You might have heard of Brydge before. Once a successful Kickstarter campaign, Brydge Keyboards now designs and manufactures sophisticated Bluetooth keyboards for iPad.
The company’s latest effort, BrydgeAir, is designed specifically for Apple’s latest tablet iterations in the iPad Air and iPad Air 2. It features Brydge’s unique hinge mechanism and a ton of Apple-esque stylings so, naturally, we were eager to give it a try.
BrydgeAir really is something to behold. If you’re a fan of Apple’s unibody MacBook designs, you’ll find the BrydgeAir equally attractive.
At first glance, BrydgeAir looks a lot like a MacBook sans screen. It’s constructed of brushed aluminum like Apple ’s laptops, features black keys laid out as they are on a Mac keyboard and feels every bit as luxurious. The MacBook inspiration doesn’t stop there — on the underside of the device you’ll see four round rubber feet as well as Brydge’s logo lovingly etched onto the surface. Usually, when brands use Apple design tropes it feels a little cheap (usually because they cut corners or don’t pay attention to detail like Apple does) but it works to Brydge’s advantage here. If you own a Mac, the BrydgeAir will instantly feel familiar and, in a product like a keyboard, I think that’s a huge advantage for the user.
Like Apple products, you’ll also have to pay a premium for this kind of quality. BrydgeAir runs at $169 for the silver and space gray versions and $189 if you want to colour match with your gold iPad Air 2.
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Rating: 4.5 / 5
Company: Brydge Global
List Price: US$169.00 ($189.00 for gold)
Three models color matched to iPad Air colors, works with iPad Air or Air 2, recessed keys, magnetic sleep/wake, pairing buttons matched to iPad AIr design, matches shape and design of iPad Air, backlit keyboard, stereo speakers, leather, zippered case included.
Keyboard indicator lights could be more explicit, moved to the surface. Speakers not as good as iPad's.
The BrydgeAir keyboard is unlike any iPad accessory I’ve used before. With integrated speakers underneath a backlit keyboard with a 180-degree hinge, it makes your iPad feel like a laptop, and that’s the entire point.
In a market of nearly identical iPad keyboards that offer the same core features, Brydge is trying to set itself apart. After spending the last week with its solution for the iPad Air 2, I’d say it does just that.
"Now, if money is no object in your quest to turn your iPad into a laptop, the $170 BrydgeAir is the best option I came across (and what I plan to purchase myself). It is what I imagine Apple’s own keyboard case would look like—and cost."