Can an iPad really replace a laptop? That doesn’t just depend on the iPad itself. While the iPad Air and iPad Pro offer great performance, they themselves are basically just big, beautiful displays. If you really want to use the iPad as a laptop replacement, you’ll need some accessories. This is where Apple‘s Magic Keyboard comes to the rescue.
But the Magic Keyboard is not cheap. Quite the opposite – you’ll have to shell out an impressive $300 for a small model that supports the iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Pro, and if you want the big 12.9-inch model, you’ll have to raise the price to $350. There you go, for the same price as an entry-level iPad, you can buy… a keyboard.
It’s worth it.
Everything you could want in an iPad keyboard
There’s not much to dislike about the Magic Keyboard, other than the price. It’s versatile, pleasant to the touch, and allows you to easily switch between different modes of operation.
Let’s start with the keys and trackpad themselves. They are great. Apple seems to have learned a lot in the last few years, since the days of the ultra-slim MacBook Air keyboard that doesn’t require you to move around. Today, the MacBook keys have good stroke and feel natural when typing – and the iPad Magic Keyboard shows this well. With the trackpad, Apple has gone a different route. I don’t remember a period when MacBook trackpads were subpar-they’ve always been incredible, and the Magic Keyboard trackpad is no exception to that rule.
But there are other details beyond the physical keys and trackpad that make the Magic Keyboard a great option. Apple’s use of magnets in its latest products has changed the way many devices are used. With the Magic Keyboard, all you have to do to attach your iPad is to place it in the right place. Then, when you want to use it as a keyboard again, just remove it. Simple. The only downside to this is that when you use the device in tablet mode, it doesn’t have a case – but you’ll get used to using the Magic Keyboard as a case when the iPad isn’t in use.
Apple has even come up with a great charging solution. The Magic Keyboard has a built-in USB-C port that you can use to charge your iPad without using the built-in iPad port. It’s a charging-only port, so you won’t be able to use it with accessories, but it’s still great for that purpose.
Because the Magic Keyboard has a stiff leg, it works great even when typing on your lap.
Perhaps the only real drawback to the Magic Keyboard is that it is quite heavy. The 11-inch model weighs 1.3 pounds, which is heavier than the iPad itself. Together, the two devices are heavier than the MacBook Air, even though it’s smaller. If you combine the 12.9-inch iPad and the keyboard, it’s even heavier. But with such a small size, it’s easy to forget about weight.
To be clear, I would never advise those who are tight on funds to buy Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It’s overpriced, and regardless of the quality of the accessory, if you don’t have the extra money, there are plenty of high-quality alternatives that can help you get the job done without resorting to an iPad on-screen keyboard.
For example, you can buy the Brydge Pro+ iPad keyboard, which comes with a trackpad. Or you can buy the Logitech Folio Touch, which boasts excellent protection. Or, if you want to stay on the manufacturer’s side, buy the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, which doesn’t have a trackpad but is quite nice to the touch.
However, if you have the money, the Magic Keyboard is the way to go.