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Summary:

Can a wireless keyboard with hinges turn your iPad into a laptop running iOS? That’s the premise behind Brydge, a Kickstarter project that I backed months ago. I opted to add Bluetooth speakers to my Brydge; take a look at how this setup works.

Bryde keyboard

Months ago I backed the Brydge project on Kickstarter: The device is a wireless keyboard and cover for Apple’s iPad. I paid extra for the Brydge+, which includes integrated stereo Bluetooth speakers. The good news is that my keyboard arrived. The bad news is that I no longer have an iPad! Upon buying an iPad mini — a product that wasn’t even announced when I backed the Brydge project — I promptly sold my iPad 3. Is my investment a total loss? Not quite. Here’s a look at the Brydge+, which of course would work better with a full-sized iPad.

The keyboard seems well made and pairs easily with my iPad mini. I especially like the top row of iPad-specific keys for the Home  button, screen brightness, volume control and search. Key travel is quite good and I’m able to type easily on the Brydge+, even though the keys are bit more cramped than Apple’s own Bluetooth keyboard.

An aluminum Brydge without speakers costs $170 right now, while the speakers add $40. You could also go with a polycarbonite Brydge without speakers for $150. Battery life is expected to last for months, although I obviously haven’t tested that claim. I suspect that heavy use of the wireless speakers will drastically cut that time down to days.

  1. With all due respect Kevin, wouldn’t a netbook better suit the purpose? It seems to me that the reason behind the army of accessories being offered for slates today is to compensate for a lack of capability. If you need a keyboard, speakers, USB connectivity, storage expansion etc. for your slate, I would argue your usage needs go beyond what a slate was designed for. Keep in mind as well, when the emphasis is mobility, you want to carry around less devices, not more.

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    1. Doesn’t that depend on the purpose and requirements? Sorry, but a netbook is not the answer for everything and everyone. If it were, hardware makers would be continuing to innovate there instead of with Ultrabooks and tablets.

      I’m not suggesting an iPad is the answer for everything either, but that’s the key difference between us: I’m not trying to push one solution because I cover all different aspects of mobile tech. I know you prefer a netbook over today’s tablets, MacBook Airs and Chromebooks. I respect that and have no problem with it. But there’s little to be gained when suggesting a netbook is the best thing for every mobile computing purpose.

      Frankly, some people would simply prefer to use a tablet over a laptop or netbook. Just as I prefer to use a Chromebook over either for my day to day work. I know that sounds silly when a netbook can run full Windows apps but…. I don’t need to run full Windows apps. ;) My ultimate point here is: I cover all aspects of mobile tech that I use and find interesting. Some people may find appeal while others won’t. Not a problem to me! People should use what they want and be happy! :)

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  2. I like the premise of these new, add on components and could see their potential among business professionals and students alike. A student myself, I see an increasing number of college students using tablets for studying, note taking, and completing assignments, as well as entertainment. Having the option to expand from a tablet to a netbook or pc when the need arises seems like a great compromise between flexibility and portability.

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  3. you couldn’t borrow anyone’s full sized iPad just for the review?

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  4. Christopher Pipes Friday, December 7, 2012

    I bought a Zagg folio for my ipad2 several weeks back and just love it. It’s lightweight, simple and works great. Anyone looking for something like this to my the ipad work more like a laptop should check them out. Christopher Pipes

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  5. I’ve always carried a bluetooth keyboard in my bag just in case I need ot do some long typing on my ipad, and I am glad it is a cheap one, becasue I hardly ever used it 8)
    It gets the most use when I use Citrux to get bac to my office, as the keyboard is much better for Office and Outlook, as you get to see more of the screen, not because the onscreen keyboard is bad.
    The speaker addition here is od thug, replacing one pair of little crappy speakers with another, unless they are much better than the iPad ones. I just find headphones OK, though. Using Bluetooth does pull the batter life don a little though, another pain, but I havnt had to charge the AAs in my keyboard yet.

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  6. Kevin: mini issues aside, have you not heard of the Ultrathin by Logitech? It is thinner and simpler and lighter (tho no Bluetooth speaker). Plus it holds a mini better. I hereby nominate this as your most painful video of the year. I believe it has a good chance of winning.

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    1. Sure I did; we covered the news when Logitech announced it IIRC. Bear in mind, I didn’t buy the Bridge+ for my mini; I bought it for the iPad…. unfortunately I don’t have the iPad any longer so I had to make do.

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  7. I did the exact saame thing. Backed the Brydge while I had an Ipad 3, sold it when the mini came out, then got my Brydge. Try docking the mini with the Smart Cover on, non hinged side into the brackets. It’s more secure that way.

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    1. Great idea, Chris. I’ll give it a try; thx!

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  8. Alexandr Varlamov Sunday, December 9, 2012

    “Все для студента”, где вы сможете без всякого труда учиться не прикладывая усилий. Скачать огромные архивы курсовых работ, рефератов… Вы сможете скачивать материал для обучения. Например лекции, курсовые,практические, на темы таких предметных областей как: программирование, компьютерная графика, САПР, Web-технологии ,базы данных ,курсовые.
    Этот сайт создан для тебя. Мы хотим, чтобы обучение была настолько простым, насколько эта только возможна. Мы поможем тебе в продвижении по пути к успеху в дальнейшей карьере.
    Также у тебя есть очень хорошая возможность заказать услугу по выполнению курсовой, дипломной работы, реферата, отчета о практике, выполнения лабораторной работы, любой сложности и тематики….

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  9. Would you say the speaker quality on Brydge’s keyboard is significantly better than the iPad 2′s speakers?

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    1. tim, I’d say marginally, not significantly.

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  10. I too was a sponsor of the Brydge Plus and just received it. Given the delays and ill will towards the sponsors, I really wondered if they were really going to pull it off.

    In the meanwhile I purchased the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard and returned it after a couple of days as the silicone strip almost damaged the glass and was a struggle to keep it from pulling off the protective screen skin off my iPad 2.

    Then I purchased the Zagg ProPlus which is similar in attachment to the Logitech, but instead of the silicon strip, relies more on friction to hold the iPad in place and has backlit keys.

    I like you Kevin have purchased a mini and have used the Zagg keyboard and works fine, but is not portability “compatible” due to the differences in size. I purchased an aftermarket unit designed specifically for the mini, but it felt more like a netbook experience (limited in that I have only used someone else’s once while traveling) and the fit did not seem to be as precise as the Zagg + iPad 2, so that got returned.

    At this point, I will continue to use the Zagg until they perhaps come out with a smaller version of their Pro Plus and otherwise store and carry the mini in a pouch specifically designed for it.

    Haven’t decided what to do with my bridge, perhaps sell or gift it to someone. Haven’t even opened up the package.

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    1. Debbie if your looking to sell let me know. I’m planning to buy one school next semester. Markceralde@hotmail.com

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