They’ve not quite yet replaced the MacBook, but with the inclusion of the M1 chip in this year’s iPad Pro models, Apple’s tablets are getting pretty close to replacing traditional laptops.
A key missing part of the puzzle is a lack of built-in physical keyboard and mouse input for the touchscreen-native devices, but options like the stellar Logitech Combo Touch iPad keyboard case, reviewed here, make a much more compelling argument when it comes to considering ditching a laptop entirely.
We’re taking a look at the version of the Combo Touch designed for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation), but we expect our impressions to remain relevant to the other models in the range, designed for iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen) and iPad Air (4th gen).
Logitech Combo Touch iPad keyboard case price and availability
The Logitech Combo Touch is available now, with prices starting at $199.99 / £179.99, and going up to $229.99 / £199.99 for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch model.
That’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination for neither a keyboard, nor a case. But when compared to the first-party Apple alternative, it’s actually pocket change.
Apple’s own offerings start at $179.99 / £179.99 for the keyboard-only Smart Keyboard Folio and go up to $299.99 / £279.99 for the iPad Magic Keyboard, which is more closely related to Logitech’s item here. They’re not like-for-like – Apple’s magnetic case stand is impressive, if not over engineered. But in terms of core functionality – simply letting a case act as a keyboard and trackpad too, the Logitech Combo Touch comfortably has you covered.
Unlike some folio keyboard cases which come as one single piece, the Logitech Combo Touch is in fact two separate parts that make one whole case.
Coming in “sand” and “Oxford grey” shades, one part acts as a protective shell for the back and sides of your iPad, using a stiff, rubber-like bumper to protect the edges and corners of your device. This includes an opening along the top edge to magnetically hold an official Apple Pencil in place for charging, even with the case attached.
There are gaps for the USB-C port, as well as openings for speakers, mics and the rear camera module (protected by being inset in the case).
The other side is your keyboard element, which magnetically snaps onto your iPad’s Smart Connector, automatically pairing and drawing power from the tablet’s battery, meaning the case itself never needs charging so long as your iPad is ready to go. Together, the sides of the case (which have a nice fabric-like textured feel), wrap around the entirety of your tablet, keeping it safe.
Before we get onto performance itself, it’s worth noting how good the stand is on the Combo Touch. It’s a rigid, fold-out flap from the key-less half of the case, and can be orientated in a number of different ways – a laptop-like Typing mode, with the kickstand at an upright viewing angle; a View mode like the Typing mode but with the keyboard detached; and a Sketch mode, angling your iPad just a few degrees from flush with a surface for easy Apple Pencil sketching.
Of course, you can just flatten the stand and remove the keyboard entirely for a simple reading mode.
It’s versatile and it never seemed in danger of falling over, even on an uneven surface like a bed. However, unless you pull off and reverse the keyboard, it wont fold around the back of the case for one-handed use. Be prepared to carry the second half around with you, detached. Note also that this case can make your iPad considerably heavier too – 780g for the Pro version – though if you’re using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, like I was here, it’s a heavy tablet anyway.
Onto the keyboard itself, it’s a real delight to use. There’s 19mm of key pitch and 1mm of travel to the keys, all well spaced for quick typing. The trackpad is a good size too at 55mm x 110mm. There are 16 backlight levels to the keys, and a row along the top for 14 function shortcuts.
iPadOS works really well with a trackpad these days, and the Combo Touch takes full advantage of it. Hold the CMD key for in-app shortcuts, while the clickable trackpad supports one, two and three finger swipes and gestures.
Sensitivity and functions can be customized in Apple’s own Trackpad settings area, while it’s worth grabbing the Logitech Control app too in order to keep the keyboard up to date with any OS changes Apple makes.
It’s a really comfortable typing experience – this whole review was written using the Combo Touch – and while iPadOS isn’t quite yet a replacement for macOS, the Logitech Combo Touch makes the iPad a genuinely useful workhorse.
Should I buy the Logitech Combo Touch iPad keyboard case?
Buy it if...
You want a more affordable Magic Keyboard alternative
With its trackpad, quality keyboard and shortcut functions, the Combo Touch has everything you need to get work done on the go.
You need real protection for your tablet
Rigid and sturdy, the case will do a good job of protecting your iPad from bumps and drops.
Don't buy it if...
You want to keep your iPad lightweight
The Combo Touch adds a considerable amount of weight to your tablet.
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