Android device makers seemingly have no interest in creating a portable Android device that we can actually get some work done on. Samsung dances around the subject with some very nice tablets and the Galaxy Note series and Huawei has the MediaPad lineup but no-one offers the power of the Apple iPad Pro.
Look, we know you’re reading this on AndroidGuys.com and with that comes some expectations from the name alone. We love Android and we all use it as our daily driver, but we don’t live our lives to only use Android. There are other operating systems out there and just because some people think Android and iOS are at opposite ends of some imaginary graph doesn’t mean we’re afraid to see what else is out there.
The goal of this article is to take a look to see how we can take the best device that Apple has to offer and make it work for professionals on the go, creatives that need a powerful and portable device, and everyone in between. The Apple iPad Pro is a great device, but like most tablets, it has untapped potential that is brought out by the accessories you pair it with.
We teamed up with several companies to showcase what exactly is out there. The iPad was purchased by me and the accessories here were donated by the companies for our honest opinions. The products will be offered back to the companies after publishing and our views are our own.
We wish we could be writing this article about an Android tablet, but there’s nothing out there right now that compares with the power and portability of the iPad Pro. When it does, we’ll go after it. It’s the same reason we’re currently reviewing the LG Gam. That review will come out later, but for now, enjoy.
Paperlike screen protector
Sometimes, your “stale” tech products can be “brought back to life” with the addition of something extremely simple like a case, wallpaper, new apps, or even a screen protector. That’s the case for me with the iPad Pro 12.9 2018 with the PaperLike Screen Protector.
This screen protector has been making its rounds in the tech circles for some time, but for various reasons, I had not tried it out yet. Then, I finally got one and it has completely changed how often I use the iPad Pro.
It’s not that the protector adds some magical new features that are awe-inspiring. But instead, PaperLike has me looking for excuses to actually use my Apple Pencil 2 with the iPad Pro. This matte screen protector provides the “right amount” of resistance when using the Apple Pencil so you feel like you’re writing on paper.
The PaperLike has rekindled my love for the iPad Pro and has made me looking for excuses to do everything and anything in ways that I wasn’t before. You can pick one up from PaperLike directly for about $30, and each package includes two protectors, and two of the installation kits that the company includes.
Zagg InvisibleShield Glass+ for iPad Pro
Do you really need a glass screen protector for your iPad Pro? The answer more than likely is yes, but it’s not for the reason that you may be thinking. Sure, these protectors, like the Glass+ InvisibleShield from Zagg, will help keep the display protected int he case of an accidental drop. But what has surprised me is actually the fact that the “fingerprint problem” has largely been minimized.
Zagg has been in the screen protector game for very long time, and is always considered one of the best in the business, despite the price tag. You kind of pay for what you get, right? Nonetheless, the Glass+ features “Ion Matrix” technology which provides impact and shatter protection, while still being able to show off the beautiful display without any distortion.
Moving back to the fingerprint situation that plagues my iPad Pro, the display continually shows my fingerprints and ends up looking rather gross after even just a few hours. Somehow, Zagg figured out how to make this not the case, as even when using my iPad as a regular tablet and without the keyboard, the screen continues to look good and I’m not embarrassed to use the iPad in public.
For those worried about feedback issues with the Apple Pencil 2, fear not. While there used to be some of these issues back when the iPad Pro 2018 lineup was launched, this have been squashed with the help of software updates. Using your Apple Pencil 2 with the iPad Pro is just as nice as if you didn’t have a screen protector on at all.
If you want to pick one of these up for yourself, you can find these at just about every major retailer including Amazon, Best Buy, or Zagg’s own website. The Glass+ (which we are showcasing here) can be had for $64.99, but is also backed by a lifetime warranty, meaning you can get it replaced for as long as you own your device. And as you can see in the links, it can often be found for less than $40.
Logitech Slim Folio Pro
Whether you’re dashing off to a meeting, sitting in a coffee shop working on your manuscript, or just need to hammer out some emails, the iPad Pro can be a great tool provided you have the right case. The Logitech Slim Folio Pro is a great option to keep your iPad protected and bring a keyboard with you wherever you go.
I really enjoy typing on the Sim Folio Pro. While it’s not quite as good as some of the better laptop keyboards out there, I have written many articles on it and have no issues when doing so. There’s enough key travel to feel satisfying but not much resistance so I don’t feel that I need to slam the keys down to get them to trigger. It’s a nice balance for fatigue-free typing.
The keyboard features shortcut keys above the number row to perform tasks like play, pause, skip track, volume, a button to lock the screen and even one to check the Bluetooth keyboard battery status. They’re handy and cut down on how many keyboard shortcuts I need to know and touching the screen to pull up control center.
A magnet locks the iPad case into the keyboard and immediately initializes the Bluetooth connection. It’s convenient because you never have to worry about turning the keyboard on separately, but it does lock you into just one position. Luckily, it’s inclined just enough to get the job done. If you want a little more flexibility, you may want to look elsewhere.
You can grab the Logitech Slim Folio Pro for $129 from Amazon, Logitech, Apple, or Best Buy.
Ultimate work setup by Satechi and Anker
This might not surprise you, but I do a lot of writing on my iPad. Shocking, right? While the iPad Pro is great for many things, you really need third-party accessories to make it a powerful writing station. Otherwise, it’s a tablet laying flat on a desk and you’re typing on a virtual keyboard. Satechi and Anker power my mobile work setup, here’s a rundown of all the products I use.
Satechi R1 Folding Stand
First off, we need to get our iPad in the correct position. For this, we use the R1 Folding Stand. The aluminum stand is strong and comes with two pivot points so you can place your iPad in the perfect position for media creation or consumption. The aluminum not only feels premium but it looks so too and almost matches the color of the iPad, giving it a cool two-tone look when the iPad Pro is placed in the older.
The bottom of the stand and the cradle both feature rubber grips to keep your iPad in place and prevent scratches on both the screen and the rear of the device. I’ve used other stands that don’t have rubber feet and it’s always a disaster. Even if you don’t pick up the R1 Folding Stand from Satechi, make sure you do get one with plenty of rubber grips on it.
You can grab the Satechi R1 Folding Stand from Amazon, Satechi, or Walmart.
Satechi Aluminum Keyboard
Okay, now that our iPad is in the right spot, we move onto the keyboard. While you can use pretty much any Bluetooth keyboard, I recommend this Aluminum keyboard from Satechi. It features a full keyboard layout, number pad included, as well as Mac and iOS-specific shortcut keys above the number row. I also love the dedicated cut, copy and paste keys above the number pad. These make life so much easier and I’ll never use a keyboard for my iPad without them again.
Build quality is a huge positive here. Since I keep the keyboard in my bag, it gets thrown around a bit and it still looks like the day I took it out of the box. The aluminum frame has no flex to it and the scissor-switch keys are a joy to type on. I’m used to mechanical keyboards and while there definitely isn’t as much travel as one of those, I did really enjoy the typing experience here. It’s easy to use and looks fantastic next to my iPad.
You can grab the Satechi Aluminum keyboard from Amazon or Satechi.
Anker Atom PD 1 and Satechi USB C 100w Cable
While battery life on the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9 is fantastic, I do quite a bit of photo editing and video editing and that can suck the juice pretty quickly. To keep both my iPad and accessories powered up, I rely on the Anker Atom PD 1 wall adapter and the Satech 100w USB C cable.
Anker’s new Atom PD 1 charger is fantastic because of how small it is. It offers a ton of power in a little package and doesn’t cover up more than one outlet. When you’re at an airport, hanging out in Starbucks or in an office setting, that’s extremely important. I also have to consider how big all the products in my bag are because I take them everywhere so it ticks all the boxes.
Satechi’s USB cable provides up to 100w of power and is the perfect pair for the Anker charger. The thick braiding looks great and has withstood constant abuse from being squeezed behind desks, stepped on, and in one instance, having a knife dropped on it- blade down. Yikes.
You can grab the Atom PD 1 wall adapter from Anker and Amazon. If you want to pick up the Satechi six-foot USB C to USB C cable, you can find it at Amazon and Satechi’s site.
Satechi Slim Multiport Adapter v2
Easily the best thing about the new iPad Pro redesign is the USB C port. While the iOS file system still doesn’t work quite like how I’d like, the USB C port offers a ton of flexibility that a lightning port never did. The Slim Multiport Adapter v2 is a perfect example of why it is so powerful.
The adapter plugs into the iPad through the USB C port while the adapter has ports for USB type C (with power delivery), an HDMI port that supports 4K output, multiple USB A ports, and full-sized SD and micro SD card ports. Daily, I have this plugged into my iPad with a Satechi USB C to USB C cable plugged into it to power the iPad and accessories. I then have a USB C to USB A cable plugged into my Satechi Aluminum keyboard, a USB A fan that I sit on my desk, a micro SD card and full-size SD card that I use to move files back and forth between my phone, desktop and iPad. Occasionally I’ll plug in an external monitor if I’m using an application that supports it.
I can’t say enough good things about the Satechi Slim Multiport Adapter v2. It’s extremely well built, looks great, doesn’t take up a ton of space, and at only $70, is cheaper than other options out there that offer fewer ports. If the iPad is the brain of this setup, the Satechi Slim Multiport Adapter v2 is the nervous system. I couldn’t live without it.
If you’re interested in picking one up, you can find them at Amazon and Satechi’s website.
Creativity on the go
Zagg Slimbook Go
Easily the best typing experience I’ve had using my iPad on the go is with the Zagg Slimbook Go. The folio case has a full keyboard along with quick keys on top that, like other options we’ve talked about, make your life easier. It makes the iPad feel much closer to a laptop than a tablet, and that’s a huge step in the right direction.
The keyboard provides great travel and the key spacing is excellent. It actually reminds me quite a bit of the Pixel Slate keyboard from Google, but even better. I had no adjustment time when I first started using the keyboard and I was able to type just as fast as I could at home with my mechanical keyboard. When you’re out of the house and trying to get work done, you don’t want obstacles like a frustrating keyboard in your way and the Zagg Slimbook Go delivers on that.
A flap comes out of the back of the case and that’s how it stays upright. This thing is STRONG and can be bent back quite a bit before the weight of the iPad tips it over. I’ve used it several times by itself just watching videos in bed or out on my deck because it’s a great stand. It’s easy to remove and reattach the keyboard too. There are magnets that pull the case and the keyboard together for a perfect fit.
All in all, I think the Zagg Slimbook Go is the best option at this price and any search for a keyboard folio should start here. You can find them at Amazon and Zagg’s website.
Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD
If you’re serious about using your iPad for content creation, you probably already know about the Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD. This little creature houses a SSD in a protective case that ensures your data won’t get lost just because your bag fell out of your car. Or out of a plane. Seriously, the protective casing feels that damn strong.
It has a battery that’s rated for ten hours of video streaming and an SD card slot that allows you to instantly copy everything from the card right to the SSD. From there, you use the Cloud app to transfer data to and from your iPad. In my case, I shot on my camera, popped my SD card into the SSD, it copied everything over and then I transferred it to the iPad to edit in Lumafusion.
This all took place wirelessly. You connect the iPad to a wireless network that SSD creates for a direct connection. The connection is capable of supporting 4K video playback so you can check out the video clips you just recorded before actually transferring them over. This was extremely convenient right after a long photo session when I wanted to pick and choose what I brought over instead of hundreds of shots.
The Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD isn’t cheap, but it provides the perfect companion to the iPad Pro for creatives. You can find it at Amazon, B&H Photo, Best Buy, and WD’s website.