Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro Review: Transform Your Tablet | Digital Trends

Apple Magic Keyboard (11-inch iPad Pro 2020)

“For many users, the Magic Keyboard transforms the iPad Pro into a true laptop alternative.”

  • Tactile, exact typing expertise
  • Responsive trackpad
  • Perfectly weighted for desk or lap use
  • Genuinely will increase productiveness on iPad Pro
  • An costly accent
  • Screen angle adjustment is proscribed

These phrases are being written to you on a Magic Keyboard hooked up to an iPad Pro. It’s the third full product evaluation I’ve written utilizing Apple’s new keyboard accent for the iPad Pro (2020), totaling at the least 7,000 phrases, because it arrived a couple of week in the past. I’m additionally, at this second, typing with the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard on my lap, fairly than at my desk.

Does all this imply that the iPad Pro has discovered the accent that basically can flip it right into a laptop computer various? While which will nonetheless be a stretch, it has definitely by no means been nearer. I’ve lived with the iPad Pro with and with out the Magic Keyboard for a number of weeks now, and may confidently say this keyboard rises above any prior competitor.

Here’s what it’s like, and in the event you haven’t selected whether or not to purchase a brand new iPad Pro but, check out our review of the iPad Pro (2020).


The weight of the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro strikes you the second it arrives. Even within the field, it’s a heavy factor, and as soon as unpacked is definitely heavier than the iPad Pro itself. I’ve been utilizing the 11-inch model with the 11-inch iPad Pro, and collectively they weigh 2.34 kilos, which is barely a hair lighter than the 2020 13-inch MacBook Air. Don’t purchase this mixture in the event you’re wanting to save lots of weight in your bag, as a result of it received’t actually do this.

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This heft provides you reassurance. It doesn’t really feel flimsy in any method, which makes it well-suited for the lap. There’s no annoying flex to decelerate your typing, and the closely dampened hinge retains the pill securely within the place you select. With weight comes the air of high quality, and whereas that wouldn’t be welcome within the iPad Pro itself, it’s within the keyboard. Closed, the package deal is about 19mm thick, whereas the 2020 MacBook Air is available in at 21mm thick.

Because of present restrictions, I’ve not had the possibility to hold the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard round in my bag a lot, so I can’t touch upon its suitability as a commuting instrument, however I’ve no purpose to doubt it will likely be a handy companion. What I do know is the fabric the keyboard case is made out of — a pleasingly tactile, soft-touch plastic — will decide up all of the lint, mud, and crumbs on the backside of your bag. It already picks up sufficient muck and fingerprints simply by sitting at dwelling, and can inevitably get extra grubby when it’s lugged round.

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The Magic Keyboard is roofed in magnets. A set on the higher half holds the iPad Pro in place, and regardless of not protecting all the again of the pill, it does so with limpet-like gusto. There is completely no hazard of it slipping or falling off, even with extreme shaking. Opening the case is straightforward, and the higher panel rapidly locks itself into place. You then set the viewing angle as much as 130 levels.

Again, as soon as set, it’s not going wherever, however I did discover I needed it to go just a bit additional again for a extra dramatic viewing angle than it may accommodate. There’s additionally no method to make use of the iPad Pro “on its own” with the Magic Keyboard case hooked up. It doesn’t fold round on itself to turn out to be a 2-in-1 type machine. If you wish to do tablet-y issues, it’s a must to take away it from the case first. The Magic Keyboard is designed to show the iPad Pro into one thing as near a laptop computer as attainable, and it doesn’t deviate from that in any respect.

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The Magic Keyboard’s floating design seems cool, all of it holds collectively prefer it’s one cohesive product fairly than a hybrid of two. The stable physique can also be completely weighted and balanced for use in all seated conditions. It’s a superb product, and to think about it a lowly accent is a disservice to the work that has gone into getting all this precisely proper.


Whether in your lap or in your desk, the Magic Keyboard is a delight to sort on. The keys have 1mm of journey, and if that doesn’t imply a lot to you, I’ll say that every one it is advisable to know is that they really feel nice. I managed to overlook Apple’s keyboard wilderness years, and the Magic Keyboard varieties like an evolution of the keyboard on my beloved 2014 11-inch MacBook Air. There was no interval of adjustment wanted, I simply sat down and typed at my full velocity instantly.

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This is a vital a part of the Magic Keyboard-equipped iPad Pro becoming into your work life. I’m a “heavy typer,” and did discover the keyboard was fairly loud, however no extra so than my MacBook Air. My wrists relaxation on the sting of the case, which is formed to not dig in or trigger fatigue. The total measurement is well-judged, the keys are stable and responsive, and all the pieces falls neatly to your fingers.

My total Galaxy S20 evaluation was written on the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard. I had a deadline to satisfy, so finishing it on a brand new machine was a threat. I met the deadline, and I don’t suppose I might have labored any sooner on my MacBook Air or desktop machine. Only as soon as did I wish to swap, and that was to edit and add images, simply because I used to be pressured to be taught a brand new workflow on the iPad Pro. I didn’t cave although, and the iPad Pro labored brilliantly.

Only just a few small irritations confirmed up when typing for work on the Magic Keyboard. The first is the location of the alternate language button, which is within the backside left nook. I misplaced rely of the occasions I switched to a Japanese keyboard configuration as a substitute of hitting the shift key with my little finger. The little finger on my proper hand additionally induced me some issues. Sometimes it extends out once I sort, and at occasions I might unintentionally faucet the third-suggested phrase in Pages on the display screen, particularly when it was set at its most excessive angle.

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Finally, the arrow keys are fairly small and awkward to press rapidly, and there’s no perform key row both. The method we sort is usually very particular person, so the irritations I had could not have an effect on anybody else, and are comparatively minor. I wasn’t bothered by the dearth of perform keys for quantity or brightness, as each are accessible by way of iPadOS or on the pill physique itself, however traditionalists could discover this annoying. Finally, I did encounter some issues with the keyboard not working after switching apps, forcing me to shut the app to get it working once more. It didn’t occur on a regular basis, and can seemingly be mounted in a future software program replace.

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The Magic Keyboard’s keys are backlit, and an ambient gentle sensor detects when they need to be on or off. It’s fairly delicate. On a depressing day, it lit them up in my lounge once I don’t suppose they have been wanted. On brighter days, it did disable the backlight to keep away from further pressure on the battery. The final keyboard I used with an iPad was the Apple keyboard case for the first-generation iPad Pro, and the Magic Keyboard is miles forward in really feel, usability, precision, consolation, and expertise. Most importantly, I haven’t missed typing on my MacBook Air in any respect, and haven’t felt the necessity to return to it.


The Magic Keyboard’s trackpad is a headline-grabber, however has it reworked the best way you work together with the iPad Pro? No, and that’s actually by design. Apple stated it needed the trackpad to enhance the iPad Pro’s touch-first operation, and it does precisely that. The 100mm x 50mm pad could not sound very large, nevertheless it’s well-positioned and has the suitable degree of sensitivity for quick use. I’ve not discovered myself utilizing it that usually, however once I do, it hurries up my workflow rather a lot.

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Example? I wrestle with positioning the cursor and deciding on textual content rapidly and appropriately on iOS, and that situation is repeated on iPadOS. When writing and enhancing lengthy items of textual content, this may gradual me down rather a lot. The trackpad removes all want to the touch the display screen, and deciding on, copying, pasting, and deleting textual content in Pages takes not than it does on my laptop computer. The keyboard shortcuts are all in place too, so my standard laptop computer workflow is repeated on the Magic Keyboard.

It requires a click on to place the cursor fairly than a faucet, and the motion is constant throughout the floor of the pad. The on-screen cursor is an easy-to-spot blob, and something that may be interacted with is clearly highlighted. I largely use Pages, and the trackpad integrates very effectively, however in different apps like Google Docs, some options are lacking. You can’t rapidly click on, choose, and spotlight textual content, for instance, however solely activate the same old iPadOS copy/paste menu. Oddly, you are able to do this within the Twitter app, although. The Magic Keyboard remains to be new, so extra performance could arrive in third-party apps over time.

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I by no means relied on simply the trackpad, and switched between utilizing it and the touchscreen to navigate and carry out sure features, similar to with a touchscreen laptop computer. However, as a result of the display screen is so near your fingers and the keyboard footprint comparatively small, the attain is usually minimal, and subsequently feels sooner than engaged on a big laptop computer. Although the trackpad captured essentially the most curiosity on the Magic Keyboard at first, it’s only one small, albeit integral, a part of what makes the product so good total.


The Magic Keyboard is powered by the iPad Pro and doesn’t require charging individually. It has a single USB Type-C connector hidden ultimately of the primary hinge, which works as an influence pass-through for charging. This leaves the iPad Pro’s USB Type-C free so you’ll be able to connect a USB hub or exterior drive, however you’ll be able to’t do the identical on the Magic Keyboard’s connector. Shame.

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I used a USB hub to extract all of the images from an SD reminiscence card for my Samsung Galaxy S20 evaluation, transferring them to the iPad Pro for enhancing and add. I used varied apps throughout the course of, and it was seamless and quick. I encountered no issues with the USB Type-C hub at the moment, however due to the quick cable and the very fact it needed to be related to the pill, it didn’t lay flat on the desk. I’d even be involved about it getting knocked as a result of method it stands proud, one thing that I wouldn’t fear about it if was in a position to be related to the USB socket on the keyboard.

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It would have additionally been good if Apple had included an extra-long USB charging cable with the Magic Keyboard. Instead, it determined to not embody a cable in any respect. The one included with the pill itself is brief and unsuited to conditions the place a plug might not be close to the place you’re working. Yes, the battery life is lengthy, nevertheless it’s not infinite. Considering the price of the keyboard, that is fairly tight, even by Apple’s requirements.

Price and availability

The Magic Keyboard prices $300 for the 11-inch mannequin and $350 for the 12.9-inch model. You should buy it by way of Apple’s own store and varied retailers too. It’s suitable with each the present 2020 iPad Pro pill and the 2018 iPad Pro. If you personal a 2018 iPad Pro, there may be little purpose to improve your pill but, so that is nice information for those that solely not too long ago bought the earlier mannequin.

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You want an iPad Pro to go together with your Magic Keyboard, in order a package deal, you’ll pay at the least $1,100 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, and at the least $1,350 for the 12.9-inch mannequin. For comparability, a brand new 2020 MacBook Air begins at $1,000.

Our take

The {hardware} mixture of the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard makes it an efficient laptop computer various, however the software program will nonetheless be a barrier to these with extra advanced work wants. It does come nearer than ever earlier than to being the true, full deal. If your work wants are comparatively primary like mine, you received’t really feel the necessity to seize your laptop computer usually, if in any respect.

However, the slight lack of versatility with the keyboard case fitted and the preliminary excessive worth could imply a laptop computer works out to be the extra preferable machine for you personally. Think laborious about the way you’ll use the iPad Pro every single day, as a result of at this worth, a laptop computer could fit your wants higher for much less.

Is there a greater various?

The most obvious various is a brand new $1,000 MacBook Air. A laptop computer does all the pieces the iPad Pro/Magic Keyboard can do, plus lots extra. It additionally avoids a number of the versatility issues by usually having extra ports, an extended charging cable included, and compatibility with virtually all file varieties. Even the value isn’t that a lot completely different, and in the event you’re solely within the place to purchase one out of the 2, the MacBook Air could be the higher long-term buy relying in your work plans.

Another various could be to discover a 2018 iPad Pro and purchase a type of to go along with the Magic Keyboard. It’ll prevent a bit of cash and function in precisely the identical method. Outsider options which will match higher along with your wants embody the $400-plus Microsoft Surface Go, or the $750-plus Surface Pro 7, and even Chromebooks just like the $1,000 Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, with its 2-in-1 design, and the $650 Google Pixelbook Go.

The laptop computer is the one various to tick all of the containers although, and the opposite options usually have the identical or larger compromises to beat than the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard mixture.

How lengthy will it final?

The iPad Pro will final you three to 5 years simply, and even longer relying on what you employ it for, and including the Magic Keyboard solely will increase its longevity. However, the keyboard doesn’t have any water-resistance score or particular degree of sturdiness, so that you’ll wish to watch out to not spill something on it or drop it. A big invoice could await in the event you’re careless.

Should you purchase one?

Yes. With the Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro comes nearer than ever earlier than to fulfilling its promise as a laptop computer various.

Editors’ Recommendations

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