ZAGGkeys PROplus thumb

Review: ZAGGkeys PROplus Keyboard for iPad

Rating: 5/5

Posted in iPad, Reviews on 09/10/2012 by J. Glenn Künzler

15s

A few months ago, I reviewed the ZAGGfolio keyboard case for iPad, which changed the way I think about iPad keyboards – I learned that typing on an iPad can be a fantastic experience with the right equipment. ZAGG has just released a new killer keyboard that aims to change the game all over again: The ZAGGkeys PROplus for iPad ($129.99, link).

Overview

With the ZAGGkeys PROplus, ZAGG has combined the best elements from their previous keyboards, and has produced what might be the most impressive mobile keyboard of all time – a thin, beautiful, and extremely durable creation precisely crafted out of aircraft-grade aluminum.

Design

Every now and then, I come across a product that manages to lure me in at first glance – before I even get a chance to dig in and use it. Such is the case with the PROplus. Every aspect of both the keyboard itself, and even the packaging, give the impression of a premium, professional product.

After sliding the keyboard from its incredibly thin, minimal packaging, my initial impression only grew stronger as I felt the cold anodized aluminum surface against my fingers. The surface of the keyboard is perfectly smooth, and weighing the keyboard in my hands revealed a satisfying heft that speaks to the overall quality of the device.

A close visual once-over revealed a level of design precision that is so rare in most products I see on shelves today. The ZAGGkeys PROplus is practically seamless – you have to examine the device pretty closely to tell that there are actually any seams at all.

The keys are made of the same sort of hardened plastic used on an Apple Wireless Keyboard, and the combination of the black keys against the polished aluminum gives the PROplus a look very similar to a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air. ZAGG has clearly taken a leaf out of Apple’s design book, which makes their keyboard and the iPad seem like two halves of a whole.

It gives off the impression of being a single precision-milled piece of aluminum, much like the iPad, or a MacBook Pro. It’s apparent from every angle that ZAGG put an extreme amount of attention into every single detail. It’s as much a work of art as it is a work of engineering.

The Keyboard

As crucial as look and feel are to a premium product, they can only carry half of the weight. An attractive and precise design are useless if they aren’t met with an equally high standard of performance. So how does the PROplus’ function hold up against its form? Very, very well.

The keyboard itself is slightly smaller than an Apple Wireless Keyboard, which would lead you to believe that it might be cramped. Surprisingly, it doesn’t actually feel cramped at all. In fact, I typed this entire review on the ZAGGkeys PROplus, and the somewhat reduced size was hardly noticeable. I might as well have been typing on my Mac.

The keys have a firm, somewhat clicky feel. They aren’t the least bit mushy or weak – in fact, the action on the ZAGG keyboard feels even better than my Apple Wireless Keyboard. ZAGG’s attention to detail obviously extends far beyond the physical appearance of the device. They’ve packed a serious high-performance mobile keyboard inside the frame as well.

Like all of ZAGG’s keyboards, the PROplus includes several function keys that make it easier to use with your iPad, including a home key (which mimics the iPad home button), cut, copy, and paste function keys, and media playback keys. But beyond that, the ZAGGkeys PROplus includes one additional key that I’ve never seen before on a portable keyboard: A backlight key!

For the first time ever in a ZAGG keyboard (in fact, maybe the first time in any keyboard this portable), they’ve managed to pack in a three-stage backlight. Three different levels of brightness, which you can toggle between by pressing the backlight key. This makes the keyboard much more useful while traveling, as it can adapt more easily to dimly lit environments than a typical portable keyboard.

Finally, the ZAGGkeys PROplus experience is completed by the inclusion of a secure divot that holds the iPad at an ideal typing angle in either portrait or landscape. All in all, I was extremely pleased with both the comfort and performance of the keyboard. Absolutely top notch. It even includes a caps lock indicator light – the only real complaint I had against the keyboard in the ZAGGfolio!

Performance and Usability

The ZAGGkeys PROplus provides an excellent out-of-box experience. It comes fully charged, and includes one-touch pairing – just tap the pairing button, select the keyboard in your iPad’s Bluetooth preferences, and you’re done. It takes less than a minute.

Just as impressive as its ease of use is the battery life. ZAGG claims that the ZAGGkeys PROplus will last “months” on a single charge, even with the backlight. I’ve been using mine extensively for about two weeks, with the backlight on its brightest setting, and it’s still going strong. I haven’t charged it a single time since removing it from the box.

Between comfort, performance, and ease of use, the ZAGGkeys PROplus might be one of the most truly “usable” mobile keyboards ever created.

The Experience

ZAGG has packed a fantastic keyboard into a beautiful precision-crafted aluminum case. If I were to stop at this point, and go no further in describing the ZAGGkeys PROplus experience, most of you would probably be satisfied. If I were buying such a product, I would be satisfied – but as any television infomercial pitchman might say: “But wait, there’s more!”

Besides the excellent keyboard and remarkable build quality and design, ZAGG has also incorporated magnets into the keyboard. Because the keyboard is designed to fit very precisely around the front of the iPad the magnets secure hold the keyboard to the face of the iPad, allowing the ZAGGkeys PROplus to double as a protective case for the front of your device.

The magnets are strong enough that the keyboard and the iPad will not easily separate unless you pull them apart yourself. And, as with other magnetic covers, such as Apple’s Smart Cover, the magnetic closure also puts your iPad to sleep, so you won’t drain your battery.

Once united, the magnetically-fused iPad and keyboard look absolutely natural against one another – they complete each other, forming a singular mass of beautiful, precision-crafted aluminum. Two halves of a whole.

All of these elements combined add up to what may be the best overall iPad accessory I’ve ever had the opportunity to use – and one of the best review experiences I have ever had.

Verdict
Rating: 5/5

ZAGG has developed a strong reputation for making great iPad keyboards, and with the ZAGGkeys PROplus, they’ve outdone themselves once again. It’s extremely rare that I ever give a product a full 5 out of 5 stars – it’s also extremely rare that I ever encounter a product so complete in every detail as the ZAGGkeys PROplus.

For its unparalleled design, usefulness, protection, and overall exceptional product experience, I highly recommend the ZAGGkeys PROplus to anyone and everyone looking for a great keyboard for the iPad 2 or later, and recognize it with a MacTrast Editor’s Choice Award.

The ZAGGkeys PROplus is available now for $129.99, with free U.S. shipping. A separate version without a backlight, the ZAGGkeys PRO, is available for $99.99. For more information, and to sign up to be informed as soon as the ZAGGkeys PRO and PROplus are available for purchase, head on over to ZAGG.com.

Pros

  • Solid, well-built and durable – very precise, detail-oriented design.
  • Matches the aesthetics of the iPad.
  • Excellent keyboard – feels great under the fingers.
  • Includes a three-level backlight!
  • Excellent battery life (even with the backlight on).
  • Secure magnetic closure to protect iPad’s display.

Cons

  • Keyboard can feel a bit cramped to users with large hands.
  • Doesn’t include protection for the back of the iPad.



  • David

    Great, thorough review. Is the divot really secure? I have and love my Zagg Folio. When I use it on my lap sometimes the ipad comes out of the divot. It is not a problem because the ipad is attached to the case. With the Pro Plus if the ipad comes out of the divot, the ipad will fall. Did you try using the Pro Plus on your lap? Do you agree with what I have said here? Thank you.

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      The divot is fairly secure – but if you slant significantly to one side or the other while sitting, I would exercise caution. It’s unlikely that the iPad will fall forward or back, but side to side would be worth taking some extra caution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.bench.5 Tom Bench

    I have the original version of this exact keyboard ( no backlighting and a deeper edge). The thing that has always annoyed me is the fact that the battery indicator light was behind the iPad. Has Zagg solved that with this update?

    PS. I have been using these keyboards with ipad at my Chiropractic Office for almost a year… we have not yet dropped a single iPad. I would buy this keyboard in a heartbeat…

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean in regards to the charging light.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zurita.rodrigo Rodrigo Zurita

    I had one of the first cases from Zagg. Great design, very usefull and a superb protective case for my ipad. One major flaw i found was that it did not clip to the back of my IPAD. The ipad is a beautiful piece of hardware that I use daily. I am currently only using my smart cover due to the fact that i can fold it behind the Ipad when not in use. This might be a small issue to most, but after using it for over a year I ended up just leaving it at home. Most people use the Ipad for browsing the net or using apps. The keyboard just ended up on the coffee table or somewhere else where it would stay. If they find a way to mount it to the back as well as the front i will give it five out of five. I would only rate it a four. Not horrible. Also not perfect.

  • tiowhatever

    I really like the protection the Zaggfolio offers. Can we have the best of both worlds? Will this keyboard fit in the Zaggfolio?

    • tiowhatever

      Google is my friend. Yes! Just found what I wanted… It’s called the ZAGGkeys Profolio Plus.

  • brcs

    Where can one see the Zaggfolio in a retail store. Canada

    • Arthur

      Big boxes…

      Bestbuy, Future Shop and Wall Mart

  • brcs

    I mean Zaggfolio proplus

  • lin

    I just got my zagg keyboard and I love it ! The only thing i cant figure out is when your texting is there a button to send?

  • Dan

    I have the zagg pro plus and I really enjoy using it. However, I have an issue with it draining my iPad battery excessively, even when it is closed. Is this happening to anyone else? Any ideas how to resolve this issue?

  • Tazwell

    How do I access the function keys ? You know the F1 through F12? I also use the insert key but I can’t find that one as well . It’s something that I have to use so often that I would need a keyboard that has that feature . I’m hoping I can push a a control or tab or something to get me there .. Please help ?

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      You can’t – this is an iPad keyboard, and the iPad doesn’t support those function keys.

      • Tazwell

        I thought I posted my reply but it didn’t go through . Anyway I thought that my iPad had the function and insert keys . I just realized that I access my stores PC so much to search and manage my inventory that I have been using my stores keyboard through my iPad with a app .. Thanks for your help though. I just got to figure out now what I might be able to use like the insert button on my new iPad keyboard to make everything go faster and smoother . Thanks again

J. Glenn Künzler

Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.