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Brydge has been making keyboards for Apple's iPads for years now, and the newest model, the Brydge 12.9 MAX+, is compatible with the third, fourth, and fifth-generation iPad Pro models, so it works even with the new mini-LED iPad Pro.



In our latest YouTube video, we checked out the new Brydge 12.9 MAX+ to see if it's a viable alternative to Apple's own Magic Keyboard. Note that we have a preproduction unit and haven't had a lot of time with it, so is more of an overview than an in-depth review.

Shipping out in June, the Brydge 12.9 MAX+ is priced at $250, which is quite expensive, but it is a full $100 cheaper than Apple's Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Like the Magic Keyboard, it offers a full keyboard and a trackpad that's compatible with the iPad Pro models, turning an iPad touch experience into a more laptop-like experience.

The Brydge 12.9 MAX+ is a keyboard case that connects to the back of the iPad Pro magnetically similar to the Magic Keyboard, but it does not have the same elevated angling, instead using a flatter, more typical laptop design.

The keys, which are arguably one of the most important aspects of any keyboard, feel great under the fingers and have a good amount of travel. There's a row of shortcut keys above the number row for controlling screen brightness, accessing media controls and emoji, and more.

The trackpad is huge, much larger than the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard and comparable to the trackpad on the MacBook Pro. The trackpad works well, and there are no dead zones. You can tap anywhere on the trackpad (and click in most areas minus the edges), and it's a major improvement over the trackpad on Brydge keyboards that we tested last year. You're not going to feel a lot of difference with this trackpad and the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard.

Since this is a Bluetooth keyboard, it does not connect to the Smart Connector like the Magic Keyboard, which is not as convenient because it does need to be charged at times. There are some other minor downsides. The keyboard is a bit wobbly when you touch the iPad's screen while using it, and the hinge is tight and it takes some force to adjust the position of the iPad, but overall, it's a solid keyboard and looks like it will be a good alternative to the Magic Keyboard.

Make sure to take a look at our full video to get a look at the keyboard in action.

Article Link: Hands-On With Brydge's 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Keyboard With Trackpad
 

mrat93

macrumors 68000
Dec 30, 2006
1,742
850
What I want to know is, is the trackpad less wonky on the MAX+ keyboard compared to the Pro+?

I have the Magic Keyboard and the Pro+, and while the new firmware does help, the trackpad is still noticeably less smooth on the Brydge vs Apple. I wonder if this is inhibited by Brydge’s hardware or Apple’s software.

Regardless, I think I still prefer the Brydge.
 

symplcat

macrumors newbie
May 26, 2020
5
19
The only way this would be worth it to me over the magic keyboard is if you could put the iPad in backwards for a viewing/movie mode.
 

rumz

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2006
951
443
Utah
What I want to know is, is the trackpad less wonky on the MAX+ keyboard compared to the Pro+?

I have the Magic Keyboard and the Pro+, and while the new firmware does help, the trackpad is still noticeably less smooth on the Brydge vs Apple. I wonder if this is inhibited by Brydge’s hardware or Apple’s software.

Regardless, I think I still prefer the Brydge.
And that’s with the firmware that came out last week for your Pro+?

I haven’t spent time with Apple’s Magic Keyboard— I’ve been spoiled by the range of tilt that I get on the Brydge keyboard (plus the function keys at the top are really handy). I guess I don’t know what I’m missing with the Magic Keyboard.
 

GuruZac

macrumors 68020
Sep 9, 2015
2,269
5,379
Great looking product and should have come out last year when the Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard, unfortunately for everyone else, is damn close to perfect. It’s so well thought out for what it does.
 
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vorkosigan1

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2017
34
8
Does anyone know if it's possible to use these keyboards (or the Magic Keyboard) with a Mac (say, a Mini or an iMac)?

Thanks!
 

FranzMarc

macrumors member
May 11, 2010
84
84
Because an iPad + MacBook Air costs more than an iPad + keyboard.
That really depends on what you choose though. I think an iPP + Magic keyboard is awesome. But it puts people in a difficult spot if I can get a MBA for 1000€s + 800€ for an iPad Air or 11‘‘ iPad Pro, which is roughy what you pay for a 12.9 inch + Magic keyboard.

So overall a difficult choice I imagine, because there are lots of pros for a 12.9 iPad with iOS, but a MBA with MacOs + an iPad also seems like an attractive combination.

Apple is just really good at designing products and their features so that you ideally want to have all of em :)
 

mrat93

macrumors 68000
Dec 30, 2006
1,742
850
And that’s with the firmware that came out last week for your Pro+?

I haven’t spent time with Apple’s Magic Keyboard— I’ve been spoiled by the range of tilt that I get on the Brydge keyboard (plus the function keys at the top are really handy). I guess I don’t know what I’m missing with the Magic Keyboard.
Yes. Scrolling is way smoother on the Magic Keyboard. Palm rejection seems to be nether as well. I had been testing the beta firmware too.

Do you have an issue where your cursor disappears till you restart your iPad?
 

Macalway

macrumors 68040
Aug 7, 2013
3,204
1,651
At 2.1lb it's probably about half pound heavier than the AMK. So total weight is about 3 1/2 lbs, which is not that bad.

The one they made for the 11" was not very good. I'm pretty sure this one is though. Just a guess. Nice they keep trying. We shall see.

And the 'Why not just buy a laptop' is perhaps a good question. To answer that: Because we want an iPad. :)
 

Stenik

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2020
47
53
Because there are a lot of users that prefer iPadOS over macOS.
Well, that's even more unfathomable to me. macOS is a real full-fledged operating system. iPadOS is just a phone operating system. You can barely do anything substantive on it besides drawing. But to each his own I guess.
 

deebinem

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2017
307
642
Thanks for the quick overview, I had seen this listed on their site and was curious!

While I liked the one I had for my 10.5 Pro, the keyboard was a bit cramped at that size, the hinge rubber was thin and ripped pretty easily, and the pressure points made my screen do that dreaded rainbow coloring when you push on the screen too hard. This implementation looks to keep all that force on the magnetic back instead so great update IMO.

Disappointing they didn't go with Smart Connector and move the power port to the base Magic Keyboard style but maybe in a newer update? The weight keeps me hesitant since I can just pack my desktop version of the Magic Keyboard in my bag instead.
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,155
4,030
SF Bay Area
Unless that took a lot of weight out of it I would pass. The same criticism of the Magic Keyboard. You kill the lightness and easy carry-ability of the iPad when you put either of these on your iPad Pro. I tried both plus the Logitech keyboard and sent them all back. If Apple were to add backlighting to the Smart folio cover/keyboard it would be perfect for me.
 
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TheDailyApple

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2019
469
2,075
Why would anyone buy an iPad + keyboard when you can get a MacBook Air???
Because an iPad + MacBook Air costs more than an iPad + keyboard.
This precisely. When having the iPad interface is primary, and the notebook form factor is secondary, having a keyboard for your iPad keeps you from having to buy both.

I’ll be the first to say that an iPad can’t replace a Mac, (recently I had to convince someone I know to get a MacBook Air instead of an iPad Pro, and now they’re really glad I did) but iPads can do things Macs can’t. Get the right tool for the right job.
 
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