New Apple Magic Keyboard Review (2020)


On March 18, 2020, Apple announced the new Apple Magic Keyboard, alongside the 2020 iPad Pro. The keyboard, even though similar to the older Smart Keyboard Folio, comes with additional features, such as a built-in trackpad and a cursor for navigation. Is it worth buying though? Let's find out!

Design

The top of the new Apple Magic keyboard comes with exceptionally powerful magnets able to grip the iPad in place. Though it attaches only a third of the back to the tablet, the magnets do an amazing job. There is no way you can accidentally drop your iPad from the Magic keyboard. When you want to separate the two, it literally requires you to snatch the iPad out.

The primary hinge is a long metal cube with a USB C pass-through charging port at the side. While the primary hinge snaps fix in place at its locking point, the secondary hinge provides a variety of viewing angles ranging from zero to 130 degrees for you to get comfortable with when you're working.

Overall, the design looks remarkably good. It's immaculate and is compact. Apple usually focuses on looks as well as design and workability, and they have not failed their users with this new magic keyboard.

The secondary hinge on the back helps you pivot the screen as you typically would with your laptop. It's surprising how comfortable it is to work on it. Whether you’re on your table, on your lap, or your desk, this thing does not fall over.

Build Quality and Material

The keyboard is perhaps the nicest aspect of this new Apple Magic Keyboard. It has scissor switches, with decent travel. And like the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air, the keyboard is clicky, and since the board is rather stiff, there’s barely any flex at all. That floating design helps you type on without ever touching the iPad, so you don’t get fingerprint marks on your machine, and that’s just a pleasurable thing to have.

The case doesn’t have the biggest trackpad, but it's surely worth the price. The glass trackpad, coupled with the new iOS cursor, offers the same gestures as in the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. It also has physical clicks, completing the laptop-computer sense for the iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard appears much like the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. You can see a faint Apple logo like that introduced on the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro. It’s made of that same polyurethane material that feels very good in the hand but over time the edges of this material fray. It also catches fingerprints and dust fairly easily.

Pros

The iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard becomes very lap friendly, much like a traditional laptop. Almost all positions are fine to work in. It's flexible, getting fairly close to a bottom weighted laptop, where the hinges just move the screen.

It is also very good looking, continuing the Apple tradition of rolling out exotic looking devices. The material though frail gives the iPad Pro a very solid and elegant look. Worth the price.

The keyboard is also backlit, which means pulling those all-nighters working on those assignments have become so much easier. The brightness of the keyboard can be conveniently adjusted from the settings menu to a level of your suiting.

The charging port provided on the hinge provides extra utility, so you can keep your device charged while using the USB C port on the iPad to connect whatever accessories you might have. The case connects to the iPad through pins and has amazing efficiency, pulling the monster of a battery of the iPad Pro by 40% in just under an hour.

The trackpad works precisely how you would expect it to work. All the gestures, from the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air, integrate seamlessly for navigation throughout iPad OS. Apple also provides a guide for all the gestures the keyboard support on their website.

Cons

The Apple Magic Keyboard is heavy. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 640 grams, and the case weighs 702 grams—that’s 42 grams heavier than the machine. Combined, they weigh 1,342 grams and become thicker and heavier compared to using the iPad as a stand-alone device.

Putting the iPad and the case together, the iPad is the computer and so most of the weight is up top and it can seem a bit top-heavy. This is part of why they made the case weigh as much to counter the weight of the iPad, but still, it’s not perfect.

The case will disappoint pencil users. The keyboard can’t be tucked behind the iPad that would allow you to lay it flat or draw. For the design, Apple didn’t take into account the Pencil users. However, the case can just as easily be removed from the iPad, and the pencil can come into play.

There are no function buttons on the keyboard either, meaning there is no brightness, volume, or back-light brightness shortcuts. And the escape key is also missing, which unless you’re a power user, won’t be that big of an issue.

Compatibility, Colors, Price

The Magic Keyboard is compatible with iPad Pro 12.9 inch, 3rd and 4th generation, and iPad Pro 11 inch, 1st, and 2nd generation.

The Smart keyboard comes in just one color - black. However, we hope to see more colors being introduced by Apple, keeping up with the offerings of competitors such as the Surface Pro. According to some internet leaks, there might be an aluminum version of the keyboard coming in too. However, Apple has yet to say anything about it.

The keyboard is priced at US$299 on Apple’s website. Apple is offering free shipping with the purchase, so if you’re in the market, this is perhaps the best time to get one.

Mike Roberts

Hi, my name is Mike and I made this site to document all the helpful tips and tricks that I've discovered using various Apple Macs and other Apple products over the years, as well as to provide more general guides in relation to using the internet. I've been obsessed with Apple products ever since I could afford my first iPod, and am somewhat of a fanboy (you might have guessed). For me, the simply work without any fuss, issues or errors. I can rely on their products. The build quality is excellent and I even have several, several-year-old Macbooks in my wardrobe that are still humming along fine (just a bit slower). You can contact me personally using the form on this page.

5 Comments

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  1. I’ve heard many mixed reviews on the Magic keyboard but I’m still very much drawn to it. The weight isn’t much of an issue for me since I wouldn’t be carrying it around often anyway. I can also do without the function keys, never did use those much when I was running a Windows desktop. It’s a big investment so I think I need to try before I buy.

  2. I’m so torn on the Magic Keyboard. I really want it but I’m not sure if it’s good to type on. I use a really good mechanical keyboard every day and I’m concerned that the Magic Keyboard will feel mushy in comparison. I do a lot of typing so this is important to me.

  3. I bought the Apple Magic almost as soon as it came out. A keyboard is necessary for me as I can get so much more work done and the touchscreen keyboards just don’t cut it. The keyboard buttons are awesome and have a nice feedback. iPad Pro is designed to work with keyboards as well whereas my previous experience using a keyboard with a tablet was not very good.

  4. I love this keyboard! The USB-C port can be used to charge the iPad which is awesome because you’d have a cable dangling out the top side of the iPad otherwise. I agree that the keyboard is heavy but I’m not sure it’s a con, or at least a big one. It has to be weighted otherwise it would just tip over. Overall, it’s a great keyboard and I recommend it!

  5. At the moment I am using a much cheaper bluetooth keyboard. It’s compact and gets the job done but it would be nice to have a more uniform solution. I keep changing my mind on the Magic Keyboard with ever review I read. It’s not cheap and I don’t throw money at something I know I won’t like. The Apple Pencil being an afterthought is really disappointing.