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Logitech Slim Combo for iPad Pro review: Logitech's iPad Pro keyboard is a case study in trade-offs

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The Good Great-feeling keyboard. Comes with a back cover. Holds Apple Pencil. Multi-angle stand. Back case detaches from keyboard. Keyboard has backlighting and extra function keys.

The Bad Not lap-friendly at all. 10.5-inch version is hard to fit on a narrow table, and has a stiff plastic cover that adds bulk. Chunky design adds bulk to the thin iPad. (The 12.9-inch model has a better feel and narrower footprint in keyboard mode.)

The Bottom Line Logitech's versatile keyboard case is a lot less expensive than Apple's slim cover, but its thick two-piece design is better for desk use than lap-typing.

7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

I have one major need in an iPad keyboard: I need to be able to write wherever I go.

Logitech's made some of my favorite iPad keyboards: the Ultrathin, and the Create, which grew to stay on my 9.7-inch Pro full-time. Maybe, over time, Logitech's new-design Slim Combo case for the new iPad Pro seemed like the thing I needed to use the iPad as a useful laptop alternative. But, right now, after a few days, I'm frustrated. You will be too, if you're looking for a lap-friendly case… because this isn't.

But if you're buying a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Logitech's new case is great.

How can these both be true? Consider this an iPad Case Study.

The 10.5-inch iPad case has hits and misses

After a week with the Slim Combo on the iPad Pro 10.5, here's the good news: There's a great keyboard. It's backlit, and key travel is perfect. As a typing experience, this is the best keyboard, miles better than Apple's Smart Keyboard Cover. But it's no bigger than before: it's the same exact-sized keyboard that's on the Create 9.7 Pro case, with thicker sides.

logitech-slim-combo-03

The 10.5-inch Slim Combo's keyboard base feels huge.

Sarah Tew/CNET

And now, for better and worse, it's part of a two-piece case package. There's a plastic back cover with Pencil holder, and the keyboard magnetically snaps onto the bottom. The back case has a kickstand to keep the iPad up at any angle. It's like the case turns the iPad into a Microsoft Surface. There's a Pencil-holding loop, too. But the case, with keyboard lid closed, is really bulky.

That's fine for desk work, but it's completely lap-unfriendly; it borrows the worst design elements of the Microsoft Surface in that regard. The floppy-attaching keyboard and kickstand will barely rest on my legs. Better find a large, flat coffee-shop table, where this is meant to rest. Also, the wider keyboard base means a larger footprint, meaning a tighter fit for narrow airline trays and tiny coffee shop counters.

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