The new iPad Pros are powerhouses, and combined with the right equipment can be a true productivity tool for all kinds of use cases. The only true downside to the iPads are the cost of the first party accessories made by Apple. With the new Apple Pencil costing cost to $200 AUD and the keyboard case costing just over $200 AUD, that is a lot of coin for someone to put down especially after purchasing one these new tablets costing in the low to mid $1000’s and all the way up to over 2K for higher configurations.
So when I ordered mine I made a conscious decision not to purchase the keyboard folio for the time being, and looked at third party solutions to fill a gap for a few months. What did I come up with? It is by no means perfect, but it is definitely a contender.
The IVSO 11 Inch Keyboard Case for the iPad Pro lives by the mantra of Student of all, master of none.
The Keyboard case itself unboxes well and is clean in its design. It is covered in a PVC plastic that feels a lot like it is partially rubberised and close to the old type covers of the Surface Pro 2 and 3 days. However opening up the keyboard case itself shows a smaller key size, smaller palm rest and a full iOS function row. Inside the box is only an instruction manual and a USB A to Micro USB cable, and that is one of the drawbacks – the case charges through micro USB and not USB-C so you will need to carry an extra cable. The case works over Bluetooth, and pairing is actually super easy. You hold the function and C button on the keyboard and pair. That’s it, no fuss, no messing around.
Overall, that’s where the simplicity of the case ends. I’m not sure if it is my unit, but it doesn’t fit snug with my 11 inch iPad Pro 100%. There are instances where the top, left and right side of the case are sitting away from the tablet and not sitting on the tablet itself, after repeated attempts to get it to sit flush with the tablet, I have failed and given up with the not so sleek look. The case also relies a lot on the back portion of the top cover coming away from the centre of the unit to stand, which limits “lapability” and how long the iPad can practically sit on your lap. Also, because the connection from the top of the case to the keyboard is still this silicon/plastic/rubbery material, there is a lot of sideways flex on the keyboard when you move your legs, so your chance of getting 100% flat typing surface will require some fighting on the user’s end. Also due to the case’s design, charging is a pain too as since it isn’t sitting flush with the iPad, the USB C charger doesn’t sit correctly and doesn’t charge, which warrants you either removing the iPad from the case, or moving the charger around the USB-C sized hole, then connecting it to the iPad.
I also felt like my hands did cramp a bit when using the keyboard for longer period of time, which is no fault of the case and is more than likely me being used to a 15 Inch laptop or a larger keyboard with a num-pad.
Criticisms aide, the case itself, albeit thick and slightly heavy, does provide a solid amount of protection for the iPad. IVSO say on the Amazon advertisements as well that it can support solid drops on corners, which is why I assume the corners connect quite well in the case, but the edges don’t sit 100% flush. The keyboard is also quite comfortable to type on, even though the keys are smaller, once you adjust to the size the travel is reasonable and definitely nicer than the Butterfly 2/3 keyboards of the current generation of MacBooks.
Another nice touch, is the palm rest. For me, it is semi flexible, moves when I move my legs if I am sitting on a chair and is easily cleanable of sweat and grime, so for longer period of typing (say writing this review), it is a welcome addition to the case’s compact stature fitting in as much as it can in a smaller form factor. Another bonus for users is a separate area under the screen to store the Apple Pencil when not in use, so you don’t have a risk of knocking it off in your bag if it is wirelessly attached. I found this case for $45.00 AUD on amazon and is fairly cost effective for the price. You defiantly get what you pay for, but is overall a clean solution to keeping the tablet protected and safe from the ruff and tumble daily use.
I should note, there is also a second version for $4.00 less on Amazon that is a more “Traditional” folio and has a kickstand and sits more like a Surface Clone when the iPad is docked, but I chose this version due to keeping everything fairly streamlined and having a not so shallow tilt on the case itself.
You can pick it up on Amazon, however, I would be mindful as to how much you really want to spend and look at something a bit more sturdy if you don’t want something too flimsy in your lap. The new Brydge Keyboard for the new iPads launches very soon as well which would be a more solid contender to the iPad Pro Folio keyboard and is cheaper as well.
However for $45AUD, this