Logitech Slim Combo Review: Keyboard Case for iPad Pro

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  • Pros

    • Very versatile, flexible design
    • Uses Smart Connector, not Bluetooth
    • Kickstand usable without keyboard
  • Cons

    • Multimedia controls can be inadvertently pushed with keyboard closed
    • Keyboard can’t be flipped behind screen

Quick Take

The Logitech Slim Combo brings some serious to the Apple Smart Keyboard. It offers a modicum of protection, while also boasting  an excellent typing experience.

Apple touts the iPad Pro as a 2-in-1, and offers the Smart Keyboard to turn this tablet into a laptop. But there are other options, most notably the Logitech Slim Combo, which has a kickstand that makes this iOS device appear very similar to a Microsoft Surface Pro.

Logitech’s case/keyboard combination is available now. The version for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro sells for $129.99, while the one for 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $149.99.

Logitech Slim Combo Build & Design

Many add-on keyboards, like the Brydge 12.9, turn the iPad into a traditional laptop. The Slim Combo adds a kickstand to the tablet instead, so that it’s always supported from the bottom and very stable. The hinge on this stand can rotate until the display is leaning way back at a 150º angle. Its most upright angle is 110º.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo with iPad Pro 12.9

The disadvantage of this design is that it takes up more room than a traditional clamshell. This is most noticeable when being used in the lap–the screen can’t lean back past one’s knees, because the stand underneath needs support.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro takes up a lot of lap all on its own, so keyboard in this version for this model can fold in half. This isn’t an option with the 10.5-inch model.

The Slim Combo sits firmly in the lap, where one can type with relative ease. But the slim edge of the kickstand starts to become uncomfortable after a while.

On the top edge is a loop designed to hold an Apple Pencil. Our test unit does this securely, with no suggestion that it will slip out. However, we were always nervous that the cap would come loose from this stylus and be lost somewhere–there’s nothing Logitech can really do about this, though. This fabric loop does an equally good job of holding any other stylus or pen.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo with iPad Pro 10.5

Virtually every part of Logitech’s accessory is plastic, which makes it lightweight but not tremendously rugged. The keyboard covers the iPad’s display, helping to protect it from scratches.

This product is available in either a charcoal grey or bright blue casings. This affects only the color of the exterior; the keyboard area is always black. The overall look of the charcoal version is professional, while the blue model is more cheery.

As its name suggests, the Slim Combo does dual jobs, and it therefore includes two parts: a holder and a clip-on keyboard.

Holder

The holder wraps around the iPad Pro, and also includes the kickstand. The plastic body covers the back and all four corners, but has openings for all the buttons, the speakers, the rear camera, plus the Lightning, Smart Connector, and audio ports.

Perhaps Logitech calls this a holder not a case to not present an over-inflated idea of how much protection it offers. It’s likely to help when the tablet gets bumps and blows, but this isn’t a truly rugged case. That said, our iPad Pro was knocked from a desk while in the Slim Combo’s holder and it came away unscathed.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo 12.9 holder

The holder for the Slim Combo adds only marginally to the size of the computer. It is 0.4 inches taller and wider than the tablet alone.

Just the holder for the 12.9-inch model is 0.7 pounds, so together they are 2.2 lbs. As the keyboard can be easily separated, and this version of the iPad Pro is very slender for its size, we recommend that users keep the tablet in this case all the time. Especially as the Logitech’s kickstand is very useful even without the keyboard.

As mentioned, the kickstand can rotate over a wide arc. And it can be used with the iPad in either landscape or portrait mode. It’s more stable in landscape, though. In this configuration, the hinge is firm enough to hold the tablet quite steady. In portrait, it can be knocked over much more easily, especially with the 12.9-inch device.

The stand is very useful for watching movies on the computer, when drawing, or making FaceTime calls. It is an important part of three of the four usage modes touted by Logitech: Typing, Viewing, FaceTime, and Reading, depending on how the cover and keyboard are arranged.

Keyboard

The Logitech Slim Combo employs the Smart Connector that Apple added to the Pro Series models especially for use with this type of accessory. Attaching this keyboard to the holder is easy, as magnets guide the two parts together and then hold them in place. A quick tug separates them, making it easy to convert the iPad from laptop to tablet.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo 10.5 keyboard

The chief advantage of this system is that the keyboard is ready to be used whenever it’s attached. Unlike Bluetooth keyboards it never shuts itself off.

One of the drawbacks of this accessory is that the keyboard can not be easily flipped around to the back of the tablet to get it out of the way. Attempting to do so will cause the Smart Connector to come loose. This means that using the iPad as a tablet requires finding a place to put the keyboard.

Our Slim Combo review unit is the one designed for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, so that’s the version we can take measurements on.

This key area of this model is 10.6 inches wide and 3.7 in. tall. That approaches the size of a desktop keyboard. There are 78 keys in a QWERTY configuration. Most are are 0.6 by 0.6 in. with 0.1 in. of separation. Travel is minimal, but that’s standard on mobile keyboards. Typing is fairly quiet, and movement feels crisp.

We had several people with a range of hand sizes touch type on the Slim Combo, and none had difficulties or significant complaints.

The keyboard can be backlit, with white lights that evenly cover all the keys. These lights are white, and can be set at either dim or bright. They allow the iPad Pro to be used even in complete darkness.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo 12.9 Keyboard

Above the letter, number, and symbol keys are a row of half-size function keys. These can be used to control the iPad Pro’s screen brightness, or the volume of multimedia being played. There’s also a Home key, and well as a screen lock key.

Closing the keyboard down over the screen automatically shuts off the display, but it doesn’t turn off the keyboard. This causes a real problem: pressing the back of the case in the right spot will in turn press the multimedia control buttons, inadvertently starting music playing. The only real way to prevent this is to carry the iPad and Slim Combo with the Apple Pencil against one’s palm. Held the other way it’s too easy to press the multimedia controls right through the case.

This keyboard base isn’t any wider or taller than the holder, but it is considerably thicker. Measuring the holder, iPad, and keyboard together, the 10.5-inch model is 1.0 inches thick, while the tablet alone is 0.24 in. The 12.9-inch version is 1.1 inches thick, while the computer is 0.27 in. by itself. Realistically, the Slim Combo isn’t very slim.

There’s also weight: the 10.5-inch model is 1.2 pounds, and the larger version is 1.4 lbs. In short, these keyboard cases weight as much as the tablets they contain. To be fair though, many iPad keyboard cases are heavier. The ZAGG Slim Book for the 12.9-inch model is almost 2 pounds, for example.

Logitech Slim Combo Performance

The iPad Pro is specifically designed to use this type of keyboard, and there’s a physical connection between tablet and input device, so there are no issues with connectivity.

Our very extensive testing of this our review unit found no problems with dropped keys, or inadvertently repeated keys.

Logitech Slim Combo

Battery

Another of the advantages of using the Smart Connector is that Logitech’s accessory draws power directly from the iPad Pro. Thus, it never needs to be recharged.

Of course, this means that it’s a drain on the tablet, but our tests indicate that this isn’t noticeable in real-world use. Logitech says it’s just 0.3% of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s battery per hour. (Not 3%, but 0.3%) The backlights on the keys draw more, but they shut down after 8 seconds of inactivity. According to Logitech, with backlighting at maximum level, typing uses 1.6% of of the total battery capacity per hour. The figures are just slightly higher for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro: 0.4% and 2.3%, respectively.

Logitech Slim Combo Final Thoughts

The addition of the Smart Connector to the iPad Pro line was a welcome improvement, even if the idea was borrowed from Microsoft. So far, the Apple  Smart Keyboard has been the standout device using this feature, but the Logitech Slim Combo brings some serious competition. It offers a modicum of protection, while also offering an excellent typing experience.

Logitech Slim Combo

Logitech Slim Combo 10.5 side view

This accessory isn’t too heavy, but it is somewhat thick. And it must be carried in the right way to prevent accidentally starting music playback even with the cover closed.

As previously mentioned, Logitech is asking $129.99 to $149.99 for this product, depending on the size of the iPad Pro it’s designed for. The Apple Smart Keyboard for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro is $159.99, and the 12.9-inch version is $169, so the Slim Combo is a bit cheaper.

Pros:

  • Very versatile, flexible design
  • Uses Smart Connector, not Bluetooth
  • Kickstand usable without keyboard

Cons:

  • Multimedia controls can be inadvertently pushed with keyboard closed
  • Keyboard can’t be flipped behind screen



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