Last year, we tested Logitech’s entry-level combo touch case for the eighth generation iPad and viewed it as the ultimate accessory for Apple’s entry-level tablet. Propose over a year later and we now have the iPad Pro 2021 – a device that has more than enough power for work and play, while also making the content look great. And while you could go for a Magic Keyboard – the $ 299 or $ 329 Apple-made keyboard and trackpad accessory that makes your iPad levitate – we recommend taking a look at the Logitech Combo Touch for iPad Pro instead . Its starting price is only $ 199.99, and that’s just one reason why it’s a better option. Let’s break down why.
Apple did a lot right with the Magic Keyboard when it was first released in Spring 2020. It offers a powerful typing experience with a lot of travel and a large trackpad for navigating iPadOS. Oddly, however, it only offers the standard QWERTY keys with the necessary extras (Shift, Caps Lock, Tab, etc.) and doesn’t have a top row of function keys. While the keys are backlit, you cannot control the backlight with a key command. A little strange.
The Combo Touch fixes this right from the start. You get a full QWERTY keyboard with the necessary keys and a full set of function keys. The top row has buttons for Home, Screen Brightness, Digital Keyboard, Spotlight Search, Keyboard Backlight Control, Playback Controls (Backward, Play / Pause, Forward), Volume Down, Volume Up, Mute, and Lock. It’s a similar experience to Logitech keyboards and even the MacBook Air. It’s also the same layout that we loved on Combo Touch for iPad.
These can be integrated directly into iPadOS and are immediately ready for use – there is no need to install a specific app or mess around in the settings. While working between this review in Ulysses (a word processing app) on the left and viewing a PDF in Notability on the right, we could easily hit the Spotlight search button to look up an asset or review a term. The screen brightness buttons come in handy when you don’t reach out and want to manage them from the control center. Likewise, media playback lets you focus on your work and control what’s playing in the background without having to switch to your music app.
Function keys make all the difference and sit on an excellent keyboard. You will receive a complete set of keys, which is particularly spacious with the 12.9-inch version. The 11-inch Combo Touch feels a little tighter, but not so far that you can’t work on it efficiently. Logitech chose plastic buttons embedded into the woven construction of the Combo Touch. The woven material felt particularly comfortable on our palms and is similar to the Alcantara fabric of the Surface laptop. There’s a decent gap between the keys, making accidental presses a rare opportunity.
Given how thin this part of the Combo Touch is, it doesn’t have the greatest depth or travel of any keyboard we tested. The external K380 from Logitech does better and the Magic Keyboard does not leave a bottoming feeling. Even so, there’s a tight recoil effect that provides a decent amount of feedback. It’s not as energetic or bouncy as other keys, but typing on the Combo Touch is a dynamic experience.
There is a rectangular trackpad just below the keyboard. It is very smooth and easy to use as found on the Magic Keyboard. And in terms of navigation features, it’s extensive enough to swipe with one or more fingers. Pressing the trackpad to click within iPadOS 15 also provides an audible tone.
And all control-centered functions are located in the keyboard area of the housing. It’s a fully woven material with the buttons facing the screen (and being matte we don’t mind scratching) and a simple woven finish to the outside world. It is magnetically attached to the body of the case that surrounds the iPad Pro itself. And it uses smart connection to automatically connect to the case that connects to the iPad. It’s also a strong magnet that won’t come loose if pulled slightly; You have to use some force. It also keeps the keyboard portion flat on any surface you place it on. We didn’t have any connection problems; it was immediately paired from the first appendix. You don’t always have to have the keyboard part connected.
The other half of the equation with Combo Touch is the wrap-around case part. It is a plastic and rubber construction that you place the iPad Pro in. We had to use some force to install it, as the rubber lip should run completely around the edge of the iPad Pro. Logitech also designed the case with five cutouts – one for each of the four stereo speakers and the USB-C port. If you have a third-party cable, you can rest assured that the port cutout is sufficiently large.
Logitech doesn’t add a second USB-C port that power users might be disappointed with. If you want to charge and connect a separate device, you’ll need a dock.
On the right side for vertical or top for horizontal use there is a recess in the case for the Apple Pencil. In contrast to the Combo Touch for the entry-level iPad with a loop for pushing the pencil through, this variant for the iPad Pro can be attached directly. The Apple Pencil stays in place thanks to magnets and can be charged wirelessly. On the side you will find a plus and minus button for the volume and one for the power supply.
It is very durable and the material used offers some shock absorption. If you drop the iPad Pro, it has some protection. We also appreciate the raised lip around the display when you haven’t attached the keyboard portion.
The back of Combo Touch is made of the same woven material with a small Logi logo. However, it will not be noticeable as it is the same color as the fabric. But the real star is the stand on the back. You can extend it almost flat for a mode perfect for sketching or taking notes. You can pull out the stand and prop the iPad like a laptop – we clung to this mode the most.
It works great on a table or flat surface, but it’s kind of a balancing act when trying to use it on your lap. The size of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro makes it twice as difficult. In such situations we miss the Magic Keyboard, as it works thanks to the weight in the lower case and the iPad Pro held above it on our lap. However, you can use the iPad Pro in more ways with the Combo Touch than with the Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard.
Aside from not providing you with an extra port, our only other downside is that if you’re not a fan of enclosures, you probably won’t like this. Logitech came up with a pretty sleek solution, but it’s a bit clunky. The case had to be thick enough for the protection and the stand. It also prevents you from having to use Bluetooth pairing as there is a Smart Connector built into the case that fits the iPad Pro. This takes care of the connection, pairing and power supply without disturbing you. And that is an absolute joy.
The Combo Touch Sleeve from Logitech is not only a cheaper combination of keyboard and trackpad than Apple’s Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard. It also adds a host of other features and lets us take advantage of the multi-mode nature of the device. There are still times when we like the Magic Keyboard a bit better as it is better on laps, but the Combo Touch is a new solution for us. In combination with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, it is the ultimate accessory.
Logitech’s Combo Touch is available now for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro at a starting price of $ 199.99.
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