The Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is the best iPad accessory Apple has ever made. But due to the very high price, the keyboard is difficult to recommend. Read all about it in our Magic Keyboard review.
iPad Magic Keyboard review
The Magic Keyboard is an important new chapter in the iPad story. After the arrival of iPadOS in 2019, 2020 is the year that Apple’s tablet finally got mouse and trackpad support.
All this comes together in the Magic Keyboard: a keyboard with the same quality keys as that of a MacBook. And you have a trackpad that allows you to control iPadOS without touching the screen.
The Magic Keyboard can be used with the iPad Pro 2018 and iPad Pro 2020.
Especially a ‘Magic’ trackpad
Let’s start with the trackpad, as the Magic Keyboard is the only Apple keyboard equipped with it at the time of writing. Since iPadOS 13.4 you can pair Bluetooth mice and trackpads with the tablet.
Handy if you use the iPad in a fixed place, but if you are on the road a lot it is more convenient if it is incorporated in the keyboard case. The Magic Keyboard’s trackpad is quite small at first glance, especially when you compare it to the gigantic trackpads that are in recent MacBooks.
Still, we got used to it quickly, although we did increase the speed of the cursor in the Settings app. This allows you to move from one corner of the iPad screen to the other with a small movement.
Unlike many other trackpads, the Magic Keyboard does not use a ‘diving board technique’, where really only the bottom half can be pressed and the top does not respond to touch. Even in the corners, the trackpad responds well and whether you tap it or actually press the trackpad: we have never had it not respond (well).
The cursor also deserves an honorable mention, because Apple goes a lot further than simply putting an arrow on your screen. The iPad’s cursor is a circle that continuously adjusts to where it is.
If you drag the cursor over text, it changes to a dash, so you can accurately place it after a word or letter. If you drag it over a button, it will take the shape of the button, so you can accurately tap the right one. Many apps already support this cursor, which greatly improves its use.
A MacBook-worthy keyboard
In a review of a keyboard, we should of course not skip the keys themselves. Apple has clearly taken a good look at the MacBooks that came out this year and simply applied that technique here. The Magic Keyboard consists of keys that you can press surprisingly far for such a narrow keyboard, have automatic lighting when it gets dark and type just as nice as a MacBook.
Even the 11-inch model (which we tested), which is quite small, turned out to be large enough to type comfortably for a long time. Not entirely surprisingly, we typed this entire review (and many more iPhone articles) completely on this keyboard.
Floating design is beautiful and functional
The ‘floating’ design of the Magic Keyboard immediately catches the eye. With strong magnets, you ‘stick’ the iPad to the keyboard, after which it remains firmly in place. In the same way, you can also remove the tablet from the keyboard, so that you can operate it purely as a tablet again.
The floating design not only looks cool, but also has a function: you can tilt the screen of your iPad exactly as you want. Handy if you have it on your lap and put it down a bit, or if you have it on the table and want to aim a little more upwards. The Magic Keyboard is very flexible in this, although we would have liked you to be able to tilt the screen up a bit more.
For the rest, there is little to criticize about the design, except for the material that Apple has used. As with the Smart Keyboard, Apple uses a layer of plastic that is easily damaged and leaves fingerprints.
In the beginning, these can be cleaned with a cloth, but after a while, this will leave dull spots on our Smart Keyboard. Certainly from a keyboard with such a high price, you expect a somewhat more premium material that lasts longer.
As a nice extra, the Magic Keyboard has an extra USB-C port, which can transmit data or charge your iPad via the Smart Connector on the back of the iPad.
You can now charge your iPad Pro simultaneously and connect an external hard drive or something else to the tablet. In practice, we make little use of this, but for the target group that replaces their laptop with an iPad, this is undoubtedly a welcome addition.
It is important to mention that the Magic Keyboard is quite heavy. This is necessary to keep the iPad upright and to prevent the keyboard from tipping over. At the same time, this has ensured that I use my iPad very differently than I did with the Smart Keyboard.
When I type a lot, I click the iPad on the Magic Keyboard that is on my desk. Do I want to read the news or play a game? Then I take the iPad off and use it purely as a tablet without a cover.
As you read, we are very positive about the Magic Keyboard. It changes the way you can use an iPad and makes the tablet a lot more productive. Yet the price tag is such a high threshold that we find it difficult to recommend this accessory just like that.
With a starting price of 318 euros for the 11-inch iPad Pro and 375 euros for the 12.9-inch version, the Magic Keyboard is simply very expensive. To put this in perspective: for 389 euros you can also buy a brand new iPad 2019, or almost twice a Smart Keyboard. That’s why you have to ask yourself: are a trackpad and the other pluses that we discussed in this review worth 150 euros more?
Conclusion Magic Keyboard review
If we look purely at the Magic Keyboard itself, this is by far the best accessory Apple has ever made for the iPad. The trackpad gives you a whole new way to operate the tablet and the keyboard also types just as well as a MacBook.
But if you can buy a brand new iPad for the same amount of money, we cannot separate it. Is an iPad Pro your laptop replacement and do you spend hours with it every day? Then this is the keyboard you’ve been waiting for.
For every other iPad user, we recommend that you check carefully whether you really need the Magic Keyboard, or whether you can settle for the much cheaper Smart Keyboard from Apple, for example. In the article below we have compared them.
Buy Magic Keyboard
Are you convinced after reading this article and do you want to buy the Magic Keyboard? The keyboard is still in stock at the suppliers below, with a faster delivery time than the Apple Store at the time of writing.