Back in June, I reviewed the Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for the 10.5” iPad Pro. I came away giving it a recommendation, in spite of a few flaws. It had a high quality keyboard, which I have come to expect from Logitech. However, the plasticy feel of the exterior didn’t completely match up with the expectations at that price point. The 10.5” version also ended up quite a bit thicker than it had to be thanks to a large amount of dead space between the keyboard and iPad screen, making it a bit awkward to hold.
I noted in my review that there were some differences between the 10.5” and 12.9” versions of the Slim Combo. However, since I didn’t have a review unit in that size at the time, there was no way I could go beyond Logitech’s written descriptions of the differences. Well, a few days ago I saw a 12.9” version of the Slim Combo on the shelf at my local BestBuy, and I decided to take a look for myself. I decided to write a separate review because there are actually enough differences between the two versions of the Slim Combo that my first one doesn’t adequately cover the 12.9” version.
While the 12.9” version of the Slim Combo has some striking differences, there are still plenty of similarities, both good and not so good. First off, it shares the same flexible hinged kickstand design with the 10.5” version.
I didn’t used to be a fan of this design, but I actually don’t mind it on either version of this keyboard case. The flexibility to choose any positioning angle makes it work well enough to still be useful in the lap, and it is perfect when used on a flat surface. In fact, the 12.9” version is even easier to use in the lap than the 10.5”, but more on that in a minute. Also, like the 10.5” version, the hinged kickstand adds a lot of value when using the iPad alone for media viewing thanks to its positional flexibility.
This version of the Slim Combo is also a split design, so you can separate the keyboard from the iPad case section when needed. It definitely makes the setup more versatile, as when you don’t need the keyboard and just want a case, you can simply pull the keyboard section off the Smart Connector. I like this design concept, but the execution isn’t as good as it could be. As with the 10.5” version, one issue is that you often have to do something with the keyboard section when you use the case without it. Unlike Apple’s Smart Keyboard, the Smart Connector section of the Slim Combo doesn’t allow for the keyboard section to fold back behind the iPad while remaining attached to the Smart Connector. You can keep the keyboard attached and hold the Slim Cover like a book, but that isn’t practical in all situations.
The 12.9” Slim Combo also has the same exposed sections as the 10.5” model on the right for speakers and charging (in landscape orientation), and on the bottom for the Smart Connector.
I found this to be one of the drawbacks of the 10.5” Slim Combo, and it is the same story here, as these gaps leave sections of the iPad exposed if dropped. However, I did find that the 12.9” version fits better in the hand because the case is a little slimmer and fits tighter to the body of the iPad.
The biggest positive similarity between the 10.5” and 12.9” Slim Combos is the keyboard. The key travel on both is a little more shallow than what I am used to with my Logitech K811 keyboard, but it still works very well. It has both a smooth key action and great feedback and response. The key spacing is also more than adequate, and the layout is standard, making it easy to touch-type on. It also has an adjustable backlight, which makes a lot of difference in a dimly lit room.
While there are many similarities, the differences that set the 12.9” version apart make it a superior product. First of all, the keyboard side of the case is flexible, rather than rigid as with the 10.5”. This makes the 12.9” version more versatile.
The keyboard itself is set close to the iPad, so the other half of that side of the case becomes a soft wrist-rest. Even better, this half can be folded underneath the keyboard, slimming the 12.9” version down to a size that is much more lap-friendly.
I much prefer the flexibility of this design, especially for the larger footprint of the 12.9” iPad Pro. Since I often use a keyboard with my Pro, this version of the Slim Combo and its unique keyboard design really work for me.
Another superior aspect of the 12.9” Slim Combo is how the interior padding for the screen is designed. The 10.5” version has a large rubber bumper that separated the screen from the keyboard, but the size of it contributed to the large amount of dead space between them, which lead to unnecessary thickness. This was the chief complaint about the 10.5” Slim Combo in most reviews, including mine. For the 12.9” version, Logitech went with raised rubberized edges on the sides of the keyboard as a barrier between the two.
These are much more shallow than the bumper on the 10.5” model, while still providing consistent contact with and protection for the screen. They allow for a much thinner profile, which means no unnecessary dead space or added thickness when carrying the iPad in this case.
The 12.9” Slim Combo is strikingly thinner than its counterpart, and honestly feels like a completely different product because of it.
While I recommended Logitech’s 10.5” Slim Combo Keyboard Case, I did so with some caveats. I don’t feel like I need to do that this time around. The 12.9” version of the Slim Combo is thinner overall and feels much better in the hand because of it. The versatility in how the keyboard is designed is a welcomed change, as well. The only remaining drawback is that there are a couple of gaps in the iPad case, which has a negative impact on drop protection. However, I feel like this is just something for potential buyers to be aware more of than enough of a problem for me to withhold a recommendation.
Overall, I am very happy with the 12.9” Slim Combo and will be keeping it for use as my primary keyboard case for the time being. It is far thinner and lighter than the ZAGG Slim Book I used with my previous gen 12.9” iPad Pro, offers a backlight and has a better keyboard than Apple’s Smart Keyboard, and is more practical than carrying around a separate Bluetooth keyboard all of the time like I’ve been doing with my newer iPad Pro lately. This version of the Slim Combo is definitely the better one of the two, and I it is definitely worthy of strong consideration for any 12.9” iPad Pro owner looking for a keyboard case.