Apple's new Smart Keyboard accessory for its 9.7-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro looks great, but typing on it takes some practice. Here's our review


Our Verdict

The Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro is a solid accessory, albeit one that represents a compromise compared to lớn conventional keyboards. Typing on it is in our experience slower and less accurate than on a full-size keyboard, but lớn a degree that’s an inevitable corollary of its size, & it’s still one of the better mini-keyboards we’ve tried. We like the feel of the fabric cover under the fingers, và while the shallow key kích hoạt makes it less satisfying khổng lồ use than a full-size or conventional keyboard, it’s more solid than such a lightweight accessory has any right to lớn be.The Smart Connector is one of this device’s trump cards – you don’t need lớn worry about battery life, or a công nghệ bluetooth không dây connection, because everything is handled through that port. But there will be alternative keyboards that also use that connector: we expect Logitech khổng lồ release a 9.7-inch version of its popular Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case before long, and that will probably be a bit cheaper.

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This is our đánh giá of the 9.7-inch version of Apple’s Smart Keyboard, for the 9.7-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro. For the larger model, read our 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard review.

You can buy the 9.7-inch Smart Keyboard direct from Apple.

Apple Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro review:Design và build

The Smart Keyboard is an attractive & slimline máy tính bảng ipad cover that doubles up – triples up – as a keyboard và stand.

In many respects it’s lượt thích the old Smart Cover: it covers and protects the iPad’s screen when closed; it lies flat against the back of the device when open; & if you fold it up into a triangular prism, it forms a simple but sturdy stand that props up the ipad tablet (in landscape orientation) at a convenient viewing angle for working. The difference is that, in this last position, there’s a keyboard in front.

If you can cope with the distraction of that keyboard, it’ll serve as a perfectly decent stand for watching movies or FaceTime calls (you can actually fold the keyboard out of sight in stand mode, but it’s quite fiddly to lớn do and a little less stable because of the weight of the keyboard), but it’s obviously targeted mainly at workers.


The keyboard itself is seamless: unlike conventional keyboards, with separate keys and cracks for crumbs & spilled liquid khổng lồ disappear down, it’s completely covered in resilient, custom-woven fabric. It’s smooth lớn type on – more on the typing action in a moment – but also durable, and should cope well with grimy fingers. The keyboard and inner lining of the older và larger 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard has stood up well khổng lồ six months of reasonably regular use, so we expect the 9.7-inch mã sản phẩm to last well too.

When being used as a case (and again like the Smart Cover), the Smart Keyboard swaddles the iPad’s screen with a soft microfibre lining, while its exterior is clad in a polyurethane material. We found it slightly disappointing that it’s not made of leather, considering the price, & we know from experience that, unlike the keyboard and soft lining, the polyurethane exterior will start to look worn after a few months of being carried around in a bag. (It’s only available in dark grey at the moment, too – we’d have liked a navy blue option.)


The 9.7in Smart Keyboard (left) tends lớn lift up very slightly; the 12.9in Smart Keyboard (right) does not

A couple of final word on layout: the Smart Keyboard is currently only available in US English, and doesn’t feature the truyền thông playback keys – play, pause, volume controls etc – that you get on a Mac keyboard, or on the Logitech Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro.

Read next: Best máy tính bảng ipad keyboards

Apple Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch máy tính bảng ipad Pro review:Typing experience

We found typing on the 9.7-inch Smart Keyboard less than ideal, but it’s still better than most keyboards of this very small size.

For reasons of weight & slimness, the keys have a shallower kích hoạt than those on a standalone keyboard for a desktop Mac – instead of a pleasing butterfly or scissor mechanism, the keys are kept in position by the tension in that covering fabric we mentioned earlier – và this makes them less satisfying to lớn use. But it’s not horrible, as micro-keyboards can be: it still feels solid under the finger.


Apple Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch ipad tablet Pro review:Battery

Unusually for a tablet keyboard accessory, the Smart Keyboard has no issues with battery life. It connects magnetically khổng lồ the máy tính bảng ipad Pro 9.7 via the Smart Connector, & uses conductive material to lớn pass data from the keyboard lớn the iPad & power from the máy tính bảng ipad to the keyboard.

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Apple Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch ipad tablet Pro review:UK price

The Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch ipad Pro costs £129 if you buy direct from Apple.