Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio vs. Third-Party Alternatives

Apple designed a Smart Keyboard Folio for the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, but while it's super slim, it's also expensive and with flat keys that some iPad users might not like.

Luckily, third-party companies like Zagg and Logitech have come out with some alternate ‌iPad Pro‌ keyboards, and in today's video, we're comparing the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio from Apple to two popular alternatives - the Slim Folio Pro from Logitech and the Slim Book Go from Zagg.


We tested keyboards for the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌, but both Logitech and Zagg make variants for both ‌iPad Pro‌ models. Zagg's Slim Book Go is priced at $99 for the 11-inch model and $130 for the 12.9-inch model, while the Slim Folio Pro from Logitech is priced at $120 for the 11-inch model and $130 for the 12.9-inch model.

Both third-party keyboard options are cheaper than the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio from Apple, which costs $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch model, so you can save a decent amount of cash with a third-party option.

Apple's ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio is super slim and adds a minimal amount of bulk to the ‌iPad Pro‌, and that thin profile is a feature that Logitech and Zagg haven't been able to match. The Slim Folio Pro and the Slim Book Go both add a considerable amount of bulk to the ‌iPad Pro‌, doubling the weight of the device and making it a good deal thicker.

zagg 2

Zagg Slim Book Go

Of the two, the Slim Book Go from Zagg is the heftier model, but both are pretty bulky. If you're someone who prefers a device without a thick case on it, these keyboards may not be for you. There are, however, some benefits to these cases beyond price, such as the feel of the keyboard.

The ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio from Apple has flat, fabric covered keys that have little travel and don't feel much like a standard keyboard. Zagg and Logitech's solutions, though, are thicker and thus accommodate keys with more travel, a more satisfying press, and just a better overall feel.

The Slim Book Go from Zagg is designed to protect the entire ‌iPad Pro‌, providing solid drop protection. The case itself is made from a hard plastic, while the keyboard has a cloth feel on the front and felt material surrounding the keys.

zagg 1

Zagg Slim Book Go

You can detach the keyboard cover from the case if you want, leaving just the case itself on the ‌iPad‌. Zagg left a lot of space at the bottom of the keyboard on the Slim Book Go, so it's comfortable to rest your wrists, but when using it on your lap, it's wobbly.

That's not a problem in a situation where you're using it on a desk, and with the adjustable stand there are multiple viewing angles, something you don't get with Logitech's version. The keyboard is pleasant to type on, but there's no backlighting for the keys. It's not clear why, but there's no sleep/wake function in the cover, so shutting it won't turn off your ‌iPad‌. Multi-device support is included, something not available in the Slim Folio Pro.

logi 1

Logitech Slim Folio Pro

Logitech's Slim Folio Pro, unlike the Slim Book Go, is all one piece without a detachable keyboard option. It has a thick rubber frame that protects the ‌iPad‌, and a single viewing angle for using while typing.

The Slim Folio Pro and the Slim Book Go both offer a better typing experience than the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio for those who like more traditional keys, but we preferred the feel of the Slim Book Go a bit more because the keys have more travel and a more satisfying click. On the plus side, it's a bit less bulky and not as heavy, and it has backlit keys, a nice bonus feature.

logi 2

Logitech Slim Folio Pro

Both the Slim Book Go and the Slim Folio Pro connect to the ‌iPad Pro‌ using Bluetooth, making the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio the only keyboard accessory that uses the Smart Connector on the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models. Bluetooth isn't as convenient as the ‌Smart Connector‌, but these keyboards don't need to be charged often and when they do, you can use USB-C.

So which should you choose? If you hate bulk, get the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio or plan to remove these keyboard cases when not in use, something that can be a hassle.

If you want the best typing experience that's closest to a laptop and don't mind the thickness, choose the Zagg, but if you want something a bit slimmer with backlighting and more stability for on-lap use, choose the Logitech (and make sure to check out our full review). You can, of course, choose none of the above and opt for a much cheaper standalone Bluetooth keyboard.

Which ‌iPad Pro‌ keyboard do you prefer? Apple's, Logitech's, Zagg's, or something else? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
27 months ago
I really wish they would've done something with all that space at the bottom of the Zagg Slim Book.

The obvious solution is of course adding a cutting board to the keyboard so you can prepare your favorite snacks while watching something on your iPad.

Hell, break out your ultra-thin titanium Apple Card and you've even got a knife! :)

Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joniz Avatar
27 months ago
Slim Book Go
Slim Folio Pro
Smart Keyboard Folio


With names like these, would’ve been nice if you instead used Apple, Zagg, Logitech.

No, wait. Zagg, Logitech, Apple.

I think.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
metalsiren Avatar
27 months ago
I like the apple keyboard I just wish it had backlight and thats really it.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
max2 Avatar
27 months ago
Interesting! Thanks.

I still prefer the smart apple keyboard!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
twocents Avatar
27 months ago
Apple keyboard folio def not thin enough. Needs butterfly keys since they'll be sealed and won't manage to get crumbs or sand stuck inside. And since iOS has peaked why not add Touch Bar while you're at it since that will surely make consumers see it as a laptop replacement. /s
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrJohnnyN Avatar
27 months ago
The Apple keyboard rocks.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
macbook colors 3d black bezels

Prosser: Next MacBook Air Could Come in Colors Similar to iMac

Friday May 7, 2021 6:55 am PDT by
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple's upcoming release of the MacBook Air will feature various colors, similar to the colors in the newly released 24-inch iMac. In the latest video of his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser says the same source who accurately provided him information on the first Apple silicon iMac coming in colors has told him that he recently saw a prototype...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
ifixit m1 macbook teardown

Leaked MacBook Schematics Have Aided Independent Technicians Performing Complicated Repairs

Monday May 10, 2021 8:51 am PDT by
Independent technicians have reportedly been able to use leaked MacBook schematics to aid repairs (via Vice). Last month, Apple supplier Quanta Computer was hit with an attack by the ransomware group known as "REvil," leading to a large quantity of internal Apple documents about both released and unreleased devices being exposed. The leaked PDFs, available on a number of forums and online...