Zagg Slim Book Go4.0 / 5
The Zagg Slim Book Go is a detachable Bluetooth keyboard for iPad Pro with backlit keys and a function row that can top Apple's own offering.
Another iPad Pro keyboard
The iPad Pro is increasingly being peddled as a pro-level device and, depending on your definition of professional, a capable keyboard is a large part of that. We've examined others in the past such as the Logitech Slim Folio Pro or Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio.
Zagg differentiates itself with a few key decisions that pay off for it in day-to-day use.
The keyboard itself is a two-part design. There is a protective case for your iPad Pro and a keyboard that is entirely detachable. One grievance we had with this setup is while we appreciate the detachable form factor, it comes apart far too easily. Many times as we opened and closed the unit as a whole, the keyboard would remove itself unintentionally.
USB-C is used to charge the keyboard, something we very much appreciate. This allows you not only to use your iPad's charger to charge the keyboard as well but allows you to charge the keyboard directly from the iPad's USB-C port.
The case seems protective and has a built-in variable kickstand which is great to prop your iPad up as a display with or without the keyboard attached.
Bluetooth vs Smart Connector
Zagg, like nearly all third-party manufacturers, has chosen to connect its keyboard over Bluetooth rather than the Smart Connector. The trade off is with the Smart Connector you don't need to charge the keyboard whatsoever — it draws its power from the iPad itself.
Bluetooth keyboards instead need to be charged every few months, depending on use. Because they also house a battery, they are also often thicker and heavier than they otherwise would be. In the case of the Slim Book Pro, Zagg managed to actually keep a relatively thin profile — it isn't much thicker than Apple's own Smart Keyboard Folio.
The positive we also get with Zagg using Bluetooth is that the keyboard is fully detachable. You don't need to be stuck with the case and keyboard simultaneously if you don't need them both, which is a huge benefit for portability and productivity.
Typing on the Zagg Slim Book Go was a pleasant experience. The keys are ore rounded than other keyboards which did lead us, initially, to a higher error rate as we made contact with the keys around the corners that weren't there. Soon enough we became more proficient and able to make contact closer to the center of the keys.
The keys have solid travel distance that gives good feedback when depressed. Sometimes as we were typing fast we heard a high-pitched clicking, likely just the edges of the keys making contact around them rather than the mechanism itself. This didn't impact the performance or premium feel of the keys, but we're going to keep an eye on it going forward.
An adjustable multi-color RGB backlight also helps see the keys in low-light conditions.
There is a row of function keys along the top, something we've grown accustomed to seeing on iOS-bound keyboards. This makes the iPad feel much more capable as you have not only keyboard shortcuts you can perform with the Command key but the function keys as well for media controls and more.
This keyboard also supports multiple hosts so you can switch between different devices. That could be alternating between your iPad Pro and your Mac with little lag in between. Since the keyboard detaches, this is even more convenient.
A pro typists tool
We won't go into all the differences between the Zagg Slim Book Go and the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, but that is our main point of reference as it is what we've typed on since the iPad Pro launched.
The Smart Keyboard Folio was our go-to for its slim design, excellent keys, and solid performance.
Zagg really makes us consider that sentiment. We can't overstate how much we like being able to remove the keyboard from the tablet. By making the keyboard detachable, we can type more easily with the keyboard not so close to the iPad. It also lets us just use the case, making the ensemble even thinner than it already was.
From a physical standpoint, the Zagg stand is also so adjustable and takes up very little space. When we just want to lean back and watch a movie, the small footprint sans-keyboard is wholeheartedly welcomed.
Typing is a very enjoyable experience — not quite as nice as it is on the Smart Keyboard Folio — but solid overall. It also wins out by being backlit and including the function keys. Most would rather have those trade-offs.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Where to buy
Although Zagg's Slim Book Go for Apple's third-generation 12-inch iPad Pro retails for $129.99, Amazon.com has the detachable keyboard on sale for $122.47. Alternatively, shoppers can pick up the Slim Book Go at Zagg directly.