If you’re looking for a keyboard and trackpad combination for your iPad, but don’t want to splurge hundreds on Apple’s Magic Keyboard – there is an alternative. Logitech’s Combo Touch iPad case offers the flexibility of a protective shell for your device as well as a keyboard and trackpad for converting your tablet into a laptop form factor – with versions available for a range of iPad models.
The design of the Combo Touch is very nice and follows a design language that we’ve been recently seeing in Logitech products – with a grey fabric design on my Combo Touch, it transforms the industrial aluminium build of the iPad into something more organic and homely that feels softer to the touch.
The case features a removable magnetic keyboard and trackpad element as well as a freely adjustable kickstand on the back of the case – transforming it into something that isn’t too dissimilar to the Microsoft Surface Pro. This not only allows you to freely tilt the iPad when in a typing position to get a comfortable angle, but can also be used to have your iPad in a standing position for consuming media or in a drawing position for use with the Apple Pencil. The keyboard is backlit, making it easy to type on in the dark and use at night, with automatic brightness sensors that can be manually overridden if you wish and the trackpad has a smooth plastic finish that can be clicked from any point.
You may be thinking that the backlight requires the case to be now charged separately, leaving another thing that you need to worry about charging, but that isn’t the case (no pun intended). The case and keyboard make use of Apple’s Smart Connector which means that it is powered by the iPad and there’s no need for a Bluetooth connection between the keyboard and iPad either – it is a seamless experience.
There’s also a cutout for the Apple Pencil to accommodate the magnetic attachment and charging of the Pencil to the iPad, although this does leave the Pencil exposed on the side, although I’ve not experienced it accidentally falling off which is reassuring. A plastic surround also wraps around the iPad and slightly over the display, providing a bit of additional protection with cutouts for the speakers and USB connector. I’ve been able to use a variety of cables with the case without any problems, however if you do have a chunky third party cable, it may not fit.
It’s easy to detach the keyboard when you don’t need it as it’s all magnetic, and you can inverse it onto the back of the case to store it away if you don’t want to leave it around somewhere. This does result in quite a thick feeling iPad as it’s a dense weight, but I like the flexibility of being able to do this – although I really do find myself keeping the keyboard in my bag or leaving it on the side if I’m not planning on using it.
I also wanted to give a quick mention to the companion app of this keyboard, which solely provides it with firmware updates, however if you do end up buying one for yourself it’s worth a download.
I’ve been using the version of this case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro, so my thoughts may not translate exactly for the version of the case designed for the larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
The keyboard isn’t full sized, making it slightly smaller than a traditional desktop keyboard such as the MX Keys which I use on my desk – however it’s only proportionally smaller and after a quick bit of getting used to, I was able to transition to the slightly smaller keyboard size without any major problems – I have written most of this review with the Combo Touch.
The keyboard follows a chiclet style design, giving it a very familiar feeling to Logitech’s MX Keys as well as Apple’s own keyboards. All the keys are backlit, automatically being adjusted by the iPad – however the back lighting can also be manually overridden with the backlight adjustment keys on the function keys row at the top – which also includes keys for adjusting brightness, media playback as well as a home button key and lock key.
For a thin and light keyboard case, there’s a decent amount of travel that offers tactile feedback when typing. The keys don’t feel mushy or laborious to use, it feels like a keyboard which is easy to get work done with. It’s also fairly quiet to type with, which complements the fanless design of the iPad – making it perfect for quiet environments.
The trackpad feels natural to use, mixed in with how Apple has implemented mouse cursors. The trackpad is smooth to use and can be clicked from anywhere on the trackpad which is nice. The click is fairly quiet; however, I’ve also set it in the Settings so I can tap to click.
Overall, I have no problems with the trackpad, it supports multitouch gestures and scrolling and provides a generally pleasant experience for using my iPad.
So the experience of using the case is great and it’s well made but now we come to the question of “why this case?” — which amalgamates into a few different questions. When I’m using a computer, I’m using a desktop, so the benefits of this case, and partially the iPad, become clear as I’m looking for a desktop companion, not a laptop replacement. This case gives me the form factor of a laptop when I need it, for writing, researching and productivity — but also the benefits of a tablet, with light portability as well as a compact form factor. This case allows me to turn a tablet into a 2-in-1.
The Combo Touch also does this at a much more compelling price than Apple’s Magic Keyboard case, which makes the cost of entry lower and I also get additional protection around my device. Of course, there are benefits to Apple’s design as it lacks a kickstand so it doesn’t have as much of a footprint and a relocated USB-C port, but those extra niceties, to me, aren’t worth the extra cost.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to bring a laptop form-factor to your iPad, the Logitech Combo Touch is a great option – the build quality and product offers good value for the price in comparison to the competition and it offers a variety of flexible arrangements that make it more than just a keyboard case.