Review: Logitech's Slim Folio Pro Offers a Lower-Cost Alternative to Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro

by

Apple makes a keyboard designed for the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, the Smart Keyboard Folio, but some people dislike it because of the thin keys, the lack of key travel, and the high price tag. For those who don't like the ‌Smart Keyboard‌, Logitech has designed the Slim Folio Pro, a new keyboard case available for the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

Logitech's Slim Folio Pro is more affordable than Apple's ‌Smart Keyboard‌, with the 11-inch version priced at $120 and the 12.9-inch model priced at $130. For comparison's sake, Apple charges $179 for its 11-inch Slim Folio Keyboard and $199 for the 12.9-inch model.

logitechkeyboardipadpro2
Design wise, the Logitech Slim Folio Pro is a lot thicker than the Apple Smart Folio Keyboard and it adds quite a bit of weight and bulk to my iPad. I am not and have not ever been a fan of thick cases that add a lot of extra weight to my devices, and for my iPads, I almost always go case free and use a Smart Cover. With my ‌iPad Pro‌, I've been using Apple's Folio, which is already more thickness than I like.

logitechkeyboardempty
If you're like me and prefer devices with thin cases or with no case, the Logitech Slim Folio Pro probably isn't going to be what you're looking for, but let me go into a bit more detail on how it works and how it looks on the ‌iPad‌.

Like the Smart Folio Keyboard from Apple, the Slim Folio Pro is available in dark gray. It would be nice to have color options, but the gray is an appropriate neutral color. The Slim Folio Pro connects to the ‌iPad Pro‌ using Bluetooth, so you're going to need to set it up in the Settings app the first time you use it. After that, though, it connects quickly when you put it in typing mode and start to use it.

logitechkeyboardwithipad
There's a base rubber and plastic case that the ‌iPad Pro‌ fits into, which provides protection for the ‌iPad‌ when it's not in use. There's thick rubber at the corners and on the left side, but on the right, there's an open space because that's where the Apple Pencil 2 goes for charging purposes. The top and bottom are also left open because of the speakers and the USB-C port.

Logitech has covered the power button and the two volume buttons in rubber, which makes them harder to use. With the ‌iPad Pro‌, there's no Home button so it's sometimes hard to tell whether it's facing up or down, and it's harder to find the power button/volume buttons by feel and it's also more difficult to press them. It's by no means a deal breaker, but a little annoying.

logitechkeyboardapplekeyboard

‌Smart Keyboard‌ next to Slim Folio

The case that the ‌iPad Pro‌ fits into is rather thin, but with the added weight of the keyboard, there's a lot of bulk to deal with. The case portion of the folio that holds the ‌iPad‌ is attached to the keyboard with a second layer of material that also serves as a stand, with the ‌iPad‌ held magnetically in place for comfortable typing. There's just a lot of case here.

logitechkeyboardback
With the ‌iPad Pro‌ in an upright position for typing I don't mind the extra bulk of the case because it's appropriately distributed, but since this is a folio, you're meant to keep it on the ‌iPad‌ at all times. So when not typing on the keyboard, you're supposed to fold it back either under the ‌iPad‌ to use it as a stand for something like drawing with the ‌Apple Pencil‌, or up and behind the ‌iPad‌ for reading, browsing the web, playing games, etc.

logitechkeyboardsketching
In either of these orientations, the keyboard is in an uncomfortable position that adds a lot of weight to the back of the ‌iPad‌, though having an angled surface for drawing with ‌Apple Pencil‌ can be convenient at times. I do a lot of non-typing things with my ‌iPad Pro‌ like playing games and browsing the web, and I don't like the extra weight. Getting the folio on the ‌iPad‌ is a little bit of a struggle, so this isn't a situation where I'd want to have to put the folio case on to type and then take it off to play a game, though that's an option.

logitechkeyboardsideview

‌Smart Keyboard‌ on left, Slim Folio on right

If you're using your ‌iPad Pro‌ for typing and sketching with ‌Apple Pencil‌, you probably won't mind the extra bulk of the case quite as much, but if you're using it for other purposes too, it's not great because it's just always in the way. My 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ weighs a pound on its own while the Slim Folio Pro weighs 1.27 pounds, and I don't want to hold over two pounds when I'm trying to play a game.

For typing, though, I have no complaints. I like Apple's ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio and I can type just fine with it, but it's nice having the Slim Pro with much squishier keys that have a good amount of press and more satisfying travel. It's a pleasure to type on, and for most people, it's probably going to be a more enjoyable experience typing on the Slim Folio Pro than the ‌Smart Keyboard‌.

applekeyboardlogitechkeyboard2

‌Smart Keyboard‌ vs. Slim Folio

The keys are all backlit, and while this isn't a full-sized keyboard, there's enough spacing between the keys that I was able to type at close to my normal typing speed. All of the keys are in their proper places, and instead of a Fn key, there's an emoji key so you can get to emoji quickly if you want to (or swap keyboards if you use multiple languages).

A set of shortcut keys at the top of the keyboard is available for adjusting the brightness of the backlighting on the keys, bringing up the ‌iPad‌'s search interface, activating or deactivating the on-screen keyboard, controlling volume, controlling media playback, locking the ‌iPad‌ and turning off the display, accessing the Home screen, and activating Bluetooth.

logitechkeyboardapplepencil
When closed up, the Slim Folio Pro's keyboard rests against the ‌iPad Pro‌'s screen. I don't know if this has the potential to cause any damage over time, but it's also how Apple's model works. With the Slim Folio Pro closed, there's an extra little strap of fabric that's meant to hold the ‌Apple Pencil‌ 2 in place so it can charge while you're on the go, which is handy.

logitechekeyboardipadproclosedup
The case itself offers a decent amount of protection when closed because of the rubber corners and the keyboard cover for the display, so it's probably going to hold up well to minor drops, bumps, and dings. There are exposed elements though, so it's best to avoid dust and liquids.

logitechkeyboardipadprobottomview
I didn't have to charge the Slim Folio Pro during my time testing it, and Logitech says that it can last for two to three months used for about two hours a day. If you do need to charge it, there's a USB-C port on the right side, so you can use the same charger that you use for your ‌iPad Pro‌.

Bottom Line

The Logitech Slim Folio Pro is a more affordable alternative to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio that for most people, is going to provide a better typing experience because the keys aren't as thin and flat.

The keyboard itself is excellent, but because this is a folio case, it has the major downside of being bulky. It weighs more than the ‌iPad Pro‌, so it's not going to be for those who like their devices to be thin and lightweight. You can, of course, take this case off when not using the keyboard, but that's a hassle to do on a regular basis if you type a lot.

logitechkeyboardfolded
If bulk isn't an issue and you're primarily using your ‌iPad Pro‌ as a laptop alternative for writing and sketching with the ‌Apple Pencil‌, the Logitech Slim Folio Pro may be for you.

For those who don't want the bulk and hassle of an always-attached keyboard but also don't care for Apple's super expensive ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio, an affordable standalone Bluetooth keyboard is potentially the better option.

How to Buy

You can order the Slim Folio Pro from the Logitech website. It costs $120 for the 11-inch model and $130 for the 12.9-inch model.

Note: Logitech provided MacRumors with a Slim Folio Pro for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

Pagemakers Avatar
22 months ago
For me it’s too heavy and a very ugly fit around the screen.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
22 months ago
I find it a little ironic that Apple’s Smart Keyboard ‘accessory’ is better designed to withstand crumbs/dust than the one built-in to the current MacBooks.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
22 months ago
An Apple smart keyboard with backlight would be awesome. If there's something I miss from it, it's the backlight on the keys. And yes, I like how they feel when I type in it.

Still without the backlight, I much prefer the Apple smart keyboard folio, why? 1) Because of the slim profile, lightweight, and no battery needed (thanks to the smart connector. 2) Because of the great convenience, and ease at attaching and detaching the iPad from the keyboard. I change pretty often from keyboard mode to book mode (with the smart keyboard folded in the back side of the iPad) or quick detaching it from the case. With the smart keyboard folio I can do this easily in less that 2 seconds.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RevTEG Avatar
22 months ago
I got mine in and have used it a few days now. I had the previous model for my first gen 12.9.

First impressions.

Pros...
I like the new material. Feels much better than the previous one.
I like that it allows charging the Apple Pencil.
I like that it offers a place to store the Apple Pencil. Keeps it from getting knocked off in my bag.
Keys click great like the previous.
Backlit keys are great.
Haven’t had any issues with the Bluetooth connection.
Can charge from the iPad with a USB-C to USB-c cable.
Goes in and out of the case pretty easy.
Function keys.

Cons...
Cover doesn’t come off like previous model.
No (Surface like) kickstand like the previous model.
Only offers one viewing angle unlike previous model.
Volume and power buttons are somewhat difficult to use.
It doesn’t double the thickness. (This wasn’t as bad on the previous model since the keyboard cover could be removed while still offer back protection)
Needs to charge since it doesn’t use the smart connector.

I personally prefer the kickstand on the previous model. I do a ton of international flying and liked how I could type with backlit keys, then simply remove the cover and continue using the kickstand for watching videos without the keyboard taking up tray table space.

Two of the corners cracked (after very extended use) on my previous model.
The new version uses better material/design on the corners.

Will I keep it?
Yes. I fly enough overnight international flights that I need backlit keys.

Will I use it as my everyday carry case?
No.

I also have Apple’s Folio Keyboard and will continue using it when I don’t need backlit keys.

However, the Logitech Slim Pro fits a need in my travel workflow that makes it work the cost for me.
[doublepost=1554868405][/doublepost]

since this does NOT have the smart connector, how does it charge? Does it come with a cable you have to plug in to charge it, I know silly question just had to ask, never had this one before

It charges with the exact cable your iPad Pro uses. You can also charge the keyboard with your iPad using a USB-C to USB-C cable.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
22 months ago

Ahhh, so I can ignore this? Thanks!

What is the super secret reason why no one uses the smart connector?
The only other company that did was Logitech and now they are out.
I assume Apple must charge a license fee or something but I would think that would make it out in the news.
What is the point of a smart connector if no one uses, including Apple.

I would guess a large driver is Apple's licensing requirements along with royalties (info about fees requires an NDA):


Manufacturing License Features

Technical specifications
Sample quantities of MFi components
Development/testing tools
MFi logos With Apple approval
MFi certification
Mass-production quantities of MFi components
Mass-production manufacturing
Submission of sales, inventory, forecast reports to Apple
Developer Technical Support (DTS) incidents

https://mfi.apple.com/MFiWeb/getFAQ.action#1-7
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
22 months ago
I can’t go back to Bluetooth keyboard connections.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Thanksgiving Day Deals Still Available on AirPods, M1 Macs, Apple Watch Series 6, iPads

Thursday November 26, 2020 10:21 am PST by
Black Friday deals seem to start earlier and earlier every year, so there were already a wide variety of discounts available for Apple products on Thanksgiving Day. Many of the deals remain available even after Thanksgiving, but act fast, as inventory quickly fluctuates. Thanksgiving Day Deals on Apple Products — Still Available:AirPods with a wireless charging case remain available for...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
iPad Pro 5G and Mini LED feature

Rumored 2021 High-End iPad Pro May Feature 5G With mmWave Support

Thursday November 26, 2020 2:14 am PST by
Apple's rumored high-end iPad Pro models to be released next year will be 5G-enabled with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes. Multiple rumors have suggested Apple is planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display next year, with the possibility that there will be an 11-inch mini-LED model too, but details beyond that have...