Review: Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
Brydge's Brydge 12.9 ($189) is, as you might expect, a keyboard for the 12.9" iPad Pro. Made out of aluminum, the Bluetooth keyboard has hinges which attach to the iPad, giving it a laptop look when in use. Keys are backlit, with three levels of lighting. The top row of keys is devoted to iOS functions, such as screen brightness, playback, and volume. Brydge claims the Brydge 12.9 lasts for three months before its battery needs recharged via micro-USB (a cable is included). Brydge 12.9 comes in space gray, gold, and silver.
Brydge 12.9 has almost the exact same footprint at the 12.9” iPad Pro — attach its hinges to the iPad, and “close” it up, and the 12” x 8.75” x 0.25” keyboard looks nearly seamless, like it was meant to be there. The keyboard and iPad weigh almost the same as well, making for a 3.2 pound entity when together. Brydge’s keyboard is not meant to be a case, though, as it doesn’t offer any protection for the sides or back of the iPad Pro. The hinges, as with other Brydge keyboards, work quite well and allow for full 180-degree motion. It’s also perfectly reasonable to use the keyboard as a laptop, as the hinges are strong enough to keep the iPad Pro steady. Brydge 12.9’s elegant aluminum design works perfectly with the larger Pro.
The keyboard itself is a curious case. A Bluetooth connection was made easily and had no issues, and the function keys work as advertised. We love Brydge 12.9’s construction, and the size is right for longterm typing. But the keys themselves were a definite issue for us. While the keys have a pleasant enough bounce, the finish on top of the keys isn’t smooth. It’s a matte finish that feels sort of scratchy. To us, it was unpleasant to use, and the sensation of scraping a fingernail on a key, even briefly, made us cringe. We realize that some users might be completely fine with the feel of these keys. But we were never comfortable typing on this keyboard.
For us, Brydge’s 12.9 excels in many areas, with the notable exceptions of key feel and price. It’s an elegant, strong keyboard that makes the 12.9” iPad Pro feel like a laptop in your hands, and in your lap. It doesn’t take advantage of the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, though, and that may disappoint some users — especially if you’re paying $189, which is more than any of its competitors. That, and the scratchy feel of the keys, limits our recommendation.