Compared: Apple’s Magic Keyboard versus Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad

Apple offers several flavors of first-party iPad keyboards. In this video, we’re taking a closer look at the differences and similarities between the latest and greatest Magic Keyboard for iPad and the company’s more affordable Smart Keyboard Folio attachment.

Video comparison: Magic vs. Smart keyboard

Want to choose the right Apple keyboard for your iPad, but can’t decide between the Magic Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio? If so, then watch this video comparison, put together by our videographer Harris Craycraft, that will help you make an informed purchasing decision.

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Magic Keyboard features

The Magic Keyboard rocks mechanical keys based on the reliable scissor-switch mechanism with 1mm travel like the latest Mac notebooks. Handy backlight ensures easy typing in the dark. The product’s floating cantilever design and the sturdy hinge allow you to attach your iPad Pro magnetically and to smoothly adjust it to the perfect viewing angle for you.

It has a USB‑C port for passthrough charging and, of course, a built-in Multi-Touch trackpad that pairs with robust pointer support in iPadOS to bring new levels of interactivity to your tablet computing. Check out our video review of the Magic Keyboard embedded below.

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Smart Keyboard Folio features

Similar to the Magic Keyboard, the Smart Keyboard Folio offers front and back protection for your shiny Apple tablet bur that’s where the similarities stop. Unlike its Magic-branded counterpart, the Smart Keyboard Folio opens all the way to 180 degrees, which means you can actually hold the tablet in your hand and use it while your keyboard attachment is on.

Contrast this with the Magic Keyboard, with which the user gets a second hinge that allows the front cover to open in an arc between 80 and 130 degrees. That’s also the biggest weakness of the Smart Keyboard Folio because you can only choose between two viewing angles rather than set it to any position between 80 and 130 degrees that feels natural to you.

Here’s Harris’ video review of the Smart Keyboard Folio.

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And last but not least, the Smart Keyboard Folio uses fabric so it feels cheaper, the keys are not mechanical so the typing experience isn’t that great and there’s no backlight, making this keyboard pretty much useless in low-light scenarios.

Choosing the right iPad keyboard for you

Apple offers the following first-party iPad keyboards:

  • Smart Keyboard: Compatible with the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, third-generation iPad Air and seventh-generation iPad. All versions are priced at $159.
  • Smart Keyboard Folio: Compatible with the 11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro )3rd and 4th generation). The 11-inch version is $299 and the 12.9-inch model is $349.
  • Magic Keyboard: Compatible with the 11-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation) and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generation). The 11-inch version is $179 and the 12.9-inch model is $199.

These keyboards are available in multiple international layouts.

What’s your favorite iPad keyboard?

You can of course opt for a non-Apple iPad keyboard. Not too long ago, there were just a handful of iPad keyboards available. But thanks to the iPadOS 13.4 software update that brought robust pointer and trackpad support, iPad customers can now choose from a variety of iPad keyboard attachments from other manufacturer, with or without a built-in trackpad.

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We covered options liek Logitech’s Combo Touch keyboard case, the Bridge Pro+ keyboard (see the video above), Zagg’s iPad keyboard solutions, Dogo’s keyboard case and more.

And just in case you’ve forgotten about it, Apple makes it easy to use any standard Bluetooth (or wired) keyboards, trackpads and mice with your iOS device — you just pair your accessory via the Bluetooth section of the Settings app and you’ll be good to go.

So in your personal opinion, what Apple accessory is better for your iPad in terms of usability, typing, productivity and value for money, the Smart Keyboard Folio or the Magic Keyboard?

Let us know your thoughts in the commenting section down below.