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Apple Magic Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard Folio: Which Should I Choose?

Apple Magic Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard Folio: Which Should I Choose?

    This article explores the positives and negatives of tAs more features are added to the Apple iPad and iPad Pro, making them nearly as capable as a full computer, many people use them as their main equipment for completing their work while traveling. However, typing on the touchscreen can be quite frustrating. So if you do want to use your iPad Pro for work, buying an iPad keyboard would be a small investment that results in big change.There are three quality iPad Pro keyboards from Apple itself: Apple Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. So what's the difference bewtten them? Which one should I choose? In this article, I will explores the positives and negatives of the three keyboards to help you decide. Let start now!


Apple Magic Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard Folio Side by Side comparation

Apple Magic KeyboardSmart KeyboardSmart Keyboard Folio
Dimensions29.2x23.9x2.2 cm26.2x19.4x1.4 cm25.7x19.1x2.3 cm
Weight1 kg 0.5 kg150 grams 
Key Travel1mm1mmNot advertised 
Connection MethodSmart ConnectorSmart ConnectorSmart Connector
Battery Life (for Bluetooth models)N/A N/A N/A 
Number Of Keys646464
Compatibility iPad Pro 11 (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen), iPad Air (4th gen), iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd, 4th, 5th gen) iPad Pro 10.5, iPad Air (3rd, 4th gen), iPad (7th, 8th, 9th gen) iPad Pro 11 (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen), iPad Air (4th gen), iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd, 4th, 5th gen)

Next, I will be comparing Apple Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio based on the following 7 factors. Then  I will offer some overall final thoughts to help you decide! 


Apple uses the name Magic Keyboard in its premium iPad case to let everyone know that it is a "real" keyboard with scissor switches, which you can find in the latest M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The keys are even backlit which is an improvement over Apple's Magic Keyboard for Mac. And they allow 1 mm of key travel. Below the keyboard, you will also find a touchpad, which may be the main reason you want to buy a touchpad.

As for the Smart Keyboard and Smarty Keyboard Folio, they do not have a trackpad or backlight. The key itself is covered by a canvas-like material, which basically makes key travel non-existent. Most of the time, typing with it feels like tapping your fingers on the tabletop.


The Magic Keyboard has a trackpad, but the Smart Folio Keyboard and Smart Keyboard do not. This is a huge advantage for the Magic Keyboard, because you must connect an external mouse or trackpad to get the same effect as the Smart Keyboard. Trackpad gestures are generally similar to what you would use in your MacBook, but there are also some iPad-specific gestures.


Like Smart Keyboard Folio, the Magic Keyboard uses a powerful magnet to hold the iPad Pro in place. But thanks to the cantilever hinge on the Magic Keyboard, you can tilt your iPad 130 degrees until you find the perfect viewing angle, just like using a MacBook. The iPad itself "floats" above the keyboard, so you don't have to bow your head like with the Smart Keyboard Folio. In addition, the Magic Keyboard is more comfortable to use on the lap than other keyboards, although they are mainly used for desktop use.  

The Smart Keyboard Folio only allows two viewing angles, and both are very steep. Essentially, you only need to move the iPad into one of the two grooves above the keyboard and hold it firmly in place with magnets. The Smart Keyboard has only one viewing angle, and it is very uncomfortable to use it anywhere other than a flat surface.


The Magic Keyboard has a USB-C pass-through port for charging built right into the hinge. You can only use it to charge, but on the bright side, this port can free up the USB-C port on the iPad for any thumb drive, wired mouse, or other peripherals you want to connect to.

The Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio have no ports, at least if you don’t count the Smart Connector that’s used to attach the device to the tablet in the first place.


The Smart Keyboard Folio and the Magic Keyboard are compatible with the following iPad models:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch: 5th generation; 4th generation; 3rd generation

  • iPad Pro 11-inch: 3rd generation; 2nd generation;1st generation

  • iPad Air: 4th generation

The Smart Keyboard is compatible with the following iPad models:

  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch

  • iPad Air: 3rd generation

  • iPad: 8th generation; 7th generation


The Magic Keyboard Case is significantly heavier than the Smart Keyboard Folio, and adds considerable weight to the iPad (1.6 pounds vs. 0.89 pounds). After connecting the Magic Keyboard, the weight of the iPad Pro is closer to that of a laptop than a tablet.


The Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is priced at $349, which is jaw-dropping. For perspective, that’s more than you’ll pay for an entry-level regular iPad. The 11-inch iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard is slightly cheaper at $299.

As for the Smart Keyboard Folio, the 12.9-inch model is priced at $199, the 11-inch model costs $179, and the Smart Keyboard is priced at $159. This is an attractive difference, but remember that if you stick with Apple’s old design, you will indeed miss a lot of features.

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Apple Magic Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard Folio: Which Should I Choose?

No matter how much folks want an “end-all, be-all” answer to this question, it’s just not that simple. The Apple Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio provide different solutions to the same question. 

1. Apple Magic Keyboard: The best keyboard from Apple

The Magic Keyboard is an amazing companion for iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Air. It features an incredible typing experience, a trackpad that opens up new ways to work with iPadOS, a USB‑C port for pass-through charging, and front and back protection. The Magic Keyboard has a floating cantilever design, allowing you to attach iPad Pro and iPad Air magnetically and to smoothly adjust it to the perfect viewing angle for you.


For those who spend a lot of time typing, want an integrated trackpad, and need to free up the USB-C port, I recommend the Magic Keyboard which can turn your iPad Pro into a true laptop replacement. Although the cost is steep,  if you’re serious about using your iPad Pro as a productivity tool, the investment is easily worth it. 


Sturdy, relatively slim case

Heavy and Thick
Excellent build qualityVery expensive
Excellent trackpadWon't open up flat for folio-style tablet use
Spectacular keyboard feelKeyboard lacks extra row of function keys
With backlight
Great typing experience

Responsive and easy to type on

Extra USB-C charge port
Adjustable viewing angles

2. The Smart Keyboard Folio: Apple's model with no trackpad

The Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro and iPad Air is a comfortable keyboard when you need one, and provides elegant front and back protection when you don’t. With two convenient viewing angles and no charging or pairing required, it’s simple to just attach the keyboard and start typing.


Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio is the best option if you value portability and don’t plan to use your iPad Pro as a primary writing machine. The best thing about the Smart Keyboard Folio is its convenience. It’s the only iPad Pro keyboard to make use of the Smart Connector on the back of the tablet, which handles pairing and power automatically. You never have to charge the keyboard or dive into Bluetooth settings. It’s also really easy to remove whenever you just want to use the iPad as a tablet by itself, and it’s by far the thinnest and lightest keyboard option available. 

Incredibly light Only two angles of viewing
Magnetic attachments work pretty wellNo shortcut keys
Easy to connect and configure

No backlight keyboard and not as much typing

feedback as a classic keyboard

No charging, pairing, or bluetooth connection required

The screen isn't adjustable and there's 

no touchpad

Works well when holding in portrait mode
Water- and spill-resistant
Typing feels really smooth

3. The Smart Keyboard: Great option for the most affordable iPad

The Smart Keyboard combines advanced technologies to create a keyboard like no other. It’s a comfortable keyboard that’s fully portable, and it connects to iPad with the Smart Connector. Just attach the Smart Keyboard and start typing. And when you’re done, it folds to create a slim, lightweight cover.


In my opion,  the Smart Keyboard  turns out to be much more versatile than the Smart Keyboard Folio. For example, you can roll it up into a basic kickstand for watching video as well as the easel-style mode that elevated the iPad slightly on a desk. But What's a pity is that it is only compatible with the entry-level iPad and older iPad Air and iPad Pro models. 

Sleek/slim designNo backlight
Simple functionalityNo trackpad
Perfect fit and very light to hold and useOnly protects the front of the iPad
No charging is needed
Very nice to type with

2021-11-12 05:27433