ZAGGKeys PROPlus pushes me one step closer to replacing my MacBook with an iPad [Review]

ZAGG is fast becoming one of my favorite makers of iDevice accessories. Whether it’s keyboards, skins or screen protectors, the manufacturer seems to have quality running through it all. The ZAGGKeys PROPlus is the second iPad keyboard I’ve used. Having tried and enjoyed using the Flex a little while back, I was expecting a lot. And I wasn’t disappointed.

The PROPlus is the more expensive in the PRO lineup which is made up of two keyboards: this one and the regular PRO. The difference: the Plus has a backlit keyboard with adjustable light levels and will set you back an extra $30. The benefits of having a backlit keyboard are only obvious to anyone who works regularly in low light conditions, but, to those it’s an absolute must. Even a touch typist like myself still likes the safety blanket of knowing that I can still see the keys if I need to. Apart from that, the two models are virtually identical.

Design-wise, this case/keyboard has been designed with Apple’s iPad in mind. It’s the first ZAGG product to make use of Apple’s auto-wake magnets to both unlock the device and hold the keyboard in place firmly when shut, ensuring that you don’t need any uncomfortable hinges or catches getting in the way of the beautifully smooth surface. The underside of the PROPlus is designed to mimic the look and feel of the iPad’s backside, it has similar curved edges and brushed metal texture. When used as a case, it feels fantastic. Thanks to the aforementioned edges, it gives the impression that it belongs. Apple could have designed this thing and stuck an Apple logo on it, and I’d be none the wiser. The only thing to give any indication of two different products is the minimal grey plastic seam running through the middle of the enclosed devices. A great added touch: the two indents for the headset jack and 30-pin connector are so minimal, they’re almost unnoticeable. But the fact they’re there makes a necessary difference when wanting to have your iPad plugged in when closed. There’s a nice MacBook-style cutout for your thumb neatly designed to make “opening” the case easier too.

On the inside, the keyboard has 6 rows of keys including a row of iPad specific controls at the top; featuring music controls, a home button, search key, cut, copy, paste, a lock button and volume controls. These are incredibly useful, not only because it gives the PROPlus extra functionality, but also pushes the iPad a little further away from your face, to give you vital space. If the row wasn’t there, the iPad would be half an inch closer, and would suddenly feel uncomfortably close and unnatural.

The “stand” for the iPad is a thin gap just behind the iOS controls which holds your tablet at the perfect angle for viewing/typing. One thing I was really impressed with is just how well this thing holds the iPad despite only gripping on to a couple of millimeters on the edge. I’ve pushed it a few times to see if it’ll budge or slip out, and it simply takes the keyboard with it. That said, it would be nice to have some magnets in there just for that extra piece of mind. Behind the iPad stand are the two least-used buttons on the device: “pair” and “on/off”.

Pairing the PRO with my iPad was a breeze. Flick the power switch to the “on” position, hit the “pair” button and go in to the Bluetooth settings on my iPad. Then, select “ZAGGKeys PROPlus” from the list of discovered accessories, and enter the required 4-digit PIN code. Done. There’s a neat little battery indicator button in the bottom left corner of the keyboard. Press it and it’ll flash green, yellow or red depending on how much charge you have remaining. Thankfully, the PRO should last a healthy two weeks on a full charge, so you won’t have to plug it in that often (micro USB cable included in packaging).

Using the keyboard is simple too. Thanks to some well-spaced keys, it takes very little time to get used to the smaller sized layout. I’ve used the Pro Plus for a few reviews now (including this one), it only took perhaps a paragraph or two to get me up to speed. Having had a similar experience on the ZAGGKeys Flex previously, I was expecting it to be a simple transition. And it was. For the most part, the keys give just the right amount of tactile feedback, and a nice, low level of “click”. Just enough to reassure you that you’ve actually pressed a key.

Overall, I’m delighted with the ZAGGKeys PROPlus. In fact, there’s very little wrong with it. I was worried that I’d be restricted to flat surface typing, but I’ve even had this on my lap on the sofa, typing journal entries in front the TV. Bottom line: it feels fantastic as a case, it’s light-weight, comfortable to type on, and brings me one step closer to replacing my laptop with the iPad. First rate job by ZAGG once again. (Just put some magnets in the stand for the next version and we’re a 10/10 product.)

If you want to purchase the PRO or PROPlus, head on over to ZAGG’s product page. The Pro costs $99 whereas the Plus will set you back $129.

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