I’ve long wished I could use my 12.9-inch iPad Pro as a replacement for my MacBook Pro since I have the tablet with me most of the time. Sadly, I can’t because iPadOS is simply too limited for my Apple World Today workflow compared to macOS.
However, some folks find the iPad to be a suitable laptop replacement/alternative. If you’re one of those folks and find Apple’s US$299 Magic Keyboard too pricey, you should check out the $199.99 ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad. It offers all the functionality (and more) of the Apple product at $100 less.
In addition to its keyboard and trackpad features, the ZAGG product comes with an adjustable stand, a holder for Apple Pencil (one of my favorite features), and multi-pairing capabilities. (You can pair the Pro Keys wireless keyboard pairs with two devices simultaneously and toggle back and forth between them.)
Before I proceed, let me mention that I prefer the “feel” of Apple’s 1mm keys on the Magic Keyboard to those of the ZAGG Pro Keys with TrackPad. However, keyboard preferences are a matter of personal taste, so you may feel otherwise. I also prefer the Apple products’s floating cantilever design for adjusting my iPad Pro’s viewing angles.
However, with ZAGG’s Pro Keys, not only can you scroll, swipe, and navigate with the Bluetooth-integrated trackpad, you can turn it off to extend battery life.
ZAGG says the Pro Keys with Trackpad allows you to type for up to three months before recharging the battery (based on one hour of use per day). Since I haven’t been test driving it for even a month, I can’t vouch for that, but I’ll take ZAGG’s word for it.
The Pro Key’s keyboard automatically turns off when folded backwards against the iPad. What’s more, the sleep/wake function helps preserve battery life when the keyboard isn’t being used.
While I prefer the Magic Keyboard’s adjustability features, the Pro Keys packs forward facing speaker ports and a holder for your Apple Pencil. Both are excellent features. The keyboard and case also detach to accommodate different uses.
While the Magic Keyboard and Pro Keys both have backlit keys, those on the former come in seven different colors and make typing in low-light conditions easy.
The ZAGG product is extremely durable thanks to its polycarbonate case with a rigid core, rubberized edges and button covers, and corner bumpers. All the combine to provide 6.6 feet of drop protection.
You should note that all these features and protection come with a “weight price.” The complete ZAGG Pro Keys add a not-inconsiderable 2.04 pounds to your tablet set-up. As mentioned, you can detach the keyboard when you’re not using it, which helps.