Review: Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case for 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Logitech makes some really nice keyboards for the iPad Pro, with the CREATE keyboard being my go-to keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I recently purchased one of the smaller iPad Pros, and was provided with a Logitech Slim Combo Keyboard Case (US$129.99) for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. After about 10 days of testing, here's my take on this versatile keyboard case.

Design

Right off the bat, this is something I don’t like about the Slim Combo — it is far from being slim. When the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is inserted into the “display” portion of the case and the keyboard is being used to protect the iPad Pro’s screen, the case is one inch (2.54 cm) thick. By comparison, Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro is just .59 inches thick (1.5 cm) and the 12-inch MacBook comes in at .52 inches (1.32 cm).

The weight of the Slim Combo and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, with an Apple Pencil thrown in for good measure, is a total of 36 ounces (1.02 kg). A 12-inch MacBook is a lightweight by comparison, weighing in at just 32 ounces (0.92 kg).

The “Combo” part of the name refers to the way that the case can be used. Unlike the CREATE, which is similar in size and design to Apple’s Smart Keyboard, this case consists of two parts that can be quickly pulled apart. The keyboard has the standard Apple Smart Connector on the top side on a flexible connector, and that can be connected to the iPad Pro. The second part is the section that actually holds the iPad Pro, and it has a fold-out stand on it.

You can use the keyboard and display sections together as a laptop surrogate, but that doesn’t work as well. Frankly, I thought the CREATE case was much more amenable for use in a lap than the Slim Combo. The Slim Combo’s flexible connector between the keyboard and display is a bit too flexible, and the occasional emphatic typing or a strong tap on the iPad Pro display will cause the two to part…

Using the Slim Combo without a keyboard in FaceTime Mode

Using the Slim Combo without a keyboard in FaceTime Mode

But I digress. You can also flip the keyboard around to the back of the iPad Pro should you wish to use it strictly as a tablet, and you can even use the fold-out stand to prop the iPad in portrait (FaceTime) orientation (but of course you can’t type on it in that mode…).

Material-wise, the case is made of a hard TPU, with texture on both the fold-out piece and the keyboard to make it very grippable. The keyboard has a good-sized palm rest area, and as with all Logitech keyboards, the feel and layout is excellent. Like the CREATE keyboard, the Slim Combo is backlit and features a full row of iOS-specific function keys.

The backlit key and expansive palm rest of the Slim Combo keyboard

The backlit key and expansive palm rest of the Slim Combo keyboard

A couple more design features are open access to the four speakers on the iPad Pro and all connectors, and a much-needed Apple Pencil holder. I ended up going with a third-party elastic Pencil holder with the CREATE case, so it’s good to see that this is built-in.

Function

As noted earlier, the keyboard is fantastic. It doesn’t require pairing or charging, as it uses the iPad Pro’s battery for power. The feel is similar to the Apple Wireless Keyboard, with more tactile feedback than the “first-generation butterfly switch keyboard” that was used on some MacBook Pros.

The backlighting is very welcome, turning itself on automatically as you begin to type and off after a few seconds of non-use.

The display closes onto the keyboard with a satisfying snap, as the built-in magnet of the iPad Pro is attracted to some metal in the keyboard. That snap also shuts off the iPad Pro display to save battery.

The Slim Combo and 10.5-inch iPad Pro in "laptop mode"

The Slim Combo and 10.5-inch iPad Pro in "laptop mode"

When the keyboard is removed, the stand is very usable. It stays in just about any position it’s place into, so you can prop up the iPad Pro for watching videos on the lovely retina ProMotion screen, or stand it in portrait orientation (FaceTime mode) for reading or making FaceTime video calls.

Conclusion

While the functionality and versatility of the Logitech Slim Combo keyboard case is undeniably good, the bulk of it is a bit of a turnoff. It turns a slim and lightweight tablet into a somewhat chunky “convertible tablet”, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Still, the excellence of the backlit keyboard cannot be denied, and the use of Apple’s Smart Connector makes pairing and charging concerns a thing of the past.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★