in my lap as well. You may experience a tip-over if you have the viewing angle at its max, or if you have the keyboard on your lap unevenly. Overall, I’ve found how to use it in various positions without it tipping over.

In closing – the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is what I and many other iPad users have been wanting since the release of the iPad Pro…or even the iPad itself. It gets a lot of things right and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it if you decide to get it – the iPad experience takes a large leap here. The price can be hard to justify, especially if you feel like it should be a perfect product at the $350 price point. In that case, I would recommend using Apple or 3rd party keyboards/trackpads to get similar functionality.

By ChrisC724 at Best Buy

Alternate of Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd & 4th Generation)

Logitech MX Keys

The Logitech MX Keys and the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021 are keyboards with low profiles; however, they’re for different uses. The Apple is a folio board meant to be used with the iPad Pro and iPad Air only, so it isn’t compatible with any operating system except for iPadOS. Also, it doesn’t have a USB receiver, Bluetooth, or a cable, so it can’t pair with any other devices since it only uses the Smart Connector to connect to the iPad. On the other hand, the Logitech is for office use, so it has a USB receiver, Bluetooth, and can pair with up to three devices at once. It’s much larger with a function row and a Numpad, and it’s compatible with many operating systems.

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