The Magic Keyboard Folio, on the other hand, was more routine. It was actually in two parts – one with a kickstand that attached to the back of the iPad and also covered it, and the other a keyboard that connected to the iPad using a three-pin connection. It was solid enough but seemed mainly made of plastic and did not have the premium feels of not just the Magic Keyboard for the iPad but even the elegant Smart Keyboard Folio. What’s more, it was available only in white, which made keeping it clean a complete and utter nightmare.
Yes, the keyboard had very good-sized keys and a trackpad, too, but the whole idea of putting two separate pieces together to create a single device seemed very un-Apple-like, and even the kickstand seemed too stiff to use easily. It could only work with the iPad (10th generation), thanks to the connectors, so you could not use it with multiple devices, unlike the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, which worked with most new iPad Pros and the iPad Air. Paying close to the price of an iPad for something like this seemed a bad idea – even the keys were not backlit.
Over time: Still expensive, but darned good and way better than the competition!
Well, we have been using the Magic Keyboard Folio for almost half a year now. And we can put our hands up and say it – we were wrong. The Magic Keyboard Folio is perhaps the best keyboard we have used with a tablet, even though it works with just one tablet. We are even going to go out on a limb and say that it is better than the OG Magic Keyboard.
A quick clarification at the very outset – we are not saying that the Magic Keyboard Folio is not expensive. It is. We are also not saying that it is a super elegant design. No, that two-piece arrangement still feels odd. And yes, we still wish it worked with other iPads, had backlit keys, and came in any shade but white (we actually carry a cloth around to keep cleaning not just it but the surfaces on which we place it).
But even with all that, the Magic Keyboard Folio still works outstandingly. We have used our share of tablet keyboard covers from other brands, most notably Logitech, Xiaomi, and OnePlus, but none of them come even close.
It might not look snazzy, but it works brilliantly
The reason for our liking the Magic Keyboard Folio is simple – it works outstandingly. The keys are large and have the right amount of clickiness and travel, more than the ones on the fabric Smart Keyboard Folio and comparable to the ones on the Super Magic Keyboard. It is a six-row keyboard, too (many tablet keyboards are five-row affairs – OnePlus and Xiaomi, for instance), with a whole row of dedicated shortcuts on the top. Typing on the keyboard is a terrific experience, and after using a number of other keyboards, we learned to appreciate those large keys and the row of shortcuts.
The trackpad actually seems to work better than the one on the Magic Keyboard, with just the right amount of clicking at the sides. We were initially not too impressed by it but now use the trackpad extensively because it lets us do so much without having to touch the tablet. Also, its location is perfect – we have never triggered it accidentally (something that happens with alarming frequency on other tablet keyboards with trackpads). The best thing about the keyboard is that moving to it from a 13/14 inch notebook’s keyboard is almost seamless – you do not end up missing keys or having to adjust your typing.
Even the kickstand and two-piece design rock
Then there is that kickstand. We had been annoyed by how rigid it was to move, but over time, we have learned to appreciate this. It being rigid makes the Magic Keyboard Folio perhaps the only iPad keyboard cover that we can use to type while placing the iPad on our laps – the others are simply too unsteady. Also, once you get an idea of how to move that kickstand and the level of force needed, you suddenly realize that you can actually type on the iPad from almost any angle from 180 to 90 degrees – a rarity again. And that rigid kickstand actually helps, as the iPad does not wobble when you type.
That two-piece design is actually useful as you can simply keep the back cover on and use the kickstand to view content on the iPad and keep the keyboard away for a much better viewing experience. There is no battery drain, unlike the Magic Keyboard. What’s more, the Magic Keyboard Folio is incredibly light as well, whereas the Magic Keyboard is actually heavier than most iPads. So you can actually attach it and carry your iPad comfortably around without a massive addition to its weight.
The best keyboard for a tablet? Yes! Better than the OG Magic Keyboard? Yes again!
All in all, the Magic Keyboard Folio brings the iPad closer to a notebook than any other keyboard does to any tablet, with perhaps the exception of the original Surface. At Rs 24,900, it is still very expensive, but after months of using it, we have to admit that what seemed crazily exorbitant at the time of its launch now seems less so. You are paying a premium for it, but you are getting a very premium experience for your money, in terms of performance if not in appearance (the Magic Keyboard Folio is not ugly, but it definitely does not give off the sort of premium feels you expect from an Apple product).
It is not perfect, but the Magic Keyboard Folio is a great example of Steve Jobs’s famous quote: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” If budget is not a constraint and you want to notebook-ify your iPad, get it. And see, even the Pros and Airs get jealous at the ease with which you work. We know.
That price is crazy. Keeping it clean is insane.
Fortunately, so is its performance.