iPads are great media devices, but for some users, they can be more than just something that serves as a way to consume content. Add a case that brings with it a keyboard & trackpad, and the tablet transforms into a competent 2-in-1 that can accomplish any tasks the average laptop user might throw at it. But finding the right accessory that offers a combination that works for you can be difficult. Thus, to help you pick the perfect keyboard case for your fifth-generation iPad Air, check out our guide covering the best options available on the market.
iPad Air (5th Generation)
iPad Air 5th Gen brings the highly rated M1 processor, 5G connectivity (for cellular models), Center Stage capability, and all-new colors. It starts at $599 for the 64GB WiFi-only model, with an upgrade to 256GB of internal storage available.
The Magic Keyboard is an accessory that provides access to a seamless experience for those who want to level up the productivity their iPad affords. In some cases, this attachment can even go far enough to help some users replace their laptops for some scenarios.
Now, the case aspect of this accessory brings in lesser protection than the other options listed in this guide, but if you’re looking for an extra USB C port to keep your iPad’s workflow uncluttered due to a hub, the Magic Keyboard is your only option. Nevertheless, the back and front of the device will be covered when the iPad is not in use.
Focussing on the actual keyboard, the switches here apply a mechanism similar to the one found in the Magic Keyboard on MacBook and are even backlit. And below those keys, you will find Apple’s click-anywhere trackpad that features support for gesture-based navigation on iPad.
Apple Magic Keyboard
The Apple Magic Keyboard is the go-to accessory for users who wish to use their iPad for more than media consumption and note-taking. It brings a host of capabilities with the integration iPadOS provides for keyboards and tracking devices.
The ESR Rebound is an Apple Magic Keyboard-lookalike that replicates its cantilever design, backlit keys, and trackpad functionality. It retails for a price that hovers around $115 and is an alternative worth considering if you wish to have a similarly designed accessory that didn’t break the bank. But keep in mind, it does lack the USB C port and uses a Bluetooth connection to pair with the iPad.
Logitech Combo Touch
The Logitech Combo Touch brings a combination of protection and functionality to the iPad Air with its design that grabs aspects from Microsoft’s popular Surface lineup, and other cases whose main aim is to secure an iPad from damage.
The Combo Touch uses a two-part design, where part one, the casing, adds a bumper around the edges to protect the tablet from falls, and part two is the detachable component that houses the keys and trackpad.
The case has a kickstand which can be used to angle the iPad Air for comfortable viewing. Although, its need to rest on a solid surface can sometimes lead to issues with uneven surfaces.
Speaking of the keyboard, the keys here are well spaced and have a clear advantage over Apple’s Magic Keyboard due to the inclusion of function keys. These buttons can help control media playback, volume, access Spotlight Search, and perform other shortcuts. For $199, it is much cheaper than Magic Keyboard and worth considering if you’re looking for a protective accessory.
Logitech Combo Touch
Logitech Combo Touch is a two-party keyboard and case accessory for iPad Air. It features a click-anywhere trackpad and a backlit keyboard with a dedicated row of function keys. For $199, it is a great alternative to Apple’s expensive Magic Keyboard.
Logitech Folio Touch
The Logitech Folio Touch is a cheaper alternative to the Combo Touch and offers a similar user experience. Though, unlike the detachable keyboard on the Combo Touch, this model has one that’s permanently tethered. Its kickstand also allows you to use your iPad at a 40-degree angle.
Brydge Air Max+
The Brydge Air Max+ is marketed as a combination of a keyboard case for an iPad mixed with another component that offers some level of protection against falls and other types of impact.
The keyboard part of this accessory features a rubber-covered base with polycarbonate used in other elements, and the protective component also features a similar set of materials. Both parts also have anti-microbial properties.
To use the accessory, connect it to your iPad via Bluetooth and type away — Brydge promises a seamless experience that will leave the device working for four hours before disconnecting. The use of proprietary firmware and Bluetooth 5.0 also leads to a promise of lag-free functionality.
Brydge Air Max+
Brydge Air Max+ pairs a wireless Bluetooth keyboard with a detachable case that can magnetically snap onto iPad Air. The OEM also promises three-month battery life and 135-degree screen rotation with its hinge.
The Brydge Max+ is a more premium alternative to Air Max+. It is built with aluminum and promises a similar battery life to the Brydge Air Max, and even features a set of shortcut keys that will help you perform functions on your iPad.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad
The ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad brings another detachable keyboard system for iPad, but with an advantage up its sleeve. Due to its ability to work separately from an iPad, the Pro Keys keyboard features multi-device pairing; this allows users to connect the device to two separate tablets and toggle back and forth.
The cover component of this accessory also promises 2 meters of drop protection due to its rubberized edges and raised corners. And the magnetic enclosure will help keep the Apple Pencil in place and the screen safe from objects when you’re not using the iPad.
Lastly, the keyboard has a battery claim of 1 year of use between recharges. But this number will reduce to three months if you leave the trackpad on, and we believe it will lose a bit more usage time if you choose to use any of the seven available backlight colors available for the keys.
ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad
Made with polycarbonate material, the ZAGG Pro Keys with Trackpad is a slim folio-type cover for iPad that promises improved functionality and protection. It is detachable, and the casing it uses can add 2m drop protection to your tablet.
Apple Smart Folio Keyboard
And last on this list is the accessory to consider if you want to maintain the light and thin form factor of an iPad while adding a keyboard into the equation.
Like the Magic Keyboard, the Smart Folio Keyboard’s lightweight cover adds protection to the front and back, leaving the edges of the iPad uncovered. This design leaves the iPad without any excess material on its sides, which helps keep the slim form factor of the device.
The Smart Folio Keyboard does have its shortcomings, like its lack of backlit keys, which can also feel mushy to some users due to the low key travel the keyboard switches have. But if you want to reduce the amount of weight you carry around, it is the perfect alternative to the keyboards on this list.
Apple Smart Folio
The Apple Smart Folio Keyboard is the typing accessory to consider if you want a cheaper alternative from Apple. The case maintains a very slim form factor and offers two adjustable positions to set up your iPad for any productivity-based task.