You may remember Brydge from their successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Designed in California, they received funding and had reasonable success but now Brydge is under new ownership. As Uncle Ben said “with great power comes great responsibility” the new owners have implemented a number of welcomed changes including price drops, a focus on great customer service and a range of new models on the way later on this year. They’ve also started shipping from the UK so all online orders will receive the cheapest rates possible and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering!
The Brydge+ is the most expensive keyboard case in the range but I think it’s worth the extra bit of cash. The Brydge+ is made out of the same anodized aluminum as the iPad – making it feel like an extension of the device itself and giving it a premium look and feel. The way its been designed makes it look like a MacBook Pro and that’s definitely a plus for Apple fans. Your iPad 2/3/4 slots into the Brydge+ hinges that secure your iPad even if the case is turned upside down and also rotates to any angle up to 180 degrees, giving you the perfect viewing angle for any situation.
The feature that sets the Brydge+ apart from the other Brydge keyboards is a built-in stereo speaker which is a feature that I haven’t really seen on any other keyboard case. Brydge really thought this product through, trying to give you something as close to a laptop experience as physically possible. The speaker is surprisingly loud and is in front of the screen unlike the built-in iPad speaker, making watching Netflix or listening to music while writing a more enjoyable experience.
Setting up the Brydge+ is pretty straight forward once you remember the key combinations. To connect it to your iPad, turn the keyboard on and go to the Bluetooth settings on your iPad. To make the keyboard discoverable, you have to hold “Ctrl” & “K” – the keyboard will then pop up on your list of devices. The one little problem I have is that the built-in speaker has to be connected manually by holding “Ctrl” & “B” for about 2 seconds until you hear a 2-tone sound and then selecting it from the devices list.
The keyboard itself is a QWERTY keyboard with island styled keys – similar to the MacBook Pro. I know this is probably a weird statement but I’m going to say it anyway; the keys feel nice when you type. They feel solid under your fingertips, no need to press hard or hit keys again when they don’t register – a problem for silicon keyboards a lot of the time. They’ve also got an International Language toggle switch and iPad Function keys for ease of use including Volume Control, Media Control, Brightness Control and Home.
Some keys have been modified to make sure that all buttons fit on the keyboard so it does take a bit of getting used to, especially Shift and Enter. I’ve found myself moving the cursor when meaning to hit Shift on a few occasions while writing this – I don’t really see the point in having arrow keys when you can tap the screen to move the cursor but that’s just my opinion!
Battery life is quite good on the Brydge+ and could last months simply because it sends itself and the iPad to sleep when the case is closed. It is noted that the use of the speaker will drain the battery life quicker and that’s why it isn’t paired automatically when the keyboard is in use – makes sense I suppose! It comes with a Micro USB cable to charge from any USB port and a full charge only takes a couple of hours.
I think the Brydge+ is a great product for anyone that works on their iPad on the go. It’s a premium product and it has that feel about it – you know the parts are good quality and a lot went into its design. The added bonus of a stereo speaker built-in makes it a lot more appealing than other keyboard cases in its (albeit more expensive) price range. The Brydge+ is available for $149.99 on the Brydge website. Bit expensive for you? You can get a speakerless one for $139.99 or you could get a polycarbonate version for only $99.99.
UPDATE: Brydge have lowered their prices even more for Fathers Day – get the Brydge+ for $99, speakerless Brydge+ for $89 and the Polycarbonate Brydge+ is only $79 from their website!
This case is a game changer when it comes to keyboard cases - I've never before seen one with a built in stereo speaker. Granted that it may be a bit on the expensive side for some people but you get a quality product for what you pay for. I love it and hope they bring one out for the iPad Air soon!
Value for Money8.5