The sudden announcement of cursor support in iPadOS and the release of the proprietary Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro came as a surprise to many. New devices are always interesting, but I still own the iPad Air (2019). I have no particular reason to upgrade, so I decided to try the Logitech Combo Touch, an affordable alternative to Apple’s expensive accessory. I have been using this keyboard for almost half a year, and I want to share my experience of using it and help find out if it is worth a purchase.

Design

Lovers of minimalism will definitely like the Logitech Combo Touch – the keyboard cover looks stylish and leaves the impression of an expensive product. Separately, I would like to draw your attention to the materials – soft rubberized plastic delivers pleasant tactile sensations and does not get dirty at all, which cannot be said about the more expensive Smart Keyboard. In addition, the case protects the side edges of the tablet and has a holder for an Apple Pencil or a cheaper analog in the form of a Logitech Crayon.

The base of the cover is made of rigid polyurethane. This material is pleasant to the touch, but it has its drawback – it is rather difficult to get the tablet out of the case. Logitech realized this, and the new iPad Pro version of the case is already made of silicone.

Thanks to the folding stand at the back, the iPad turns into a parody of the Microsoft Surface, which clearly benefits the tablet. The keyboard is held in place by magnets, which allow it to be removed if necessary. There is no need to charge or change the batteries – the connection interface was the Smart Connector, a proprietary three-pin connector from Apple.

Not without its drawbacks – the Logitech Combo Touch significantly thickens the iPad, visually transforming it into a 2000s laptop. The keyboard cover weighs about 650 grams, which is also quite a lot. In addition, due to the folding stand, this whole structure takes up an impressive space on the table and makes it difficult to use the tablet on your lap. The magnetic mount is not as strong as we would like, so you need to carry the tablet in a closed state or hold the keyboard not to come off.

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Keyboard

The keyboard looks standard – there are no round keys like other Logitech products like MX Keys, and its layout is almost identical to Apple’s Smart Keyboard. But unlike its Cupertino counterpart, the Combo Touch has several function keys that allow you to change the brightness of the tablet and keyboard backlight, toggle and stop playing music, volume, and so on. By the way, about the backlight – with a firmware update, the keyboard learned to automatically change the brightness of the keys depending on the lighting, as Apple accessories do.

The Logitech Combo Touch is not officially sold in Ukraine, so I had to order it from the USA, and because of this, it does not have Cyrillic. But don’t worry – it is present in the Russian version of the case. However, there are other differences besides engraving. The layout of the localized keyboard is completely identical to the Smart Keyboard and MacBook with all that it implies: the letter “справа” on the right, the period and comma on the numbers 6 and 7, the “two-level” Return key and the short Shift.

Now about the most important thing – the convenience of typing. Contrary to my expectations, typing with the Logitech Combo Touch is really comfortable. Of course, not the same as on the Magic Keyboard, but not much worse. The keys have a rather pleasant click response. They do not play. In addition, they are not flat and slightly recessed in the center – this is enough to avoid confusion of letters when printing blindly.

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However, the keyboard has a couple of shortcomings. Did Logitech engineers think placing the iPad’s lock screen button next to Delete would be a good idea? As it turned out, yes, so when using a tablet, accidental presses of this key often occur. You can get used to this, and over time, there will be fewer sudden screen locks, but still unpleasant.

The second feature is the lack of an Escape key. I did not call this a disadvantage because it is not on Apple keyboards either, emphasizing its optionalness. However, some applications still support this button, so I would like to see it in its place, which houses the rather useless Home function key. Other than that, there is no key or other way to delete characters to the right of the cursor.

Trackpad

Perhaps this is the most interesting part of the Logitech Combo Touch, since keyboards for the iPad with a trackpad, and even for not the most recent models, are very rare to find. And here the company did not disappoint – it is enjoyable to use it. It feels like the trackpad of the pre-2017 MacBook Air, which hasn’t yet featured the advanced vibration motor found in newer models.

It is quite responsive and supports all the gestures that iPadOS has: two-finger scrolling, three-finger swipes to switch apps, and two-finger right-click simulations. The only thing missing is a double-tap to move objects, but this is already a drawback of iPadOS itself and quite significant – you will have to move windows or move images in Keynote using two fingers. This is due to the simple design of the trackpad, because of which you can only click on it at the bottom of the rectangle. This problem affects almost all Windows laptops, not to mention tablet cases.

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Overall, using iPadOS with a trackpad is an oddly enjoyable experience, transforming a tablet into a laptop-like device. The only disappointment is that many third-party applications still do not support cursor control, for example, Telegram, but this is a matter of time.

Software

Another feature of the keyboard is the upgradeable firmware. The manufacturer releases enhancements and fixes for the keyboard cover that you can install in the Logitech Control companion app. For example, in this way, a bug with the trackpad was fixed, which was disconnected from time to time because it was necessary to reconnect the keyboard.

However, the functionality of Logitech Control is depressingly small. If earlier there were backlight settings inside the application, later with iPadOS updates, they migrated to the system settings. The only function of the application was the software update. I would like to have a function of remapping keys, but you can only dream about it.

Feedback

The Logitech Combo Touch came out as an exciting accessory that has no alternatives for owners of relatively budget or older iPad models. It’s a great option for those who type a lot and a good way to brush up on Apple’s tablet user experience. The keyboard case is available in two variations – for iPad Air (2019) and iPad Pro 10.5, and iPad (2019) and iPad (2020).

PROS

  • High-quality artistry and materials.
  • Comfortable keyboard and trackpad.
  • Function keys.
  • A flip-up kickstand and magnetic keyboard mount.
  • Holder for Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon.

YOU MAY NOT LIKE

  • Lack of Escape and keys for erasing characters to the right of the cursor.
  • Lock button next to Delete.
  • Poor companion application functionality.
  • Hardcover material.
  • Great thickness and weight.

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