Best answer: Yes, the Alcantara on the Signature version of Microsoft's Surface Pro and Surface Go Type Covers is worth paying a bit extra for. It makes the keyboard cover feel much more high-end than the rubbery-feeling regular Type Cover and adds a touch of luxury. It also comes in more colors. And in most cases, it doesn't cost that much more.
- Pro-like luxury: Surface Pro Signature Type Cover (From $132 at Amazon)
- Cheaper but not as nice: Surface Pro Type Cover (From $90 at Amazon)
- Go in style: Surface Go Signature Type Cover (From $95 at Amazon)
- Go without Alcantara: Surface Go Type Cover (From $93 at Amazon)
- That Alcantara X Factor (with Pen): Surface Pro X Signature Type Keyboard with Slim Pen ($201 at Amazon)
- No Alcantara for your X keyboard: Surface Pro X Keyboard ($107 at Amazon)
To Alcantara, or not to Alcantara? Is there even a question?
Microsoft offers only a couple different official Type Covers for the Surface Pro, Surface Pro X and Surface Go: the regular ol' plastic-y Surface Type Cover and the fancier (and pricier) Surface Pro Signature Edition Type Cover with Alcantara. I bought versions of both for my Pros and my Go, to see which ones I liked better. After using the different versions, these are my thoughts.
To be clear, the two Microsoft's Surface Signature and regular Type Covers for Surface Pro and Go are mostly the same, except for two things: that Alcantara and the price. The Alcantara version for the Pro starts at $132 on Amazon (considerably more if you buy through Microsoft) compared to the $90 regular ProType Cover. For the Go version, the Signature Type Cover with Alcantara starts at $95 on Amazon, while the regular Go Type Cover goes for $93. Both keyboards are solid.
The Surface Pro X Signature keyboard with Alcantara is a bit of a different story. It's only available in a bundle with the latest Surface Pro Slim Pen, which means it costs significantly more; it starts about $200 on Amazon. The keyboard is slightly more condensed than the regular Pro keyboard, too, with different key travel.
The Alcantara feels a lot like suede, but it's not made of any animal products, which I appreciate. For more details on this Italian-made fabric, read our post detailing everything you need to know about Alcantara.
The regular Type Cover is made of smooth, soft plastic. My palms tend to get a bit sweaty when I type for extended periods. And after a while, I found that my hands kept sticking to the material as if it was gripping them a bit. That's a turnoff for me.
The Alcantara feels great. It's soft, and my palms don't stick to it, even when they're all swampy. Of course, I've read numerous reports that suggest Alcantara does not hold up well at all over time. And after a year or so of use, my platinum Pro and Go keyboards definitely show signs of age. However, they are also relatively easy to clean, which can go a long way toward extending the lifespan. In my experience, the lighter color Alcantara accessories show more wear than the darker colors, so keep that in mind if you want to make a purchase.
So is the Alcantara Type Cover worth the extra cash?
Absolutely. The cost is relatively small if you buy through Amazon. It's an exceptionally slight difference when you consider that you'll probably be using your Surface PC for at least a couple of years.
How you feel about the way Alcantara looks is a personal preference. But I think most people will agree that it feels great, at least when it's new. The plastic on the regular Type Cover doesn't feel bad, but it also certainly doesn't feel good.
The Signature Edition Type Covers also come in three different and better-looking colors — platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy — while the regular version is only available in black.
Xtra cash gets you Alcantara and a Pen
Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen
New and improved keyboard, with Alcantara and a Pen
The Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard is a different but similar design to the company's Surface Type Covers, with a different key layout and a built-in slot to hold the new Slim Pen.
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