Review: Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for 10.5” iPad Pro | iLounge

Review

Review: Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for 10.5” iPad Pro

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Logitech

Model: Slim Combo for iPad Pro

Price: $130

Compatibility: 10.5" iPad Pro

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Jesse Hollington

Logitech's Create iPad Pro Keyboard Case was basically the first Smart Keyboard available for the iPad Pro back in 2015 — ironically beating Apple's own Smart Keyboard, at least in terms of general availability. When Apple released the 9.7" iPad Pro six months later, Logitech naturally followed up its original Create with a refined version providing the same Smart Connector keyboard capabilities for the smaller tablet. Now, with the launch of Apple's two new iPad Pro models, Logitech has released a new variation on its classic Smart Keyboard cases in the form of Slim Combo, a version that features a detachable keyboard for more versatility.

Slim Combo for iPad Pro is available in versions for both the new 10.5” iPad Pro as well as the 12.9” iPad Pro; we expect the latter version should work with both the first- and second-generation 12.9” iPad Pro models, however we only received the 10.5” model from Logitech, so we’ll be looking specifically at that.

The first and most obvious difference between Slim Combo and Create is the fact that the new case features a detachable keyboard, providing the flexibility to use the iPad Pro by itself without being encumbered by the keyboard — one of our biggest concerns with Create was that it was generally awkward to hold the encased iPad Pro as a normal tablet, so we definitely liked the fact that Slim Combo addresses this. The case also includes a loop for keeping your Apple Pencil handy, which naturally is attached to the case side of the combination, rather than the keyboard side. In essence, Slim Combo lets you leave the keyboard in your bag or at home for those situations where you really don’t see yourself needing it, while still having the option of being able to attach it when you do.

Due to the detachable keyboard design, Slim Combo integrates a kickstand on the rear of the case rather than relying on the keyboard cover to provide a stand — a concept very similar to what we saw in Logitech’s Rugged Combo Kids iPad Case released for the educational market. Of course, this has the advantage of allowing your iPad Pro to be propped up even when the keyboard isn’t present, and the stand provides a 50-degree range of positions in landscape orientation, but can also be used to prop up the iPad Pro in portrait mode as well, making it useful for things like FaceTime calls.

Unfortunately, at 1.16 pounds (528g), Slim Combo adds more than double the weight to the 10.5” iPad Pro; your fully-encased device will come in at 2.2 pounds — slightly more than the 2.03 pound weight of Apple’s 12” MacBook. So despite the name, Slim Combo is actually slightly heavier than Logitech’s Create for the 9.7” iPad Pro, although of course this is offset by the ability to detach the keyboard and use the case by itself. The keyboard is naturally the heaviest part of the kit — we found the case-only portion of Slim Combo to be about the same as most other iPad cases. It’s worth noting, however, that Logitech has managed to shave about a fifth of a pound off in the 12.9” version of Slim Combo, as compared to the 12.9” Create.

We were definitely impressed with the keyboard on Slim Combo, which is fully up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Logitech, and like Create before it, also includes backlighting — three levels of it, in fact. The backlighting is a really nice touch in our opinion, and it’s really only practical on a Smart Connector keyboard, which of course draws power from the iPad Pro rather than relying on an internal battery. It’s a full-sized keyboard, and feels almost as natural to type on as a MacBook; although we’d be lying if we didn’t concede there’s still a noticeable difference, we’d certainly have no complaints about typing all day on the Slim Combo keyboard. Logitech also provides all of the usual shortcut keys here for controlling screen brightness, volume, and playback, going to the home screen or calling up Spotlight, or locking the iPad. Its basically the same keyboard layout as Create, however the slightly larger landscape width of the 10.5” iPad Pro allows the keys to be spaced out more, resulting in a more natural and less cramped feel when typing.

Unfortunately, while Slim Combo is an extremely versatile case, we’re not sure that the word “slim” is really the best way to describe it here — it’s not a thin case by any iPad case standards, and in fact is actually a few millimetres thicker than Logitech’s prior Create cases. To be fair, since there’s a limit to how thin you can make a keyboard — even moreso if you want it to be a good keyboard — we really can’t knock Logitech for the thickness of the case. Just keep in mind that when Logitech uses the word “slim” here, they’re talking about the keyboard more than the case — with the keyboard cover attached, you’re essentially quadrupling the thickness of your iPad. Again, however, like the weight this is offset somewhat by the ability to use the case without the keyboard, but since the case lacks any screen coverage without the keyboard acting as a cover, many users will still want to keep the keyboard attached when carrying their iPad Pro.

Logitech’s Slim Combo gets big points in our opinion for providing the versatility to easily switch between using your iPad Pro as a tablet and a more traditional laptop replacement. However,it’s still really targeted at those whose primary use is going to be in laptop mode and don’t mind dealing with the extra weight and bulk that’s rather ironically added by a case with the word “slim” in the name. That said, in our opinion Slim Combo really does improve on Logitech’s Create iPad Pro Keyboard case in almost every way — the relatively slight increase in weight and size is more than made up for by the detachable keyboard which makes the case significantly more versatile than Logitech’s prior offering. iPad Pro users who only occasionally have a need for a keyboard may be better served by any number of Bluetooth keyboard options, but if you’re looking to type regularly on your iPad Pro, Logitech’s keyboards remain second-to-none, and the Smart Connector provides for the really useful addition of backlighting and ensures that you’ll never have to worry about charging your keyboard or dealing with Bluetooth connectivity issues.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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