My favorite iPad keyboard and stylus are not made by Apple


  • Remarkably cheaper than Apple’s Pencil and Magic Keyboard Folio
  • Case gives enhanced safety and higher viewing angles
  • Crayon stylus is simple to wield and would not require a dongle to cost


  • Minor latency in contrast with Apple’s first-party equipment
  • Crayon stylus shouldn’t be pressure-sensitive

A couple of months in the past, I reviewed Apple’s vanilla iPad, titling it “A confusingly good iPad,” as a result of that is precisely what it was. 

It was additionally at the moment after I acquired to take a look at the brand new Magic Keyboard Folio, a $249 sort cowl that was Apple’s method of introducing a perform row key to the iPad expertise. Pretty much as good because the accent was, to this present day, the value continues to be tough to swallow.

Someday later, Logitech pitched me its Combo Contact keyboard cowl and Crayon stylus for the Tenth-gen iPad, touting superior performance over Apple’s personal keyboard and Pencil — at way more reasonably priced costs. Logitech’s PR crew knew precisely what they have been doing.

Additionally: 5 greatest iPad display screen protectors that really work

Properly, months later, right here is my testimonial to the model’s guarantees, none of which have been damaged: The Logitech Combo Contact and Crayon are my favourite equipment for the iPad, and ones I might simply suggest should you’re eyeing a brand new keyboard case or stylus to your Apple pill. Here is why.

Flexing on the Magic Keyboard

The Combo Contact keyboard cowl and Apple’s personal Magic Keyboard Folio share many similarities, like their two-piece design (the kickstand and removable keyboard) and the way they are often linked to the iPad with a snap of the underside facet pogo pins. 

However Logitech made some extra design decisions that I am an enormous fan of. 

For one, whereas each equipment function a sturdy kickstand, the one on the Combo Contact can fold upward to the purpose the place the iPad is angled simply low sufficient (see picture under) for comfy writing and sketching — a preferred use case for pill house owners.

Logitech Combo Touch case folded down.

All 4 sides of the iPad are protected with the Combo Contact, with an ample quantity of area for many USB-C cables.

June Wan/ZDNET

Then there’s the construct high quality of the Logitech cowl, which is available in a tough plastic protecting case that you simply snap the iPad into, versus Apple’s model, which merely sticks to the again of the pill by way of magnets. The magnet cowl is minimal and simpler to put in, certain, nevertheless it’s additionally much less protecting and leaves the edges of the iPad susceptible to bumps and scratches. You possibly can see the distinction in display screen safety within the comparability under.

One of many issues that I had with Apple’s Magic Keyboard Folio, apart from the value, was that there was no place to retailer the Apple Pencil. (Keep in mind, despite the fact that the Tenth-gen iPad appears to be like and feels just like the iPad Air, it doesn’t have the magnetic strip on the facet to carry the stylus accent.) That is why the stylus holder on the highest of the Logitech case is well worth the call-out. It is a nifty socket that may preserve both the unique Apple Pencil (1st gen) or Logitech’s Crayon stylus safely stowed, able to be plucked out when wanted.

Additionally: The 5 greatest Apple iPad keyboard circumstances

To save lots of myself from being completely canceled by the Apple devoted, I’ll admit that typing on the Magic Keyboard is noticeably higher than Logitech’s. Whereas each keyboards use scissor switches and have comparatively comparable key journey and bounces, there’s one thing about Apple’s broader, squarish keys that make typing inside a pill’s width much less cramped than anticipated. Nonetheless, each supply backlit keys, a perform row, and multi-touch gesture assist, and get the typing job achieved. And one is $90 much less.

Taking the Apple Pencil to high school

As for the stylus debate, the Apple Pencil is as legendary as pill equipment get, however my causes for siding with Logitech’s oddly named Crayon is especially as a result of type issue and methodology of charging. And belief me, simply figuring out about one of many two could also be sufficient to sway you in Logitech’s favor.

Probably the most noticeable distinction with the Crayon is its carpenter’s pencil-like design; the back and front sides of the stylus are flat, virtually like a thick popsicle stick. As bizarre as which will sound, this type issue lends itself to 2 main benefits over the 1st-gen Apple Pencil: a extra reassuring grip and a stylus that will not simply roll off any uneven floor.

Additionally: What’s the greatest iPad stylus and is there a substitute for Apple Pencil?

Whereas the Crayon is about $30 cheaper than the Apple Pencil, its brushed aluminum texture provides it a extra premium hand really feel than the latter’s shiny, plasticky exterior.

Logitech Crayon in the hand.

Wielding the Crayon takes getting used to, however that took me lower than a minute to do.

June Wan/ZDNET

Let’s be frank, it would not take a lot to impress somebody who’s gone by way of the ill-fated journey that’s pairing a 1st-gen Apple Pencil with the Tenth-gen iPad by way of Apple’s $9 USB-C dongle. (I am nonetheless attempting to get that picture out of my head.) 

Additionally: Methods to pair and cost an Apple Pencil

Fortuitously, charging the Crayon is as simple as connecting the open finish of the stylus to the iPad with one, singular cable. I want I did not need to be impressed by this, however I’ve discovered to be thankful for the only issues in life. 

Holding the Logitech Crayon and Apple Pencil 1st Gen.

And remember the dotted battery stage indicator on the Crayon!

June Wan/ZDNET

In its protection, the Apple Pencil helps stress sensitivity whereas Logitech’s would not. That is significantly noteworthy for graphic designers, artists, and customers who depend on depth and a number of enter ranges to get work achieved. The Crayon is nice for jotting down notes and serving as a extra correct touchpoint than your finger, however for skilled work, Apple’s first-party possibility is admittedly a step above. Actually, I might suggest choosing up the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil (and an iPad that helps it) if performance is what you are after.

Backside line

Logitech’s Combo Contact keyboard cowl and Crayon stylus will not be excellent, however they ship a extra feature-rich expertise than Apple’s first-party equipment at a fraction of the price. That is not a knock on Apple’s personal iPad keyboard and stylus by any means; the 2 are simply as worthy of your consideration. 

It is simply essential to boost consciousness of what else is out there — past the walled backyard. As a result of most of the time, you may discover one thing higher.

Alternate options to contemplate

Open to extra iPad keyboard cowl and stylus prospects? Test these out.

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