The iPad has evolved into a capable laptop when coupled with a good keyboard accessory. This is especially true of the powerful iPad Pro.
I’ve tested a number of good keyboards and these 8 are the best of the lot. All of these recommendations are the result of actually using them in my daily life.
All of the keyboards except the Apple Smart Keyboard connect to the iPad using Bluetooth. The Apple model uses the new Smart Connector on the newest iPads to connect and use power so there is no need to charge it.
For short work sessions don’t overlook the onscreen keyboard. In its current form it is quite capable, and the virtual trackpad feature is very useful.
The smallest iPad is not going to work well for long sessions but it is good enough for quick knockoffs when it’s all you have with you. Throw in one of these keyboards and it might just be what you need.
The keyboards from Brydge are constructed of a single piece of aluminum in colors that match iPads. They feature two hinges behind the keyboard into which the iPad is inserted. This allows a wide range of viewing angles, and forms a clamshell when closed.
The Brydge unit is well constructed, and looks like it’s made by Apple. The black keys are very good and are laid out where you expect them. With a little practice, touch typing can be done even though the keyboard is only as wide as the small iPad Mini.
The BrydgeMini is $79.99 at the time of publication.
ZAGG Pocket Keyboard
This keyboard from ZAGG is unlike any other model. The slender metal unit unfolds to form a keyboard with black mechanical keys.
A slot behind the keys is used to support the iPad when typing. Like most iPad keyboards there is a top row of control keys that perform common iPad functions.
The Pocket Keyboard is charged with a USB cable included with the unit. It was $48.99 at the time of publication.
Microsoft Ultimate Foldable Keyboard
This is the smallest unit you’ll see, due to its form of a bifold wallet. Opening it exposes a keyboard that can be used with Windows, Android, and iOS devices.
The varying sizes of the keys are an attempt to counter the fold of the wallet.
The keyboard was $99.95 at publication.
iPad Pro 9.7
This keyboard is like that for the iPad Mini save for the larger size.
It was $129.99 at writing time for this post.
ZAGG Slim Book
This keyboard case consists of two parts, a lid that forms a case for the iPad Pro and a keyboard base. It forms a clamshell to provide total protection for the expensive iPad Pro when closed.
In addition to having a good keyboard, the Slim Book allows lifting the iPad in the case and using it without the keyboard. Simply lift it up out of the magnetic hinge and use the tablet alone.
The Slim Book is $90.99 from ZAGG.
Apple Smart Keyboard
The keyboard from Apple has become my daily unit. It is barely larger than a cover without a keyboard so it fits in a small gear bag. The keyboard is not perfect but with a little practice it is possible to touch type quite fast.
It is worth a try in the Apple Store.
The Smart Keyboard is $149 from Apple.
iPad Pro 12.9
This keyboard from Logitech is essentially a laptop without a screen. It uses the giant iPad Pro display. Simply insert the tablet into the lid and you have a full laptop.
Given the size of the iPad Pro 12.9 the keyboard is full sized, and typing is a joy. Key travel and spacing rivals those on any laptop.
The Logitech Create is currently $62.99 from Amazon.
ZAGG Slim Book
This keyboard case from ZAGG is the same as the model form the smaller iPad Pro save for the larger size. It features a full-size keyboard and detachable lid.
It is currently $97.99 from ZAGG.