The Brydge iPad Keyboard is one of many iPad related Kickstarter projects I backed this year. As some of you may have noted two recent ones were major disappointments: the Human Toolz Mobile Stand for iPad and the Facet iPad Stand. Brydge is touted as an effective and unique iPad keyboard that will give your iPad a MacBook Air like feel.
I’ve had my Brydge for a few weeks now and have recently had a chance to put it to some heavy use. I can tell you right off the bat that it is not a huge disappointment like the two products mentioned above. It hasn’t quite lived up to my, admittedly high, expectations for it though. Read on for some of the reasons why …
Brydge is a Bluetooth wireless keyboard for the iPad, made from ‘aerospace-grade aluminum that is machined and anodized to perfectly match the look and feel of an Apple iPad’. There’s also a black polycarbonate model available now. I got the standard aluminum model. Mine is a Brydge+ with the addition of a stereo speaker that’s placed at the top center of the keyboard.
It is compatible with the iPad 2 and iPad 3rd and 4th generations. My model came with friction clamps on its hinges that are made to fit the iPad 2, with additional friction clamps included to fit an iPad 3rd or 4th gen properly. I have the iPad 3 so I switched them out and it was a fairly easy process.
One of the Brydge’s big selling points is its hinges, described like so at the Brydge website:
Brydge’s patent-pending hinge holds the iPad secure and allows you to position your iPad at nearly any angle, even allowing you to close it up entirely for easy transportation. Once closed, both your iPad and Brydge go to sleep automatically.
Prices for Brydge are:
Brydge+ Soeakerless (without the built-in stereo speakers): $180
Brydge – the polycarbonate model: $150
— The hinge really does allow for a great range of angles that the iPad can be held in while in the Brydge. You can position it so it’s very straight up, very flat and angled down for a nicer typing view, and anywhere in between. This should make it easy for just about anyone to find their ideal position when using it. Here’s a look at an angled down typing position:
— My iPad 3 feels very safe and secure in the Brydge. This is mostly due to the nice, tight fit within the friction clamps. Rubber feet on the bottom of the Brdyge also help keep it feeling nice and steady on desktop and similar surfaces.
— It has the same top row of function keys as most quality iPad keyboards do. These allow you to go to the iPad home screen, adjust the brightness, control music apps, and more.
— It’s easy to place the iPad into and remove the iPad from the Brydge.
— Bluetooth pairing with the iPad is easy, though you do have to pair the keyboard and the speakers separately.
— The keyboard is very good quality. It has very generous key spacing, and this really makes a difference. I’d say it’s on par with the ZAGGfolio keyboard and that has always been my standard for a great iPad keyboard.
— Despite all the machined aluminum, I don’t find the Brydge hugely attractive when used as an iPad case. I don’t think it’s horrible looking by any means – but between the rather massive clamps and the four rubber feet on the bottom of it I don’t think it’s very handsome looking.
— It’s heavy. Very noticeably heavy, and considerably heavier than a ZAGG keyboard. In fact, it weighs 1.28 pounds – which is very nearly as much as an iPad 4 WiFi model, that weighs in at 1.44 pounds. This is another factor that makes it much less appealing for use as a keyboard case.
— The right-side Shift key is quite small, and takes a fair bit of getting used to.
— The sound from the built-in speakers is just OK, but far from great I’d say. Then again, it is just a speaker within an iPad keyboard so I’m not sure there should ever be great expectations for it. I mention this mainly to point out that I don’t feel this feature is worth paying $40 extra for.
So the Brydge has not been another big disappointment in my growing collection of Kickstarter backed products. But it’s also not a new favorite iPad accessory for me. I think it’s a good, capable iPad keyboard, but not so good when it comes to acting as a combo keyboard case. I certainly won’t be using it that way. And if I had to choose which standalone iPad keyboard to go with, I think the ZAGG keyboard is going to win out most of the time.
Given that the ZAGG iPad keyboard cases are priced considerably lower than the Brydge, I’d have to say I’d recommend the ZAGG products.
You can get more info on all the Brydge models and place an order at the Brydge website.
Disclosure: As mentioned above, the Brydge was acquired independently by the post author as a reward for backing its Kickstarter project. For information on our review policies please see our About page.