Home > ipad, mobile tech, new technology, product innovation, start-ups, test drive > The Brydge for iPad – Review

The Brydge for iPad – Review

I have been meaning to write this for some time now that the Brydge is shipping and it’s been in my hands for the past couple months. Click here to see the video overview of the Brydge if you are not familiar with this iPad keyboard and cover.

The Back Story

A few years ago a friend, Eddy, and I were working together for a startup. The startup was on its last legs and during the summer of 2008 there was no light at the end of this tunnel as most venture capitalists were not willing to invest with the impending financial decline. As a result, we both had an extended vacation. At this point I decided on a career change to pursue Internet marketing with the consumer division of Symantec, started this blog and co-authored a web-comic with another friend.

Eddy went down a different path of self enlightenment and discovery. Eddy was always very creative and good at building things whether it was carpentry, electronics or other types of design. For exaample, while we were still at the start up, he worked evenings and weekends building a Segway. After our days at the start up ended, he spent most of his time at the techshop as a prototype builder-for-hire. When he wasn’t being paid to build something, he was building things out of his own curiosity. Things like colorful 3D printers back in the pre-hype days of 3D printers.

Fast forward to 2012 and Eddy emails me a Kickstarter link to a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad. This was his latest project and it had raised $800K. The promotional tagline for the Brydge was that it made your iPad look like a Macbook Air. This was definitely an interesting concept and the protoype looked very impressive in the videos. There have been other iPad keyboards on the market so what made this one so different? Having known Eddy for so long, I had the impression that it was not only going to be well designed, but functional and might actually make my iPad look like a MacBook Air.

The Review

The Brydge is pretty much what it promised it was going to be in the original Kickstarter campaign. There are now three versions, the Brydge with a brushed aluminum keyboard with or without speakers and a third version with a polycarbonate keyboard. The brushed aluminum version definitely feels more like a Mac keyboard with the same texture and a good weight. The Brydge supports iPad 2, 3rd and 4th generation models.

The element of the keyboard that most impressed me is the ease with which you connect the iPad by sliding into the clamp or hinge of the Brydge. The clamp is extremely well designed, very solid and feels sturdy. Setup is as simple as pairing a bluetooth device to your iPad.

Carrying around the Brydge connected iPad is like carrying a Macbook. The iPad easily folds down on the keyboard, looking like a clamshell and goes to sleep. There is a little extra weight added onto your iPad with the Brydge, but that makes the product feel that much more stable when placed on a table with no fear of the iPad tipping over when it is open. The clamp also alllows you to display the iPad in a range of angles depending on your preference, going from 90 degrees or greater if you want to get just the right angle to view a movie on your iPad. If you can image giving a presentation on your iPad or letting your kids use it for games or videos, this flexibility is a life-saver.

The keyboard itself works great and is very responsive, springing back upon touch as I type. You’ll have to get used to the width of the keyboard which matches the length of the iPad resulting in a more compact layout. Nonetheless, it takes no time to adjust and you’ll be blogging away in minutes. Also, the keyboard sleeps after a minute or so of non-use further maximizing battery life. Typing a key wakes the keyboard up within a second or two. One hidden gem of the keyboard is it runs up to 2 months between charges…seriously?

The Brydge is available online at www.thebrydge.com and goes from $150 for the polycarbonate version to $220 for the brushed aluminum with speakers. The aluminum version are on back order due to high demand. I have used the Brydge with and without speakers and find the speakers to be a nice to have, but not needed for everyday use.

If you happen to get the Brydge sometime in the near future, you’ll wonder how you were able to use your iPad without it especially when typing emails, blogs or note-taking. In the meantime, here is a closeup of the Brydge for your visual pleasure.

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  1. David Allen
    March 25, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I was a Kickstarter Brydge+ backer as well. And fortunately when the original aluminum Brydge+ was finally shipped about 3 months late, I was one of the folks who got theirs quite quickly. That is not the case for many backers all over the world. There are still folks in Canada and other countries outside the USA waiting for their Brydge+ which was originally promised for OCT 2012.
    I loved my aluminum Brydge+ paired with my iPad 2. Even though the current hinge design is not the design originally promised in the Kickstarter project, the two of them looked cool together and whenever I used it at the local Starbucks folks constantly asked where I got the little Apple laptop. But I was disappointed in the audio quality of the built-in speakers. Especially after the developers had made such a big deal about going the extra mile for high audio quality speakers in their few-and-far-between Kickstarter updates. Unfortunately my joy was short lived as my Brydge+iPad 2 combo was stolen the week before Christmas, less than 3 weeks after I received the Brydge+. The thief is doing 6 months to a year in jail, but the police didn’t recover the combo.
    In JAN I was going into the hospital for bypass surgery so I bought a Polycarbonate Byrdge+ iPad 4, so that I would be connected to the world during my week of recovery. I really like the polycarb version also. And I think that the speakers do better in the polycard version than they do in the aluminum version. So folks may certainly wish to think twice about spending the extra cash for the aluminum Brydge+ with speakers.
    All told, the product is good. The guys who are the developers are horrible businessmen who really need to learn much about customer relations. The developers promised everyone who was a Kickstarter backer a free neoprene sleeve for their loyalty in backing the project. It has taken months for the sleeves to arrive in the warehouse. The sleeves are supposed to be perfect for carrying a Brydge+iPad combo. The sleeves weigh a few ounces. They charged those of us in the US $11 for shipping by USPS and $35 to overseas folks. You can ship up to 70 pounds in the US through the USPS for less than $6. I ordered mine 11 MAR. My PayPal account was immediately charged the $11 but I still haven’t received notice of shipment, a tracking number or anything.

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