Review: The Brydge Pro Keyboard for iPad Offers a MacBook-Like Experience

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Brydge, known for its line of keyboards for the iPad, recently debuted its newest keyboard, an updated model designed for Apple's 2018 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. The new Brydge Pro has been highly anticipated by iPad owners who have used Brydge keyboards in the past and prefer the bulk-free Brydge keyboard style.

I've teamed up with MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera to review the Brydge Pro, so make sure to check out his hands-on video below to get a visual overview of the keyboard and read on for my own review.


Design

If you're familiar with Brydge keyboards, the Bluetooth-enabled Brydge Pro features the same general design as past Brydge options. It is the least bulky of the third-party keyboards for the new iPad Pro models that I've used, and it's my favorite third-party keyboard design by far.


There are two rubber-lined hinged clips on the keyboard that your iPad Pro fits into, which hold it securely in place and mimic a MacBook setup. The clips move forwards and backwards so you can fold it up just like you would a laptop (and when you close it, there are little rubber nubs to prevent the keys from touching the display). Because of the rubber lining, the iPad Pro is secure and stable in the Brydge Pro, but I have noticed that the weight of the iPad Pro can cause to it flip backwards a bit when I pick it up using the keyboard portion.


The hinges are tighter than a MacBook hinge, but it's still easy to open and close the keyboard and the iPad, and when you close it up, the iPad's screen turns off. With the clips, there's an adjustable 180 degree viewing angle, which is nice because it lets you position the iPad at whatever angle works best for you regardless of whether you're typing on a flat surface like a desk or in your lap. On a desk, there are rubber feet at the bottom to keep it in place, which is a nice addition.


You can only rotate the clips a limited amount, so if you want to use your iPad in portrait mode, you're going to need to take it out of the keyboard, which is a bit of a hassle. There's no option to just fold it back, though I guess you could use it book style. You can pull the iPad out and stick it back in backwards to use the keyboard in tablet mode (folded back) or movie mode (no keyboard visible but iPad propped up) but it's a hassle to have to take it out and put it in the clips.

Brydge Pro tablet view​

This isn't a traditional folio style case, but there is a magnetic back cover that's similar to a Smart Cover in both thickness and design. It's meant to protect the back of the iPad when the keyboard is attached, and there are cutouts for the portion of the Brydge Pro that holds the iPad in place. Since this cover isn't blocking the side of the iPad Pro, you can still attach and charge your Apple Pencil 2.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: Review: The Brydge Pro Keyboard for iPad Offers a MacBook-Like Experience
 
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pdaholic

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Thanks for the review!

The weight and typing experience make this a hard pass.

i remember a screen brightness button on an old Zagg (or was it Logitech?) keyboard I had for the iPad 3; it was really useful and miss it on recent keyboards.

Guess I'll be sticking with my Apple Folio keyboard, which isn't perfect but is lightweight and easy to type on. Wish they would figure out how to backlight it.
 
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adamjackson

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There was a lot of interest in this thing. I'm just an amateur and don't do tech reviews anymore. my single-shot video got 30K views in 3 days. I usually get 200 views per video on my motorcycle stuff. It's clear people really want to see if this thing is any good. I personally really like it! I can see now why Macrumors makes videos. Tech videos make a lot of money. $100 in revenue for 30K views. I just didn't think people would want to see me ramble on for 13 minutes:p

After using it for a full 2 weeks including 5 days off the motorcycle (which is why I got it so I can get work done when traveling since I live off my bike 60-70 days out of the year), I'm really impressed. the only issue would be it won't register side of the key presses. You have to hit dead center. Everything else is awesome.

Tbh, the keyboard on the brydge is probably superior to the macbook. :)
Totally not. It's worse than my iMac's keyboard, 2018 MacBook Pro and 2013 MBP keyboard. It's also inferior to apple's folio keyboard but it's everything else that makes the Bridge awesome.
 
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sracer

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"Macbook-like"? What Macbook lacks a trackpad?
hyperbole in review titles has been a "thing" for a long time. It's "comforting" to know that the tradition lives on. ;)

I've always thought that the Brydge hinge/clasp mechanism was a bit goofy... just like those universal tablet cases that have strips of elastic on all 4 corners to hold the tablet in place. Just goes to show that one person's "ugly" is another's "beauty". :)
 
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BigBoy2018

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Yeah but the ergonomics then sucks. To be fair though, trackpad capability is up to Apple, not Bridge.
It amazes me the lengths people will go in an effort to make their ipads ‘like a real computer’.

Its like they’re all reaching around the back of their heads with their right hand to scratch their left cheek. Just get a macbook for gods sakes
 

blasto2236

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"Adds minimal bulk"

How does nearly doubling the thickness of the iPad Pro "add minimal bulk"? It seems like the bulkiest of any of the current keyboard case options. At that point, I can't imagine why I wouldn't just use my MacBook Pro. You're compromising too much portability and versatility with a keyboard case like this, which is the whole benefit of the iPad as a platform.

For me, the Smart Keyboard Folio is the perfect combo. It works just fine when I'm on the go, and truly adds minimal bulk (although the overall package is still a tad heavier than I'd like, the SKF is easily removed on the fly when I'm not using it), and I've got my Magic Keyboard for everything else at home.
 

dmylrea

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One that offers a full capacitive multi touch screen...
Which has nothing to do whatsoever with the said keyboard in the review that gave a "Macbook-like experience".
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Yeah but the ergonomics then sucks. To be fair though, trackpad capability is up to Apple, not Bridge.
Agreed 100% but the article title infers that an iPad with this keyboard is just like working on a Macbook (which couldn't be further from the truth).

I really long for some type of pointer device for iPad, be it mouse, or trackpad.
 

tbayrgs

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I have the one for use with my 12.9 3rd gen and I really like it. All of the being said, I knew what I was getting when I preordered...it’s not lightweight and it’s bluetooth (vs. using the smart connector).

Maybe it’s different on the smaller 11” model but I find the typing experience to be just fine...very reminiscent of the previous generation of MBP. Yes, the keys are smaller than those found on the latest mac laptops but they also have a more comfortable amount of travel. Sounds like the MR reviewer is quite accustomed to and prefers the shallow travel found on current mac laptops so I can understand why he finds the Brydge less desirable. I personally am not a fan of the new butterfly keys and have no issue typing on the Brydge. I also love once again having the function row above the number keys. The ability to set the viewing angle at whatever depth I prefer is also a big advantage over the SKF. Finally, being able to flip the iPad around for watching video with the keyboard out of the way around back is a nice addition over the SKF.

It’s not perfect but it’s absolutely met all of my expectations. That being said, the big space at the bottom is just screaming for a trackpad. ;) Come on Apple, make it happen in iOS 13.
 

entropys

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It amazes me the lengths people will go in an effort to make their ipads ‘like a real computer’.

Its like they’re all reaching around the back of their heads with their right hand to scratch their left cheek. Just get a macbook for gods sakes
Sure. I don’t even use an external trackpad, just the on screen one, or the pencil. But for those that do want a more laptop like experience, a complete PC replacement, then it should be. Not so it is a PC, but that it does everything better.
 

dyt1983

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I would think that if this was really a review it would cover the connectivity that is used between the keyboard and the iPad. For instance, we know the Smart Folio uses the smart connector... and since the iPad Pro has three ways of connecting a keyboard (that I know of) a thorough review would cover which one(s) this uses.
 

sblemmy

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I used to use a Brydge keyboard back in the iPad Air 2/iPad Pro 9.7 days. I stopped for several reasons.

1) Weight. Although I really liked the design, Brydge keyboards have to be heavier than the iPad to keep it from tipping backwards in laptop mode. Eventually, I got tired of the carrying the extra weight.

2) Key stability. The keyboard is designed after Apple’s pre-butterfly model, but, as the review notes, the keys tend to be “squishy”. This leads to some missed characters if typing quickly and miss the sweet spot on the keys.

3) Tablet mode. It’s not super difficult, but removing the iPad from the keyboard was enough above “effortless” to be annoying to do multiple times a day.

4) iPad damage. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect the Brydge contributed to the failure of my home button on the iPad Pro (it sunk in). The clips hold the iPad securely, but every time you “open” the unit, those clips are putting tension on the screen in the same spots. That tension/flex can’t be good for the iPad screen or underlying components.
 
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magicschoolbus

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Those hinges are what’s keeping me away. That looks like a problem a few years down the road.
 

BigBoy2018

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Sure. I don’t even use an external trackpad, just the on screen one, or the pencil. But for those that do want a more laptop like experience, a complete PC replacement, then it should be. Not so it is a PC, but that it does everything better.
Agreed. Laptops with a real trackpad/mouse and file management system do everything better.
 
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blackcrayon

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Tbh, the keyboard on the brydge is probably superior to the macbook. :)
Sadly, no. I would love it if Apple's worst current laptop keyboard (reliability issues aside) were on the Brydge Pro. The Brydge Pro is awesome in every other way except for its keys. I thought they would have fixed this issue (I tried two of their 10" iPad keyboards a couple of years ago but returned them due to key sensitivity). It's true that if you hit dead center, they keys usually respond, but hitting them anywhere off center requires a lot of force to get a reliable keystroke.

It's a confusing result because it's not a cheap keyboard. I can definitely say a lot of the various Amazon $50 iPad keyboard case keyboards have a better feel and don't require changing the typing style or pressure much from every other keyboard I use. It was a big complaint (check reviews for their 10" pro keyboard on Amazon) on their previous keyboard so I would've thought there was no way this new one could have the same problem.

It amazes me the lengths people will go in an effort to make their ipads ‘like a real computer’.

Its like they’re all reaching around the back of their heads with their right hand to scratch their left cheek. Just get a macbook for gods sakes
It also amazes me the lengths that people, with apparent superiority complexes, go in stating how they "know best" what other people's computing preferences should be. I own a Macbook and I use a 13" Pro regularly for work. Neither of those things makes an optional keyboard for my iPad Pro any less useful or desirable. I happen to prefer iOS for portable "consumer" computing, and sometimes those activities are enhanced by having a keyboard, you know, to respond to people on tech forums telling me I couldn't possibly know which device is best for my tastes or purposes. :rolleyes:
 

pdaholic

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I've always thought that the Brydge hinge/clasp mechanism was a bit goofy...
Not to mention that a lot of the hinge-mechanism keyboard reviews on Amazon report cracked screens. Those claims have always scared me away from these types of keyboards. Then there's the fact that by design they have to be heavy so the iPad doesn't flip backwards.
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It amazes me the lengths people will go in an effort to make their ipads ‘like a real computer’.
If apple ever makes a pencil that works with the mac screen, I'll dump my iPad and never look back. The iPad operating system makes file management too much of a chore.
 
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