Did Logitech Just Kill the Magic Keyboard?
5 min read - We take a look at the new Logitech Folio Touch
Logitech recently announced the Folio Touch for the 11” iPad Pro, and with it comes a much more reasonable price tag, a larger viewing angle, and more. That said, I see some issues about this keyboard being an alternative to Apple's keyboard cases.
At the time of sharing this, the keyboard is only available for preorder, but it has an uncanny resemblance to the Logitech Combo Touch which was made earlier this year for the 2019 iPad 7, iPad Air 3, and 10.5” iPad Pro. The case builds are almost identical, the look of the case is the same, and the keyboard layout seems to be similar.
The Combo Touch seems a good indication of what we should expect with the Folio Touch. With that being the case I have some excitement for iPad users but I also have concerns.
If we are assuming that the Folio Touch is similar to the Combo Touch, this keyboard has a lot going for it. In fact, I would argue Logitech deserves some praise with their latest addition to their iPad keyboards.
When I was using the Combo Touch for the iPad 7 it was a dream to write on. The keys were comparable to the Magic Keyboard keys and it felt like an actual keyboard. Coming from the nylon-covered Butterfly keys on the Smart Folio Keyboard these keys felt like a gift from the Keyboard Gods. Logitech is one of the ruling families in the Game of Keyboards, and rightfully so. After over 20 years of making and refining keyboards, it is almost expected that Logitech would have the beloved reputation they have.
From looking at the photos online the keyboard layout looks like it’s going to be a much more uniformed look than the sporadic half-key madness that you get with the 11” Magic Keyboard. I am sure the keys will be a little smaller than a regular keyboard and the spacing may be a little cramped much like the Combo Touch. That said, when I was using the Combo Touch it only took me a few minutes to make the necessary adjustments to get used to the keyboard entirely. By the end of the day, I was flying with that keyboard without any problems. I will say that getting used to the Magic Keyboard has taken me longer than the Combo Touch did, which gives Logitech an advantage in this category.
One place you will notice a significant improvement compared to the Magic Keyboard is your wallet. With the cost of the Folio Touch being just over half of the Magic Keyboard, you can use the money you are saving to buy yourself a pair of AirPods or an Apple TV, which are both great additions to your household if you are considering them.
Seriously, the fact that you can get a full keyboard case for your iPad and a pair of AirPods for the same price as the Magic Keyboard is incentive enough for some to go out and buy this over Apple’s keyboard and trackpad solution. For me though, price isn’t the only factor. Some of the factors I also consider in a keyboard have me hesitant to outright recommend this keyboard for those currently shopping around.
Because of the Surface-like kickstand, Logitech offers with this case you can have your iPad go from a near-90-degree angle all the way down to the iconic easel-mode the old Smart covers offered iPad users. Along with the viewing angles comes the ability to flip your keyboard back under the iPad to tuck it away as you watch a video or share a presentation, which makes for a much cleaner look.
As a full-time Magic Keyboard user, I desperately miss the easel-mode iPad users were able to have with the origami-styled Smart Keyboard Folio and Smart-covers. When I find myself wanting to use my iPad in that mode I take it out of my Magic Keyboard case and either prop it up on my tomtoc Portfolio Case or my AirPods case to give it some sort of slant to write on.
I have to admit, seeing Logitech offer a solution to this problem Apple created with their latest keyboards does make my heart grow green with envy. However, this kickstand doesn’t hold up to the heavy issues I have with it.
Aside from the fact this keyboard case from Logitech doesn't offer a secondary plug to charge your iPad like the Magic Keyboard, there are some much more pressing issues I have with this keyboard.
By far the biggest issue I have with the Folio Touch over the Magic Keyboard or the Smart Folio is that the footprint it has is simply egregious. When you compare the Magic Keyboard or the Smart Folio it pales in comparison to the footprint the Folio Touch’s footprint.
To explain, the total footprint size of the Magic Keyboard, whether you are using the iPad or setting it down it is the size of an iPad. The Logitech Smart Folio is also comparable to the footprint a Magic Keyboard offers. The Folio Touch, on the other hand, has to accommodate for the iPad and kickstand, which is more than half the size of an iPad plus the keyboard cover of the Folio Touch. In a rough estimate, the Magic Keyboard has the footprint of a single iPad while the Folio Touch has a footprint of 1.5-1.75 iPads.
As someone that intends to use my iPad in cafes and other public areas once that is allowed again, real estate at a coffee shop isn’t exactly plentiful. To be honest, one of the big reasons I stopped using the Combo Touch was because I felt it was a “desk only” keyboard, where the Magic Keyboard and the Smart Folio Keyboard could be an everyday case for my iPad.
The second issue I have with the Folio Touch is that the keyboard isn’t detachable from this case. This means if you want to use it in reader-mode you not only have to deal with the thick covering on the iPad but also the bulky keyboard flipped behind the iPad. I can only imagine the weight the keyboard is but I don’t think it is outlandish to compare it to the weight of a MacBook Air, and I know I wouldn’t be comfortable holding that for long reading sessions.
A Lesser Trackpad
Finally, when I was using the Combo Touch the “diving board” style keyboard left a lot to be desired. If you don’t know what that means, it basically boils down to the fact that you cannot click on the top border of the trackpad because it doesn’t have any give to connect to the membrane/switch to activate a click. It is much more infuriating to use that kind of trackpad after using the Magic Keyboard trackpad which does not have that problem. So long as I am clicking on the trackpad the Magic Keyboard depresses and activates a click.
Buy or Don’t Buy?
If you are asking me, I think that the Logitech Folio Touch is an interesting addition to the keyboard cases for the 11” iPad Pro. That being said, if you just want a keyboard that works with your iPad, the Smart Folio Keyboard is a great option. If you want a keyboard and trackpad option, I still think that the Logitech is a behemoth of a case and offers a lackluster trackpad compared to the Magic Keyboard.
I know that the cost is considered highway robbery to many, but as someone that has handled both the Magic Keyboard and a case very similar to the Folio Touch the differences are night and day and the added cost of the Magic Keyboard is worth it for me.