The iPad Pro can't fully replace your laptop, but if you want it to come close, you'll need something like the Logitech Create Keyboard Case. This $149 accessory features a backlit keyboard and dedicated function row, but weighs more than the iPad Pro itself. Is it worth the extra bulk?
Like many of Logitech's other iPad keyboard cases, the Create is covered in a clothlike, water-repellant fabric that's comfortable to hold. My review sample came in black, but the case is also available in red, blue or purple. Inside, the keyboard deck is made of a gray metal with black keys in a slight depression. Overall, the look is what I would call "subdued professional."
Unlike the $169 Smart Keyboard made by Apple, Logitech's keyboard has a dedicated row of keys for raising and lowering the brightness, volume and keyboard backlighting, as well as iOS-specific buttons for Home, Search and Web. Many of these functions don't exist on the Smart Keyboard.
Opening the Logitech keyboard doesn't require as many contortions as Apple's keyboard case needs, but like that accessory, you can prop the iPad Pro up at only one angle. I do like, though, that this keyboard uses the Smart Connector on the side of the iPad to automatically turn on when connected.
Keep in mind that this is one heavy case. At 1.65 pounds, the Create keyboard case is heavier than the iPad Pro itself (1.57 pounds). Combined, they weigh more than the 13-inch MacBook Air. By comparison, the Smart Keyboard weighs just 11.9 ounces. Each case protects both the back and front of the iPad Pro.
Typing on the Create keyboard felt like using a pretty good, but not great laptop. While I liked the spacing and travel of the keys, their action felt a bit mushy, and their smooth surface made my fingers slip a little.
The Create keyboard has laptoplike travel of 1.5m, and you need 60 grams of force to press the keys. Apple's Smart Keyboard also requires 60 grams of force, but much less travel, at just 0.6mm. The lack of travel was definitely noticeable on Apple's keyboard; the bottoming-out feeling as my fingers fully depressed the keys was uncomfortable.
I took the Key Hero typing test three times on both the Apple keyboard and the Logitech, and averaged the results. On Apple's keyboard, I averaged 58.6 words per minute with 96.5 percent accuracy; on the Logitech Create, my average was 64.9 WPM with 97.1 percent accuracy.
If you don't mind the extra bulk of the $149 Logitech Create keyboard case, I recommend it over the Apple Smart Keyboard. Not only is Logitech's keyboard $20 cheaper, but it also offers a better typing experience, backlighting and a dedicated row of function keys. There's still room for improvement, but for now, the Create is your best option if you want to do a lot of typing on the iPad Pro.