Anyone who has been looking at the Microsoft Surface range of laptops may have come across the Microsoft Type Cover. But what is it, and do you need one?
Since the Surface range of laptops has become more expansive and popular, the Type Cover has become a staple in many peoples computing setups.
But for anyone that is not in the loop, keep reading, as we are going to explain what a Type Cover is and what it’s used for.
What is Type Cover?
A Type Cover is a peripheral product created by Microsoft. It is essentially a thin keyboard that can be attached to a number of products in the Microsoft Surface line.
The Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro X and Surface Go 3 utilise a Type Cover, alongside a number of other devices in the lineup. The main Surface products that are not compatible with the Type Cover are traditional clamshell laptops, like the Surface Laptop 4, since it includes its own attached keyboard.
Type Cover connects to a supported Surface product via magnets, allowing the portable keyboard to snap into place as well as easily detach from a device. This makes it easy for users to turn their Surface tablets into a laptop and start typing.
Some Type Covers also allow for the cover to be bent back against the Surface, which can provide extra versatility and create a comfortable angle to work at.
How many Type Covers are there?
There have been a couple of different Type Covers since its original release when the first generation of Surface Pro was launched.
The first Type Cover was released in 2012 and features a felt keypad. The second generation of Surfaces was launched alongside the Type Cover 2. This version included a plastic keypad instead of felt and backlit keys, with 1,092 sensors.
When the Surface Pro 3 was released in 2016, the Surface Pro Type Cover hit shelves. This was made to fit a larger screen and it featured a magnetised strip that could be rested against the screen to help prop the screen up at an angle, alongside better key spacing and a glass trackpad.
There is also the Surface Pro Signature Type Cover that pairs well with the Surface Pro 7 laptop.
Since then, there has not been a next-generation Type Cover, however, there have been several new colourways added, including Poppy Red, Ice Blue and Platinum.
Are Type Covers good?
Microsoft Surface devices need to be paired with a Type Cover to be used as a laptop, though there are other attachable keyboards available from other brands that do a similar job.
In our review of the Surface Pro 8, we noted that the Signature Pro has a carbon fibre layer, which made it feel a lot sturdier and removed the flex from previous Type Covers. However, we noted that the Type Cover that pairs with the Surface Go was too shallow, with the deck being flimsy, causing the Cover to bounce up and down as you use it.
This means that the quality between Type Covers does vary depending on which generation you use, with the most recent ones being generally more robust than the previous generations.
Other covers, like the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, offer a similar experience to the Microsoft Type Cover. Our review of the Magic Keyboard noted that it used the same magnet design as the Type Cover, offering a great typing experience that worked seamlessly with the iPad Pro.
However, the Magic Keyboard has a starting price of £279, while certain versions of the Type Cover start at £99, making it the cheaper option out of the two. Unfortunately, the iPad Pro and recent Surface products do not come with the Type Cover included, meaning that users will need to spend more to have access to a keyboard.
Generally, we have found the different Type Covers to be effective and sturdy, and we would recommend purchasing a Type Cover to make the most out of Surface products, especially if you want to use it as a laptop instead of a tablet.