I have wanted a new keyboard to pair with the iPad for a while now. Thanks to a post on Google+ I saw from John Pozadzides about Brydge, I went to check them out. The only problem, however, was time, as I didn't have any over the last few weeks to take to research it until the other day.
It didn't take long (I quickly ignored the nay sayers who stated you should just go to a MacBook Air or Pro), as the reviews I found were insightful and this product just seemed to get better and better. Then the choice about having speakers or going speaker-less came about. I decided I would make that decision at the moment of purchase and see if I could find anyone local to me who might be selling one. I then went on craigslist and VOILA! There was a listing for a speakerless Brydge+ at a great price, and I immediately reached out to the individual. This post is being written via the Brydge+ I now own, and I have to say, it is everything I have read about.
Now on to the review:
According to the boys at brydge.com, 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. One of my biggest worries was how the hinges would work and how my iPad would fit and hold in reality; however, no problems there, as it does exactly as described fitting snuggly, and I didn’t feel as if it would come out while using under any conditions for my personal use. Even more, the hinges allow you to tilt your iPad in almost any angle, which is excellent. It does put the iPad and the keyboard to sleep when closed.
Ease of Use
Pairing the Brydge with my iPad was a quick, one step process (I got the speaker-less as noted above – it is two steps if you get the speakers). Once complete, the keyboard is ready to go. It is my understanding that the pairing is separate when you get the speaker model so that when you remove the iPad from the Brydge+ then the speakers un-pair, but the keyboard remains ready for when you place it back or if you choose to use it while not seated in the hinges.
Now, you cannot use your iPad in the portrait position when it is attached to your Brydge+, but I do not find this a big issue, as I use mine in landscape the majority of the time and if I need portrait mode (such as if I am reading a book) then I just quickly remove it from my Brydge+.
I cannot speak on the speakers since my model does not have them, but it is my understanding that while they are a slight improvement to the iPad speaker, they are not that great of an extra option. Also, I have seen where it states that using a Brydge+ with a speaker enabled is always paired and always working, which diminishes the "months" of battery claimed by Brydge+ compared to not using the speaker. You will have to judge this for yourself if you get that particular model.
Future proofing the Brydge+ for use with upcoming models of iPad has even been baked in. They provide well-crafted plastic shims to fit generation 2 and 3 and 4 models now, and state that with the next model they will provide shims for that. Great thinking!
To recap, I have an awesome new keyboard that provides the functionality I need in the places I need it. It looks amazing and has a great battery life. Yes, there are plenty of other reviews out there, and a majority speak greatly about Brydge+ but find annoying bits like a small and ill placed right shift key (which I can say has caused me to hit the wrong key more than once, but I can adapt and I do not use that key very often), but to me, not even Apple has come out with a great alternative keyboard/ Compared to others I have worked with, this beats them all.
Needless to say, I suggest you look at Brydge+ and consider it when looking for a bluetooth keyboard to compliment your iPad.
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