Sometimes, the form of the laptop is exactly what you need. And for those times, if you have an IPad, there is the Brydge keyboard.
The Brydge consists of chunky, well-weighted base that you slot your iPad into and it suddenly turns it into a clamshell. The advantage of this is you end up with something that really can sit in your lap, and it’s the only keyboard I’ve found that actually achieves this Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which I like a lot, lacks balance when in the lap, and also is fixed at a single viewing angle. The Logitech Slim Combo turns your iPad Pro into something that’s much more like the Microsoft Surface Pro, complete with kick-stand, which gives you multiple angles but doesn’t sit well in the lap.
If your mind is taken with the idea of having a “laptop” that runs iOS and can genuinely be used in the lap, the Brydge is your best option. But there’s a couple of drawbacks.
First of all, it’s a pretty heavy “laptop”. The combined weight of Brydge 12.9 and the iPad Pro is 1450g, a full half kilo heavier than the iPad Pro with Apple’s Smart Keyboard. That’s a little more than a 13in MacBook Pro. So yes, you’re getting a much more “laptop” experience, but at the price of weight.
The second issue is that it’s actually almost too much like a laptop. Use it for a while, and you find your thumb inevitably drifts down towards you expect a trackpad to be. And of course, there’s nothing there - you have to reach up to the screen to interact with what’s on screen. And because the Brydge pushes the screen further back away from you, you have to reach further back to touch the screen.
However, there’s a more serious issue with the Brydge Keyboard. I found it missed out key presses every now and than. And this is NOT connected with typing speed at all: even when I type really, really slowly, it will miss characters, probably around one letter in 30, which – as I’m a pretty decent typist – is actually frequent enough to be annoying.
This appears to be a problem with some – but not all – Brydge keyboards, and you can get a replacement if yours exhibits this behaviour (Jason Snell replaced his twice before getting an error-free device). In my case, it’s irritating, but not so much that I can be bothered to replace it. Your mileage may vary.
Given these issues, I wouldn’t recommend the Brydge unless you spend a lot of your time typing with the device on your lap and absolute cannot live without a proper keyboard. And even then, for most people the Logitech Slim Combo probably offers a better balance, although – like the Brydge – it makes the iPad as heavy as a MacBook Pro. Unlike the Brydge, the Logitech doesn’t require any charging (as it’s powered from the Smart Connector) and you have the added flexibility of losing some weight when carrying the iPad around without the keyboard attached.