I really wanted to love the Brydge from the moment I saw it on Kickstarter earlier this year. It’s another of those wireless keyboards you can use with you iPad via Bluetooth. I backed the project and took possession of my Brydge with speakers yesterday. There are lot good things. It looks terrific and feels even better. One of my biggest worries was how the hinges would work and how my iPad would fit and hold. No problems there. It fits snuggly and I didn’t feel as if it would come out while using under any conditions for my personal use. The hinges allow you to tilt your iPad in almost any angle which is excellent. When you close the keyboard over the screen it puts the iPad to sleep. Your screen is fully protected and by an aluminum body that fits perfectly.
Pairing the Brydge with my iPad was a two step process. One for the keyboard and a second for the speakers. It’s done in this manner so when you remove the iPad it unpairs the speakers but keeps the keyboard ready to repair to conserve battery life. I think this is a very smart feature.
However, there are some significant drawbacks. You can’t use your iPad in the portrait position. The hinges only grasp it in landscape. Not that big of a deal and something I was expecting, but flexibility is always good. The one thing that kills it for me is the right hand shift key is half the size of the left shift key. Every time I tried to go caps with the little finger on my right hand I hit the up arrow. Really frustrating. For me that means it’s not usable. I bought this keyboard to be a keyboard and I can’t use it as a keyboard.
The speakers are better than what you have on the iPad, but they are not very good. Very little range no richness and you can’t gain the volume I would expect from two speakers facing up. Bummer number two.
I realize that there are risks when you back something on Kickstarter, and I’m okay with assuming those risks. But my enthusiasm for continuing to participate on this platform is waning. Gadgets, especially add on gadgets to technology devices simply don’t have the long legs one would prefer. I followed the Brydge team all along the way as they walked away from the backlit keys and worked through all the challenges. They even provide well crafted plastic shims to fit generation 2 and 3. Good forward thinking and a way to help future proof their product.
The day I received my Brydge, after waiting several months they are now selling an upgraded model with thinner hinges and generation 4 ready. They also now offer a black polycarbonate version. Yet another lesson for me.
I’m sorry Brydge, but I wanted a keyboard. This makes three keyboards I’ve purchased for use with my iPad and the third strike.