Ever since the iPad Pro was released, I have been looking for a keyboard that would turn it into a writing device. To no avail. And adding to the misery was the fact that the 12.9" iPad Pro had all the cons of a laptop and not many pros of a tablet.
I gave up on the 12.9” iPad Pro and upgraded to the 9.7" iPad Pro under T-Mobile’s Jump on Demand program. The smaller tablet is portable (as a tablet should be), but can also be used as a laptop replacement in a few cases, writing being one of them. But my hunt for a good keyboard continued.
So when Belkin came out with its QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case, I was quick to give it a try.
What’s great about it
Belkin QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case is well-built, professional-looking and extremely durable. Its design makes it extremely stable without adding any extra weight to the keyboard, so it won’t flip over and fall when you use it on your lap. Since it’s not using the ‘smart’ connector, it offers two viewing angles, perfect for working on a table and on lap.
The keys have great travel, as good as my MacBook Pro keyboard. And it’s a ‘full’ keyboard, with the exception of some reshuffling of less frequently used keys (like colon or tilde), so my typing isn't slowed down.
There are shortcut keys that you can use with a dedicated Fn (function) key. These include keys for going to home and switching between apps, which is great for productivity — while working on a story I frequently switch between the word processor and web browser. A key for taking a screenshot. Media keys for pause, play, rewind and fast forward. Volume control keys. And keys for copying, cutting, pasting and selecting text.
Using it in tablet mode
Unlike the Belkin keyboard that I used with my iPad AIR, this one doesn’t attach the keyboard to the iPad Pro case with a magnet so I can’t detach the iPad and use it as a tablet or in portrait mode. That said, it can be folded into a tablet mode that doesn’t add a much bulk, though I would have preferred a more elegant solution.
Although it has dedicated keys for volume control, when held in tablet mode you need access to the physical keys on the iPad and the Belkin case allows full access to those keys and the charging port.
A few flaws
Even Belkin is not perfect, but these are imperfections I can live with
- The keyboard isn't backlit.
- Reshuffling of keys takes some getting used to
- No holder for the Apple Pencil
- Not using the ‘smart’ connector, pairs with Bluetooth
- No dedicated keys for screen brightness
I do wish that like the iPad AIR keyboard, it was possible to detach the iPad Pro from the keyboard and also use it in portrait mode.
Beyond these few points, I love this keyboard. I have written this entire post with it and it worked great.
At $99, Belkin has the least expensive and best keyboard for the 9.7" iPad Pro. If you are an iPad Pro owner looking for a great keyboard, then Belkin is the one for you.
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