Have you ever spent money trying to turn your iPad into a productivity tool only to find that money was wasted? I have too. My search led me to the Brydge+ by Brydge Keyboards. I’ve been happily using it since 2012. With the keyboard, I am nearly always as productive using my iPad as my laptop (and it’s much easier to travel with).
Who can use it?
The Brydge+ is for iPad 2, 3 & 4.
If you are the proud owner of an iPad Air, they have the BrydgeAir scheduled to ship October 2014.
What makes it so wonderful?
The hinge. Really, this is huge. It attaches so that you can adjust the angle between the keyboard and the iPad from 0 to almost 180 degrees. This allows you to get the angle just right whether you are typing on your lap or watching a movie while propped up in bed. Also, the balance between the weight of the iPad and the weight of the keyboard is perfect.
The keyboard. Well duh! First off, the keys are real keys and have enough travel to make it easy to type. Second, the layout does not seem too crowded. And third, the top row features a number of keys dedicated to iPad functions (brightness, search, etc.).
The fit and finish. It looks and feels like a quality product. On more than one occasion, I have it mistaken for a MacBook Air.
The weight. The iPad and the keyboard weight about 3 pounds combined. I used to travel with a full sized laptop in a full sized backpack. When I switched to traveling with the iPad my total savings in weight was 10 pounds! If you are interested, the backpack I put my iPad in is the Eagle Creek Travel Bug.
The battery. Maybe my use is not typical but I can go weeks without charging the keyboard.
One note: I do not recommend charging the battery every night. I did this for months and ended up wearing out the USB port for the battery. Thankfully, they replaced the keyboard for me at no charge. Now I only charge it occasionally and have not had even a hint of trouble with the port.
What’s not to totally love?
The black one. An attorney I met in Miami was impressed with the keyboard and ended up buying one but he bought the Brydge+ Polycarbonate. He said that he didn’t like it nearly as much as my silver one (Brydge+).
The layout. Every keyboard other than a full sized keyboard makes compromises and this one is no exception. The right shift key is small and that took some getting used to.
The speakers. If I had to do over again, I wouldn’t spend the extra money for the model with the speakers. They aren’t that great. Instead, I really like a simple device developed by a Rabbi: SoundBender. Supposedly, the speakers on the BrydgeAir are greatly improved.
What else would I recommend?
Office365. Sure, the iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are not as good as their desktop counterparts but they definitely “good enough.” And now that Microsoft is offering 1 terabyte of storage bundled with the service, this is a great value.
If you are looking to add a keyboard to your iPad, Brydge+ is the one to get.
Question: What is your favorite iPad productivity app or accessory? Leave your thoughts in the Comments.