There are some among us who truly want a tablet to replace their laptop—by actually turning it into one, thanks to a keyboard attached to it, clamshell style. Zagg has been making tablet keyboards and cases since the beginning, and with its latest release the transformation is near completion. This iteration on the Zagg Slim Book—the Slim Book Pro—sees a number of incremental changes, the most notable of which is that the keyboard is now detachable, magnetically connecting to the case unit when you want it. As with most tablet keyboard cases, you jimmy your iPad into the backing shell component of the Slim Book Pro. The keyboard then attaches to an elongated bit that juts out of the bottom.
In keyboard mode, the Slim Book Pro is at its best. The keys are tiny, but this is an unfortunate reality when you have only the real estate of a 9.7-inch iPad to work with. The key action is nothing special, but as a typing experience it gets the job done. A row of shortcut keys across the top help with productivity, as otherwise you have to reach up to the screen to launch apps and select items. The keyboard can be paired to three different devices (a simple button press lets you pick your poison), and there’s even a little loop on the back where you can store either your Apple Pencil or a goth eyeliner.
A detachable keyboard adds flexibility, but it introduces a big drawback to the case design, the problem being that without a built-in, sturdy hinge, the screen can’t hold itself upright. Zagg’s solution for this isn’t the most elegant design decision ever: A huge metal flap on the back of the outer shell folds down flat against the table to hold the tablet screen erect. While this lets you meticulously adjust the angle of the screen, in practice it introduces more problems than it solves. The flap is very stiff and difficult to retrieve, forcing you to hook a fingernail between it and the case itself in order to pry it out. While a pair of rubber feet are installed to cushion the blow, I wouldn’t trust the sharpish edges of the flap against any decent piece of furniture in the house, for fear of utterly disrespecting the wood. The overall look is wholly utilitarian, and the metal flap is downright homely. For $150, I expect a bit more elegance in design and a more thoughtful choice of materials.
As well, when using my iPad disconnected from the keyboard, I just wasn’t in love with tactile feel of the case material. The rubbery surface is slick—nay, dolphin-like—and doesn’t instill confidence in a one-handed grasp. With keyboard attached, the whole shebang is also incredibly heavy, turning a sub-one-pound iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro into a monstrous 2.3 pounds all together. That’s only half a pound lighter than my laptop, although, admittedly, the latter doesn’t include a pencil holder.
4/10 – Downsides outweigh the upsides.
Read more: http://www.wired.com/