Battle of the chunky iPad laptops

iPad Pro 11 with Magic Keyboard vs. iPad Air with Logitech Combo Touch

After getting a deal on an 2018 iPad Pro, I splurged and got the ridiculously priced iPad Magic Keyboard with trackpad. I have to say, I have been surprised at how much more productive the trackpad makes things.

So when my Mum recently mentioned she wanted to get an iPad, she decided to also try a keyboard case. After shopping around, we got a refurb iPad Air 64GB, which was around the same price as the cheaper iPad with 128GB and the Logitech Combo Touch.

So while I have both Padtops here, I figured I’d do a quick head-to-head look at them. Is the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard worth the extra money over the iPad Air with Logitech Combo Touch? Let‘s run the numbers…

iPad Pro 2018: around €600-€800
iPad Magic Keyboard: €339-€399

Total: €939

iPad Air: Apple has refurbs starting at €459
Logitech Combo Touch: €150

Total: €609

iPad Pro and iPad Air with Keyboard and trackpad

How they stack up

Build, keys & lap-ability

  • The iPad Pro Magic Keyboard keyboard easily wins here. The travel on the keys is great and the keyboard feels really solid – there’s zero flex, even when you’re using it on your lap.
  • The Logitech Touch Combo feels flimsier when you’re not using it on a flat surface and the kickstand means you need a bit more room to use it on your lap.

Keyboard layout

  • The extra function row on the Logitech Combo is great – I definitely miss not having those on the iPad Magic Keyboard.
  • The inverted “t” arrow key layout is back on the iPad Magic keyboard while the Logitech has the annoying side-by-side arrow keys.


  • The Logitech Combo Touch has a much larger trackpad and the extra room definitely makes gestures such as pinch-to-zoom much easier to do.
  • However I occasionally had some overshooting when doing the two-finger scroll gesture on the Logitech Touch Combo – here’s hoping a firmware update fixes that.

Screen angle

  • The awkward angle on the iPad Magic Keyboard has already been much discussed, but it’s definitely a thing.
  • The Logitech Touch Combo easily wins here, it has a huge range of angles.

Size & Weight

  • They are both hilariously chunky. To give you some comparisons, the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard feels like a 2012 MacBook Pro while the iPad Air with Logitech Combo Touch feels like the old iBooks in terms of thickness.
  • They both feel really heavy and the weigh in is fairly close: 1070g for the iPad Pro vs. 1129g for the iPad Air.
  • Taking the iPad Pro off the keyboard means you get the thin, no-case experience while the Logitech Combo Touch case comes apart at the keyboard, so you still have the case around the iPad itself. The kickstand actually comes in quite handy, so this may or may not be a pro depending how you use it.


So is the iPad Pro with keyboard & trackpad worth an extra €360 over the iPad Air with a keyboard & trackpad? I‘d say probably not. It‘s definitely a nicer experience in some ways with Face ID and the new Apple Pencil, but it‘s hard to justify.

Is an iPad with keyboard a sensible alternative to a MacBook? If it’s the only computer in your home, I’d be hard pressed to really recommend it: You’re still paying €600 for an iPad-laptop setup (assuming you want more than 32GB), so it’s not super cheap. But then again the entry-level MacBook Air starts at €1199, so for casual home use, it’s worth taking a look as your portable computer if you have access to another Mac.

Both iPads make a nice little laptop alternative for casual users that can work around iPadOS limitations.