iPad Pro Tablet With Smart Keyboard Works Well as Laptop Replacement

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-12-16 Print this article Print
iPad Pro Keyboard

This may sound like a minor issue, but when you type a lot and you type fast, it adds up to a huge benefit. I didn't do a typing benchmark (mainly because I couldn’t think of a good one), but my typing speed on the iPad Pro was at least as fast as on the ThinkPad.

The only thing that would make me reluctant to take the iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard on the road might be the fact that Apple doesn't provide a way to attach USB memory sticks or SD memory cards to the device. While there are plenty of those accessories available from third-parties, they still mean one more dongle each to lose when you need them the most.

The Apple Pencil, on the other hand, doesn't fit in well in a mobile environment. While it works well for making sketches and drawings, and it handles things such as varying touch pressure very well, taking it out of the office seems fraught with challenges.

The biggest problem is that the Apple Pencil has no means of attaching to the iPad or to your person. There's no clip for your pocket, for example, and unlike Microsoft's Surface stylus, it doesn't attach magnetically to the side of the tablet.

The Apple Pencil attaches to the iPad by connecting it to the lightening connector on the short side of the device, but rather than fitting closely alongside, it sticks out from the connector about seven inches. This looks like an invitation to damage either the Pencil, the iPad or both. Fortunately there's also a connector included with the Pencil that allows you to connect it directly to the iPad's wall charger.

But in actual use, as nice as the Pencil is for drawing, it's not well suited for working while going mobile. You can't attach it to the iPad; you can't keep it in your shirt pocket; and if you place it in your trouser pocket it can bore a hole and fall through. The only real solution is to carry a bag or briefcase.

So the answer is that the iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard is a very nice solution for working on the go. If I were working in a mobile environment and I didn't expect situations where I would need a USB stick or a memory card, then the iPad Pro would work very well as a laptop replacement. Plus, it's lighter than even the thinnest Ultrabook.

The Apple Pencil, on the other hand, seems to be well suited for creative uses as long as you're staying in one place. In addition to sketching nicely, it also works as a pointing device.

Because of the very high resolution of the iPad screen, the Pencil can work well even for doing some very fine work. But don't plan on taking it with you if you move around a lot. The Smart Keyboard costs $169 and is worth it. The Apple Pencil is $99.



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