Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad – a review

Zagg is one of the more reliable accessory makers out there, and they have several interesting options for iPad users. I’ve written about their Pro Stylus before, and how it compares to the Apple Pencil.

I’ve been using the Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad case for a while, and I have thoughts.

First, this isn’t marketed as a Magic Keyboard alternative, not really. While it is an alternative, obviously, it’s bulky in comparison. This is because the Pro Keys with Trackpad consists of two parts: The back cover case, and the actual keyboard part. It’s all rubbery and adds plenty of bulk, albeit not as much weight as you might think (0.45 kg). My 11″ iPad Pro, which is the model I’ve been using for this review, is suddenly on the thick side.

There are benefits of this. According to Zagg, this added protection means that you can drop your iPad from two meters without any harm coming to the device. I can see that, the back cover is thick enough, with the only thing susceptible to damage being the camera. With the keyboard closed over the screen, that should be safe too. So, Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad (and, presumably, the non-trackpad version as well) is more tailored to people using their iPads in more sensitive locations.

This feature doesn’t really appeal to me. I’ve never dropped and iPad, and I’m not using it in more dramatic places than sitting at desks or tables, bar tops, or in tablet mode slouching in a chair or something. The added bulk is more of a problem than the weight, as the Magic Keyboard – which I typically have on when I’m carrying my 11″ iPad Pro – is quite heavy. I do like the Apple Pencil (or Zagg Pro Stylus, as you’ll see on the promotional material) slot and cover, though, it’s a clever implementation.

Design-wise, the Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad is grey, and quite boring to look at. It’s understated, not a design marvel by any means, but not ugly. I’m typically not a fan of rounded keys, and some of these are half-sized, too, but it works well enough. The extra row with iPad-specific keys is always nice to have, too.

As for typing, the experience is, as expected, quite plasticky, albeit not in a cheap way. There’s a decent amount of travel for a keyboard this size, and I find I can type at about the same speed as I would on the Magic Keyboard. I also like the arrow keys. It’s pleasant, as Zagg’s keyboards usually are. And yes, the Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad keyboard is backlit. It can also pair with two devices, if you want to add your iPhone or something.

The trackpad is a different matter. It suffers from the same problems as all other non-Apple trackpads do, and third-party pointing devices in general. It’s janky, scrolling is horrible, and it reacts slowly when you activate the first time. This isn’t necessarily a fault of Zagg, it’s just the way it is with pointing devices that aren’t from Apple’s Magic Trackpad/Mouse series, or, of course, the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad. Here’s hoping Apple will sort this out with better third-party support for pointing devices in a future iPadOS update, but until then, we’ll have to accept that this is the way it is.

All in all, I think Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad is a practical option if you’re looking for a keyboard case with focus on protection. It’s obviously a lot cheaper than the Magic Keyboard, so that matters, too. Price aside, if you don’t need that extra protection, the Magic Keyboard is better, but the Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad is a good alternative if it ticks your boxes.

⌨️ ⌨️ ⌨️ out of 5 – Good.

The Zagg Pro Keys with Trackpad for the 11″ iPad Pro and iPad Air 4/5 is available for around $160. There is a model for 12.9″ iPad Pros too.