Published on June 29th, 2014 | by Greg

Brydge+: A Top-Notch iPad Keyboard With Speakers

One of the only major flaws of Apple’s iPads are it’s lack of a real keyboard- a missing feature that gave Microsoft room to enter the market and bill their alternative Surface tablet as more “work-friendly” thanks to an excellent physical keyboard. It’s something that any road warrior (or even regular traveler) keenly wishes existed for the iOS world. We’ve even tried out a few cases with keyboards and other models, though have rarely been impressed enough to want to use it for true productivity with Microsoft Word, for example.

Now, we finally have a keyboard that we can wholeheartedly recommend: the Brydge+ iPad Keyboard with Speakers. They also offer a model without sound, as well as a plastic version that costs less, trading in the aluminum and coming in at a lower price point. Anything that’s going to sit, stand, and lie next to Apple’s industrial design needs to both look and feel the part, and the nicely machined body of the Brydge holds up well. In fact, Macbook users will look twice- it looks kind of like a Macbook Pro keyboard. The layout is a bit more cramped, to be sure, but we loved the small feet that raises it naturally at an easy viewing and writing angle. And there are discrete keys for special functions, rather than needing an awkward set of shared buttons. It was easy to use, with good pressure and spacing.

Your iPad sits in a nook, with some securing clips and hinges to hold it in place- it’s a little bit awkward-looking at first, but doesn’t block the screen and works surprisingly well. They are stiff enough to hold steady even while you adjust to any viewing angle (most keyboards have a couple of fixed options). As with others, it connects via Bluetooth, which means you’ll need to remember to charge a separate set of batteries. Thankfully, they’ll last you quite a while- maybe even months of use depending on how much you use the speakers primarily. The Brydge+ weighs more than a few competitors, but is very close (about 19 ounces) to most folio-style keyboards in fact. And the speaker is better than the built-in ones, for sure, though bass response is still only so-so and we did notice distortion at mid- to high-volumes. However, in one respect it was a big jump- the iPad tends to be quiet during movie playback, and the Brydge+ adding plenty of volume output.

As a keyboard, the Brydge+ won solid praise from reviewers, and the speaker is just icing on the cake. If you don’t need the speaker, then there’s no contest- we wholeheartedly recommend the basic Brydge. For those that do, and don’t mind the extra weight, the Brydge+ is well worth the price, and had made the iPad a better tool for both entertainment and work on the go. Available now, online and in stores, for $160.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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