The Magic Keyboard has been around for several generations of iPad now, and while it wasn’t part of my original review of the iPad Pro 2 back in 2021, I’ve gotten my hands on one now. Better late to the party than never, I guess.
As of writing this I’ve been using it for several weeks on that same iPad. Here are my thoughts for anyone considering one — especially now that the early hope has passed.
The Touchpad Really Does Make The iPad Feel More Like A MacBook. (+)
Sure, using a keyboard is nice for writing tasks. Having one built into the iPad’s case like this is convenient versus a totally separate one. But the touchpad on the Magic Keyboard stood out the most to me when I began using it.
Moving the cursor for general browsing, especially with tap to click turned on, felt natural and smooth. Gestures, even simple ones like two-finger scrolling or three-finger app switching make the iPad feel slick compared to a mouse. It speeds up certain things that occasionally felt a little clunky, and that’s fantastic.
The Magic Keyboard’s actual keyboard is solid and feels good to type on. There isn’t a ton of travel in the keys but they’re better than a lot of laptop keyboards I’ve used.
It doesn’t feel like a big change from my Logitech MX Keys Mini that I use on all my devices. The MX Keys Mini are still a superior typing experience, but the Magic Keyboard is close enough.
I f you already have a good keyboard it probably won’t strike you other than the convenience of being built into the case — rather than another thing floating around in your bag.
If I were nitpicking I’d say that for this price point the keys ought to be on par with Logitech’s higher end offerings. But since MacBook keyboards are often praised and the Magic Keyboard is basically a MacBook keyboard, minus some things, perhaps Apple didn’t think anyone would care.
They aren’t the quietest as you type, though. The MX Keys Mini is a smoother, quieter keyboard. The Magic Keyboard isn’t obnoxious or overly plasticky-sounding, but when I’m on the couch plucking away my wife can definitely hear.
While we’re on the keyboard, though…
The Absence Of Function Keys Feels Weird. (-)
One way the Apple Keyboard does feel really different from my typical keyboard is the lack of special keys, such as volume control, play/pause, emoji shortcut keys, and even brightness controls.
For a $350 keyboard, not having this is a real swing and a miss in my opinion.
These controls aren’t bound to other keys on the keyboards as secondary functions, either. You get your standard QWERTY keys with a number row, and that’s it.
I guess Apple assumes that since you have volume buttons on what ends up being the top of the iPad mounted in the Magic Keyboard that you don’t need keys for it. But play/pause, brightness controls, or even back buttons for browsers would be handy additions that would make this keyboard feel as fully featured as the price tag implies.
Being Able To Freely Tilt The iPad Is Nice, Especially On A Lap Or In Bed. Or Video Calls. (+)
I’ve used several iPad cases with stands over the years, and even the nicer ones like Speck and TineeOwl with multiple stand angles felt limiting at times.
Especially if you’re sitting on the couch or laying in bed with the iPad watching a show. With the Magic Keyboard, you can tilt the screen to be more straight up and down rather than angled, which presents a more natural view while laying down. The screen tilts enough that on a lap can still point up at you without hunching as much.
On a desk the extra half-inch it lifts the iPad off the tablet is helpful, and it allows the screen to tilt enough to view comfortably at a normal table height.
For video calls, the ability to freely adjust the angle is great. Every case I’ve used previously for my iPad always had it tilted too much at an up-angle for video. I had to stack books or coasters on the back to angle it back, which was a pain.
Family video calls with the Magic Keyboard felt like I could put the iPad anywhere it was comfortable. On one call it started on the table, and then moved to the couch, and we could easily position it for whatever made sense for everyone to stay in-shot. All in a way that I’ve not been able to do in the 2 years prior I’ve had this iPad Pro.
There’s No Holder For An Apple Pencil. (-)
On both the other basic stand cases I mentioned using earlier there was a holder for the Apple Pencil. With these, the Pencil snaps magnetically onto the iPad like normal, but is also protected from being knocked loose and still easy to take out when you need it.
The Magic Keyboard doesn’t do this.
That means if the case is folded up and you’re carrying the iPad in your arm, the Apple Pencil could easily fall off if anything bumps it. Same for when you put it in your bag, where that’s even more likely to happen.
This, much like the lack of function keys, is another strange oversight for a $350 keyboard.
Room For Improvement, But If It’s In Your Budget It’s A Good Experience Overall.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you a $350 keyboard/case accessory is a must-buy for an iPad. It’s an expensive accessory that’s not for everyone.
If your iPad is mostly a media consumption device the Magic Keyboard is overkill.
But if you use your iPad all the time or for professional tasks, bring it on your daily travels, or don’t own a MacBook, this is a heck of an upgrade for your experience.
- Typing on the Magic Keyboard is smooth.
- Having a foldable case to protect the iPad in a bag that also gives laptop-like usability when you need it is super handy.
- The iPad is easy to remove from the Magic Keyboard when you don’t need a keyboard.
That’s the extent of what I could meaningfully say about the Apple Keyboard for this review. If you’ve found this helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider using my affiliate link below at no additional cost to yourself to help support my efforts.