I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the Magic Keyboard now that iPadOS now offers dedicated trackpad/mouse support. However, if the thought of paying US$299 for a keyboard/case combo for an Apple tablet gives you shudders, you may want to check out the $149.99 Rugged Book Go for the third and fourth generation iPad Pros. Of course, you won’t get a built-in trackpad, so keep that in mind.
ZAGG’s Rugged Book Go has two parts: a detachable keyboard and TPU-wrapped case. Together they protect the tablet and make it easy to type away. Features like the laptop-style keys, a built-in holder for an Apple Pencil, and reversible kickstand add to its appeal.
The detachable case has the proper cutouts on the top, bottom and sides, so the iPad Pro’s controls are easy to access. The rubberized material around the edges offers “grippability” to help keep the pricey tablet from slipping out of your hand
Unlike Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, the Rugged Book Go’s keyboard is backlit and can change the color of the light and the brightness.
To insert an iPad Pro into the case, hold the tablet in landscape mode with the volume controls facing up. Press the top half of the iPad Pro into the case. Apple even, but gentle, pressure until it snaps into place. Press the bottom half of the tablet into the case and make sure that all corners of the iPad Pro are snugly nestled into the corner of the Rugged Book Pro.
Once the iPad is inserted into the case, set the case into the cradle hinge on the keyboard. You should feel the magnets connect when the case clicks into place.
The detachable keyboard connects with the iPad Pro via Bluetooth (seems like few companies are taking advantage of Apple’s Smart Connector port, which seems a shame). Unlike Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio, the ZAGG product’s laptop style keys (which are full-sized!) are available in seven backlit colors and provide shortcut keys for iOS controls, such as launching Spotlight and adjusting volume levels.
The reverse kickstand, which moves with a certain amount of stiffness, allows you to adjust the screen angle for typing, drawing, or watching videos. For all its flexibility, the 2.8-pound Rugged Book Go adds some heft (2.8 pound) to the iPad Pro. That said, as mentioned, the Rugged Book Go comes in two parts: the case and the keyboard. If you don’t need the physical keyboard, you can easily detach it.
The company says that battery life for the Slim Book Go keyboard is one year based on one hour of per day with backlighting enabled. I’ll take their word for it, as I’ve only been using the keyboard for less than a week.
The keyboard has a nice tactile feel and feedback — not too hard nor too soft. The keys are rounded. I thought that would take a bit of adjusting to, but it didn’t.
If want to use the iPad Pro as a laptop alternative, the Slim Book Go streamlines the process with its solid keyboard, Apple Pencil support, and protective case.
Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★