Your iPad is a great alternative to a fully fledged laptop, but it sometimes needs a little assistance—the on-screen keyboard just isn’t as fast or as convenient as a physical keyboard. Here’s our pick of keyboard cases to make your tablet a lot more useful.
Now, we’ve already covered separate keyboards and they’re great for certain situations. You can use the keyboard across multiple devices, as well as position it comfortably away from your iPad. Sometimes though, you want a keyboard that slots to your iPad, turning the tablet into more of a clamshell style interface. You guessed it—just like a “proper” laptop.
There’s also the added benefit of it doubling up as a form of case, although not all of these are great at protecting your iPad from anything more than a few minor bumps or scratches. Don’t forget to buy the right size for your iPad too.
Here are our favorite iPad Bluetooth keyboard cases for every budget and need.
Apple Smart Keyboard ($149)
Of course Apple happens to have a fantastic keyboard case. The Apple Smart Keyboard case is only available for iPad Pros, but it does a remarkable job of turning your powerful tablet into more of a laptop. A full sized keyboard, it connects via the Smart Connector of the iPad Pro, slotting on in a way that makes it look like the keyboard was always meant to be there.
Alongside the keyboard side of things is a lightweight stand, which ensures that your iPad Pro is perfectly positioned for you while you type. Once you’re done with it, it wraps up into a neat case, protecting the iPad Pro’s massive screen while you’re on the move. Like the best Apple products, it simply just works and does so well. The only trade off is a lack of a backlit keys.
Logitech iPad Slim Folio ($80)
Another dependable name in the accessories world, the Logitech iPad Slim Folio case does a fine job of turning your iPad into something more functional (and that looks a little reminiscent of a Microsoft Surface too). Part keyboard, part case, part stand, it covers all the bases for what you could need.
The keys are well-spaced so your fingers won’t feel cramped, and they’re suitably springy to the touch too. A whopping 4 year battery life means there’s no concerns about running out of juice at a key time either. There’s a dedicated row of iOS shortcut keys including things like Home, Siri, screen brightness, volume control, and search functions.
As a case, it protects your iPad from simple bumps, scratches and even spills, with the tilted stand helping you feel more like you’re typing on a laptop than a tablet. It’s suitably sturdy for the average iPad user.
Logitech iPad Slim Folio: Case with Wireless Keyboard with Bluetooth (Black) - iPad 5th generation (2018 release)
Favormates Keyboard Case ($56)
It might not be a household name but the Favormates Keyboard Case has one massive thing in its, well, favor—it has a backlit keyboard. If you’ve somehow never had a backlit keyboard before, that may sound gimmicky. Spend some time with one, however, and you’ll soon realise you had no idea what you did without it. In this case, the keyboard offers 7 different colors and 3 brightness settings.
Elsewhere, the keyboard case works suitably well. It offers up to 130 degree rotation through its clam shell cover, and its sturdy aluminium structure protects your iPad from knocks and scrapes.
A lithium-ion battery provides up to 120 hours of operation with charging conducted via a micro USB cable. And there’s the ever important choice of iOS shortcuts on the keyboard. For a middle range keyboard case, the Favormates case is pretty great.
Favormates Keyboard Case for iPad 2018 (6th Gen) - iPad 2017 (5th Gen) -iPad Air 1 - Thin & Light - Aluminum Alloy - Wireless/BT - Backlit 7 Color - iPad Case with Keyboard (only for 9.7 inch ipad)
IVSO New iPad Case with Keyboard ($44)
With a focus on sturdiness, the IVSO iPad Case is perfect for business trips and coffee mornings alike. It’s made from lightweight material but tough material so that it protects your iPad from many bumps and scratches.
The built-in Bluetooth keyboard has full size keys so it’s comfortable to use, along with a place to safely store your Apple Pencil or stylus. It’s possible to tweak the stand for multiple different angles depending on how you work. Perhaps more importantly, it’s possible to detach the case and keyboard from each other, leaving you to use the keyboard away from your iPad, providing some extra flexibility for your work environment.
The only mild downside is it’s not the most stylish looking cases out there, but that comes with the territory for a rugged and budget-priced case.
Ottertooth Keyboard Case ($20)
Overspent on your new iPad and want to get a cheap iPad Keyboard case? The Ottertooth Keyboard Case is the perfect option without scrimping on features. Like the others, it’s part case, stand, and keyboard.
Unlike most of the others, it’s possible to remove the keyboard so you can use it a fair distance away from your tablet. Multiple different angles are possible with the stand, and there are numerous quick access shortcut keys for easier use. The multimedia buttons are particularly useful for those times you use your iPad to watch a movie. A rechargeable lithium battery gives the keyboard up to 150 hours of continuous use on a single charge. For the price, it’s a bargain. Just look out for the keyboard taking a little adapting to get up to speed with.
Ottertooth Keyboard Case for New iPad 2018 2017, iPad Pro 9.7, Air 2, Air, Ultra-thin Aluminum Portfolio Case, Removal Bluetooth Smart Keyboard with Auto Sleep/Wake, Black
ZAGG Rugged Messenger Case ($94)
All the keyboard cases here offer some level of protection for your iPad, but few are quite as tough as a “proper” case. The ZAGG Rugged Messenger Case bucks that trend with dual layer protection reminiscent of sturdy iPhone case designs. It’s heavier than most too which isn’t as practical if you’re moving around a lot, but your iPad is better protected for it.
Alongside the rugged design there are the usual bunch of useful features such as a stand that rotates to numerous viewing angles. The keyboard works as well as a regular full sized one, plus it’s backlit. It also connects to two individual devices at the same time with an easy to use toggle switching you between them—perfect for those times you want use your keyboard with your iPhone too.