It’s the early days of the iPad Pro, so there are currently only two choices for a Smart Connector accessory: Apple’s own Smart Keyboard and Logitech’s Create Pro. Since there are likely to be a lot of keyboards purchased (and subsequently returned) this season, I thought I’d add my two cents as someone who tends to work quite a lot on the iPad.
A lot of reviewers have put the two keyboards up against one another and listed off specs like key travel, backlighting, and iPad-specific shortcut keys. These are all valid points to examine as part of the purchasing decision, but I think there’s really only one thing that needs to be considered in this regard: weight.
Other reviewers have mentioned this before, but I think this factor is so important that it should be the driving force behind which keyboard you should pick.
The Logitech Create Pro weighs 1.5 lbs., which is just a little more than the iPad Pro itself at 1.6 lbs. Together, the pairing weigh 3.1 lbs., which is just a little more than a 13-inch MacBook Air. The Smart Keyboard, on the other hand, weighs just 0.72 lbs., or under half the weight of the iPad Pro.
That may not seem like much, but it does make a difference to the feel of your everyday carry. I acknowledge that the iPad Pro is a different class of tablet that’s better used on or against a solid surface, instead of carried in the hand. However, you will feel the difference between a 2.3 lbs. iPad Pro + Smart Keyboard combo and a 3.1 lbs. iPad Pro + Create Pro combo. I think that choosing to carry and iPad Pro around should be a more liberating solution weight-wise, and the Create Pro is akin to carrying a MacBook Air around. That’s exactly the kind of weight class I’m trying to leave behind.
I also love the Smart Keyboard because it embraces the tablet’s flexibility by making it very easy to detach at a moment’s notice, whereas the Create Pro forces the form factor of a laptop onto the iPad. I think that the strength of the tablet form factor lies in the different ways you can use and hold it: You can lie it flat on a desk, prop it up on a knee, or hold it in two hands while you walk around.
The Create Pro’s design limits that flexibility because of the way you lock the entire iPad into place. It’s not impossible to remove — but it’s a more involved process because you have to click the corners out of the case before you can remove the iPad, and I’d rather not have that friction.
The Create Pro looks gorgeous in product shots and Logitech does create some fantastic keyboards, but given the two choices right now, I would highly recommend Apple’s own Smart Keyboard. The iPad Pro’s lightness is one of the reasons it’s such a compelling machine to me, and doubling its weight by adding a keyboard just doesn’t strike me as a good option.
[The Smart Keyboard is unfortunately still very hard to get through the Apple Store, but you might want to check your local Best Buy if you’re in the US or Canada.]