With the plethora of iPad Pro cases compatible with the Smart Keyboard, how does one choose the best one for their specific needs? If you've looked around you know the options run the gamut from utter junk designed to fall part before you have it out of the box to beautifully crafted, brilliantly engineered pieces of design. 

We've gathered some of the best and worst cases to create a list of "must have" features. Anyone looking for an iPad Pro case compatible with Smart Keyboard will want to make sure the case they choose has most, if not all of these features. A single case that contains them all could be called "the best". 

Whether you have a 12.9 or 10.5 iPad Pro, the features to look for are the same. Let's take a look at some of the best features to look for.

Best iPad Pro Case compatible with Smart Keyboard 10.5, 12.9

Your Keyboard Should Live in the Case

If you are buying an iPad Pro keyboard case, the first thing to look for is that the keyboard can remain attached to your tablet and inside the case when the case is closed and not in use. Having to remove Apple's Smart Keyboard every time you close the case or install it every time you open it is a colossal design flaw.

It would be hard to call an iPad Pro case "smart keyboard compatible" if it functions this way. Yes you can use your tablet with the keyboard after installing and uninstalling it each time, but would you really want to?

The Smart Keyboard compatible iPad Pro case you choose should allow the keyboard to seamlessly integrate into the design of the case. The best designs will merge the keyboard and it's front cover into the front and rear covers of the exterior case in such a way that you cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. In the word's of Forest Gump, they should fit together like, "peas and carrots". 

How seamlessly the exterior case integrates with the Smart Keyboard will tell you a lot about all the other aspects of the case's design. If this is done in an intelligent and artful way, look for other outstanding design and engineering details throughout the case. If it's done poorly, keep looking. 

Your Case and Keyboard Should Sit Flat

Nothing is more annoying than trying to type on a keyboard that is not level to the user or is wobbling upon each key strike. It's a lot a like trying to have a nice dinner at a table with one leg not sitting squarely on the floor.

We've all had that experience of the wobbly table. The wobbly keyboard might be worse. Especially if you have a deadline you are trying to meet. Your case should enhance your experience and make your work and life easier, not add to your already stressful situation due to poor design. 

Look for a Smart Keyboard compatible iPad Pro case that features a front face that is as smooth as possible. The front cover should be free of protrusions, elastic bands, pencil loops or any other parts of the design that will prevent the keyboard from sitting cleanly and completely flat on a surface. 

This is the kind of detail that someone might overlook especially if purchasing online. Once you receive the case and start using it, you find that various accouterments that you thought were features are actually poorly designed details getting in the way of the very thing you bought the case to do: Help you work better, more efficiently and more comfortably. 

When shopping online or even in a brick and mortar store, make sure that when the case is set up to type, the keyboard is completely flat and wobble free. You'll be glad you did. 

rear view of leather ipad pro smart keyboard case

The Best Case Will Be Easy to Set Up

What good is spending the extra money on an iPad Pro 12.9 or 10.5 case that is smart keyboard compatible if you have to schedule time in your calendar each and every time you want to set it up? 

The best keyboard compatible iPad Pro cases will set up and be ready to use in under a second. Really. You should be able to put the case on your work surface, open it and be ready to start typing immediately.

A case designed for professional use should have been designed by professionals. A professionally designed case will have this set up process designed to be as quick and easy as possible.

When you open the case, the Smart Keyboard should "stick" to the front cover and open with it. The auto on/off feature built into the keyboard will turn your iPad Pro on as the case is opened. If you open the case and the cover does not stay attached to allow the keyboard to turn your 10.5 or 12.9 iPad Pro on, keep looking. 

Again, the relationship between the case and the keyboard should be one of seamless integration. 

The Best Case Will Be Protective

The number one job of any case for any electronic device should be protection. There is not much value in an iPad Pro case that works with the Smart Keyboard that cannot protect your 10.5 or 12.9 in the first place. 

How will I know if the case I am looking at purchasing is protective?

Great question. One major concern to any iPad owner is corner protection. How protected are the corners? Are they exposed? Too much protection becomes a compromise for daily use (how much weight and thickness are you willing to add to the case before it becomes a hassle to use).

The best keyboard compatible iPad Pro case will offer corner protection using the latest lightweight, shock absorbing materials. If corner protection is important to you, look for case that offer this as a feature. 

Secondly, there is nothing like good old fashioned padding to help absorb impacts, shocks and abrasions. With padding, a little goes a long way. Especially when layered under a material like leather which has some shock absorption as part of it's inherent natural structure.

The layering of materials, (exterior, foam and interior lining) allows the case to "give" a little bit when you touch it like the steering wheel in a luxury car. Not only does this feel wonderful every time you interact with the case, but that "give" will be absorbing all the day to day impacts your iPad Pro experiences.

For the best protection, look for a case made from quality materials, that's padded and offers some form of corner protection. 

Corner detail of leather iPad Pro smart keyboard case

An Apple Pencil Holder and Other Factors

Other things to consider are: How is the iPad Pro secured in the case; What options are available to me to expand the functionality; Does the case hold the Apple Pencil and if so how; What is the cost and maybe most importantly, what is the value of the case I am looking at. Let's look a bit at each. 

Some cases use elastic bands to hold the iPad in place. Others use a form of glue while another option is to sew a tray into the cover that will securely hold your tablet. Which of these is best for you depends on your priorities. Do the elastic bands block the screen? How well will they hold the iPad as the elastic wears out over time? How much weight and bulk does the way the iPad is held in place add? All things to consider. 

Most all the cases available make some provision to hold the Apple Pencil. Some are as simple (and careless) as an elastic loop sewn to an exterior seam. Others include an interior pocket or a separate, removable Pencil case secured with strong magnets. If storage and protection for the Apple Pencil is important to you, make sure the case you choose has an intelligent provision to providing said storage and protection.

Some cases will have options for storing other things like papers or business cards. These tend to add bulk and can affect how the tablet sits on a surface. (Remember the wobbling!) Again, be aware of these things before purchasing. 

Apple's iPads are the most expensive tablet computers made. Just because the market is flooded with cheap, poorly made, poorly engineered case options doesn't mean you have to buy one. Luckily, there are still a few companies left making quality designs. 

The value and cost of your case should be directly related to the value that you place on the information contained on your iPad combined with the out of pocket financial investment you made with your purchase. 

The Best Case is Chosen When You Understand Your Needs


So which is best? The term "best"is highly subjective. What is the best iPad Pro case for someone using their Apple tablet on a construction site all day is probably not going to be the best case for an attorney.

Each environment is very different and the demands placed upon the case will also vary. Applying some forethought about where and how you plan on using your iPad will help determine which iPad Pro case compatible with the Smart Keyboard will be best for you. The best iPad Pro keyboard case starts with you understanding your needs and what you want or need the case to do. 

While demands may vary, the features and design details covered in this piece can be applied to a broad range of user situations. In summary, look for:

• Seamless integration between the iPad Pro case and the Smart Keyboard
• A case that sits flat and will not wobble due to the design
• A case that is quick and easy to set up
• A protective design offering corner protection and padding 
• A case made from quality materials worthy of the world's most expensive tablet
• A secure place for the Apple Pencil and other options

    "Finding the right Smart Keyboard compatible iPad Pro case is easy..."



    Jody K. Deane
    by Jody K. Deane July 19, 2018

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