I got an email from Brydge this afternoon letting me know that they had just released a new firmware update for their new Pro+ Keyboard and Trackpad. The update came in the form of an iPad app that connects to the Pro+ via Bluetooth and is very easy to use. I did have to plug my keyboard in to run the update, but that was the only minor hassle.
I got my Brydge Pro+ a few days ago and wrote about some of my initial impressions here. So far I really like the keyboard and the overall design, but I already liked the earlier Brydge Pro, so that wasn’t a big surprise. However, the Pro+ will ultimately be judged on the merits of its primary new feature- the trackpad. Unfortunately, it doesn’t measure up to the rest of the product’s quality and performance quite yet.
The reason for this early firmware update is the inconsistent performance of said trackpad. While I have had no issues with single-finger cursor tracking so far, others who have reviewed the Pro+ have. As for two-finger scrolling, the performance I saw was much the same as everyone else. It was very jumpy and erratic and didn’t feel natural at all. According to Brydge, this new firmware primarily addresses cursor operation and adds a two-finger tap gesture.
So I got the new firmware installed right after lunch and immediately tested two-finger scrolling. Well, it’s a little better. I can say that much. Scrolling is a bit smoother and less jumpy, but it is still too jerky and inconsistent to be considered acceptable. Unfortunately for Brydge, the Pro+ will always be compared to Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 and right now it just doesn’t measure up.
The good news is that Brydge is being proactive and, based on some of their comments today, they do own the issues. Even though this product was designed to work with Assistive Touch, rather than the upgraded trackpad support that came in iPadOS 13.4, they are working to make the Pro+’s trackpad operate the best that it can with the improved features.
Brydge absolutely has more work to do to make the trackpad as good as it needs to be. However, based on their responses on Twitter today, it seems that they get it and are going to keep working the problems. I give them credit for that and I sincerely hope they can make the trackpad experience good enough for the Pro+ to become a viable alternative to the Magic Keyboard. More competition in the iPad Pro accessory space is a good thing, so here’s hoping. This update came fairly quickly. If they can keep up this pace and make the necessary changes quickly, then the Pro+ has a chance.
As of today, I wouldn’t recommend the Brydge Pro+ unless you must have its form factor, rather than the Magic Keyboard’s design. That said, I will be keeping an eye out for future firmware updates and will continue to test them as soon as they are released. Hopefully my position on this accessory will change soon.