This article review the issues and design options for the lightest iPad Pro case in 2023.
The Problem With Heavy iPad Pro Case
The cellular version of the iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch weighs 468 grams and 684 grams by design. But that is not the weight we will carry around, as almost every user would invest in a case that doubles up as a stand.
For most IPad Pro protective cases, with a silicone back cover with full side protection and an Apple Pencil holder, the weight would likely exceed 250 grams and 400 grams for the iPad Pro 11-inch and 12.9-inch, respectively.
This case made of TPU, silicone or plastic is more than half the weight of your iPad Pro, a smart device that costs more than ten times the case cost. But the real question is, why do you need so much protection?
Are you working in an environment where you require military-grade, rugged equipment? Do you also usually use ruggedised protection for your notebooks/laptops, mobile phones and other gear?
If yes, you can skip this article as your usage demands a Mil-Std 810H-compliant protection. To achieve such a high level of protection, your device will not be lightweight and affordable.
As for the majority, we do not foresee you needing a rugged case especially when you use the tablet when seated at home or in the office, but you will appreciate a lighter-weight option for commuting between office, work and play.
The Problem with the Lightest iPad Pro Keyboard Case
For this case study, I will use the iPad Pro 12.9-inch to elaborate further on the weight issue as it is closer in size to the 13-inch 2-in-1 ultra-notebooks.
The problem with the lightest iPad Pro Keyboard case is that none is lightweight and weighs less than 416 grams. All the product designers are copying each other and producing the same products, but none look for a better solution than the rest of the followers.
416 is the new magic number for success.
The iPad Pro tablet weighs just 684 grams compared to the lightest 2-in-1 laptop, which weighs 1.1 kg, so we have a weight budget of 416 grams to beat or match the weight of the Asus UP5302 ultra-notebook.
What else do we need?
- The tablet needs to be able to stand in at least two positions.
- We need to add a keyboard to match the productivity of the 2-in-1 laptop.
So product designers, listen up! Your target weight for the next hot-selling iPad Case Stand with Keyboard must be less than 416 grams. In the meantime, let’s check out the heavy weight weight champion of iPad Keyboard case (and expensive) options available:
Logitech Combo Touch
The Logitech Combo Touch has backlit keys with a trackpad, but it weighs a hefty 780 grams and does not include any storage for the Apple Pencil. The design concept is similar to the keyboard case used by Samsung Tab.
Using the Logitech Combo Touch, your iPad Pro 12.9-inch will weigh 1.464 kg. That is very heavy for a tablet that you thought weighed only 684 grams.
Buy Logitech Combo Touch for iPad Pro
Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro was first introduced in 2020 with the iPad Pro Gen 4. The biggest complaint with this keyboard is that it is overpriced at $349 and weighs a shocking 710 grams. It is also not as stable as the conventional laptop when working on the lap. The designers also missed an open slot to charge and stow away the Apple Pencil 2.
Using the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, your iPad Pro 12.9-inch will weigh 1.394 kg. That is still very heavy for a tablet.
Buy Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
Splitting the Solution
As we could not find an all-in-one solution that is capable of challenging the weight target, we turn to the separate iPad Pro case and keyboard.
Firstly, we must search for the lightest in both categories so that the combined weight is close to the magical 416 grams. This is simple, right? We only need to find a case and keyboard that weigh around 200 grams each.
Secondly, we need to find a minimalist solution without the bells and whistles. We need just a basic stand and a portable keyboard that works, and not a rugged stand with backlit keyboard and touch pad and so on.
Assuming that you use a military-grade, rugged iPad Pro case weighing 400 grams, the entire set would weigh at least 1,084 grams (approximately 1.1kg). That is the weight of the lightest 2-in-1 laptop, but I have yet to add the weight of a portable keyboard which weighs between 238 to 450 grams, depending on your choice of make and model.
The total weight would add up close to 1.35kg, which is the weight of most ultra-notebook.
If you are looking for the lightest iPad Pro Case, be prepared to lose some protection and functionality.
Lightweight iPad Pro Case and Keyboard Option
What if we pick the lightest keyboard and case separately?
Brandless iPad Pro Case
We found this brandless iPad Pro 12.9-in case that costs $20 and weighs only 238 grams.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch: 684 grams
iPad Pro Case (brandless): 228 grams
Total weight: 912 grams
At 912 grams, you will get a stand, a back cover with corner protection and a front cover with magnetic closure. This cover would not survive a drop test, and does not provide any storage for the Apple Pencil. However, it is the lightest cover and stand that we can find at the moment.
The closest that we could find on Amazon could be the Fly Case, but they did not indicate their product weight.
Next, we will look for at portable keyboard options
Apple Magic Keyboard
The Apple Magic Keyboard is designed for the Apple iMac, but it is a potential contender and is even lighter than Microsoft Designer Keyboard.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch: 684 grams
iPad Pro Case (brandless): 228 grams
Apple Magic Keyboard: 238 grams
Total weight: 1,150 grams (1.15kg)
Yes, we finally found a combination that is close to the magical 1.1kg weight of the lightest 2-in-1 laptop. The advantage of this setup is that the keyboard and tablet is naturally separated. So if you need to hold the tablet to read, the weight will be 912 grams only (excluding the keyboard). This is lighter than trying to hold the 2-in-1 laptop.
The shortfall is that the Apple Magic Keyboard does not have a trackpad.
Product designers should always keep the “weight” in mind when designing mobile products and accessories. Most of them are simply following the flow of others and do not fully understand what users need.
It is possible to achieve a lighter weight by separating the case and keyboard. However, we look forward to an affordable and reliable keyboard and case combo that is under 400 grams.
Love this article. Please keep hammering on about this topic, with updates if you find a better solution. I love my iPad Pro but the Logitech Combo Touch makes it into a fat boy! I keep looking for a better solution and have tried split (case + Apple keyboard + Apple mouse). Then it’s a mess to transport.