Let UAG add dependable protection to your iPad Pro/Smart Keyboard Folio.
One of my favorite features of my iPad is the ability to pair it with a keyboard, effectively turning it into a tabtop. Traveling to places like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, or to various continuing education conferences, I often take my iPad Pro + keyboard duo along. The device allows me to enjoy many of the features of my MacBook Pro, but at a fraction of the weight. I previously utilized the Zagg Slimbook for iPad Pro 10.5”, and enjoyed the rugged protection, the secure hinged keyboard mount, and pencil holder. Unfortunately, this case does not currently exist for the iPad Pro 11” and I opted for the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. Despite the perks of the Apple Keyboard Folio, I was wary of the reduced protection, when compared to the Zagg case. Luckily UAG had a device to protect my six.
The UAG Urban Armor Gear Scout Series arrived in a 7 3/4 inches wide by 10 1/4 inches tall by 3/4 inches wide retail case. At first glance, I was rather confused about the title and product contents/purpose. Located beneath the UAG logo/name, there was a heptagon (yes a seven-sided shape) with a mountainous crag along the top and “Approved Drop Tested MIL-STD 810G-516.6. Directly adjacent to the heptagon, “DESIGNED FOR IPAD PRO 11-INCH AND SMART KEYBOARD FOLIO” in white font and “SMART KEYBOARD FOLIO REQUIRED” in yellow font. The 5 1/4 inches tall by 7 inches wide image of the Dependable Protection Scout Series Case acted as another point of confusion, as I was not sure what was included. The photographic image was quite clear and crisp, but the message and role of the product remained a tad obscure. I loved the subtle grey geometric interlocking hexagons along the margins of the cover, sides, upper, lower, and back panels. The top panel had a useful plastic product hanging tab, the bottom panel had standard legal information, and each of the side panels provided the UAG title with a little jingle (“Built To Go Further” and “Rugged, Lightweight Drop-Tested Protection”). Turning the product face down, the back panel provided a quality 5 inches wide by 5 3/4 inches tall image detailing how the UAG shell fits atop the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. The image showed the iPad Pro 11”, the Keyboard, the UAG shell, the Apple Pencil Generation 2, and back/front, side views of the shell. Along the very bottom, UAG provided four features of the case: Impact Resistant, Feather-Light Construction, Smart Keyboard Folio Required, Apple Pencil Charging/Pairing Compatible.
To access the UAG Scout Series Case, place the packaging face down and lift the upper envelope-like flap; the 7.33 ounce black unibody case easily slid out from the packaging. I set the included black foam spacer aside and perused the four step installation process detailed on the cardboard instruction manual. The inner surface of the UAG Scout Case was decorated with several hexagons, likely designed to assist with ventilation. Additionally, if you look closely, you will find a small “1” and “2” etched into the surface, to guide/orient the iPad installation. Before you install the iPad Pro 11”, place the back panel of the Smart Keyboard Folio into the lower edge of the case and then push the upper corner securely into the UAG shell. Next, you can insert the iPad Pro 11” in essentially the same way, clicking in the lower edges and then the upper edges. The 1 1/4 inches long by 5/8 inches camera cutout and the 5/8 inches long by 1/4 inches wide lightning cutout perfectly matched the respective hardware on my iPad. The top and bottom panels each had four speaker cutouts, an outer 7/16 inches long by 1/8 inches thick cutout and an inner 1/2 inches long by 1/8 inches thick cutout. I liked the flat black color and the smooth texture of the back panel. there was a rubberized hinge that connected the 4 1/2 inches wide upper panel and the 2 5/8 inches wide lower panel. Along the edge closest to the camera, UAG included a convenient Apple Pencil 2.0 storage grip.
The Smart Keyboard, not included with this purchase, was an integral part of the UAG Scout case experience. If you have not had the chance to play with the Smart Keyboard, I would encourage you to give it a try. The keyboard folio attached to the back of the iPad via secure magnetic attraction and served as a back/edge protector when open; when closed, the soft keyboard folded over the screen and protected it. In addition to the magnetic attraction along the back of the iPad, the side panel of the iPad utilized magnets to connect to the two cutouts of the keyboard base. Visually appealing and functional, the Smart Keyboard Folio served as an excellent protector against light bumps and scuffs. However, the Folio did not add much protection for drops or for protection within my backpack. For that reason, the UAG shell proved to be a major upgrade beyond the stock Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. I loved that the iPad Pro 11” and Folio fit securely within the protective shell and that the outer grip was rubberized and had a pleasing touch-feel. The intelligent, functional, hinge allowed me to utilize the case, without any reduction in positioning. To summarize, I liked the outer surface of the case, the hinge, the cutout for the camera, and the Apple Pencil 2.0 holder along the top. My only complaint would be the color of the UAG Scout case, as it did not match that of the keyboard. Despite the color discrepancy and the added weight, thanks to the UAG Scout case, I felt comfortable traveling with my iPad Pro 11” in tabtop form.