The Brydge Pro keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro is the best iPad Pro keyboard that you can buy. I’ve been testing this keyboard for several months alongside the competition from Logitech, Zagg and Apple. After extensive testing, the Brydge keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro is the best that you can buy. Here’s why, and what I learned from using it.
This new Brydge Pro keyboard is better to type on than my MacBook Pro keyboard, and it’s held up to the busy typing days I’ve subjected it to over the last few months with no wear or tear. The Brydge is backlit, easy to use on a lap or a table and the key travel is vastly better than the official Apple iPad Pro keyboard that is more expensive.
The Brydge Pro keyboard earns a Gotta Be Mobile Editor’s Choice Award for the performance, features, value and overall boost to mobile productivity that it delivers.
Brydge Pro Performance
Typing on the Brydge Pro is a delight thanks to full size keys with a soft touch finish on each key cap. There is a lot of travel, making it easy to type for long periods without the fatigue that comes from typing on a glass screen of the iPad or on the Smart Keyboard Folio that Apple sells.
In addition to the full set of keys and a number row, there is also a row of function keys that you can use to control media playback, brightness, lock the iPad and pull up the on screen keyboard if you need it. Key placement is excellent with plenty of room between keys. I love the arrow key placement, which is vastly better than what Apple’s switched to for the MacBook Pro keyboards.
I use the iPad Pro in the car and while mobile on a variety of desks, tables and surfaces, so I need a keyboard that I can reliably use in the dark and on random surfaces. With the backlit keys it is easy to remain productive on the iPad Pro while riding in the car. The design of the keyboard is vastly better for using on a lap than Apple’s official option. It sits on or even slightly between legs for better mobile productivity. The hinge makes it easy to get the right viewing angle on any surface. There are three brightness options for the backlit keys, so you can pick the best option for your situation.
While typing you can still access the suggestions from the iOS, soon to be iPadOS, keyboard on the screen and it is easy to reach out and touch one of those if you do want it. The keyboard button that pulls up the on screen keyboard makes it easy to quickly add an emoji.
The Brydge Pro is the reason I can leave my MacBook Pro at home on some trips and still be productive.
Brydge Pro Design
The Brydge Pro keyboard is made of aluminum and it is very solid, but not too heavy to impact portability. Once you figure out how to align the iPad Pro and the keyboard it is easy to install and remove from the Brydge Pro.
The hinge is part of the secret sauce that makes this keyboard so special. You can use it in a standard keyboard mode with an angle that is perfect for working on a lap, on an airline tray table or on a desk. It’s the only easy way I can work on a flight, and it’s proven itself multiple times over.
When I want to take a break from writing or working, I simply pull the iPad out, swivel it around and put it back in to use the keyboard as a stand for playing games or watching movies. The angle is handy for use in bed, at a coffee shop or on a plane. You can also fold it closed in this position for a tablet mode. This is handy while on the go, but if I want to use just the iPad Pro at home I simply remove it from the Brydge Pro.
On the bottom of the keyboard are four rubber feet, like you’ll find on most laptops. These keep the Brydge Pro in place on a table while you are typing. Two rubber nubs prevent the iPad Pro screen from touching the keys or the keyboard when you close it.
The edge of the keyboard near the iPad Pro screen is curved so that you can quickly reach up and tap on a word suggestion or swipe to go home or switch apps. You don’t lose any functionality when you install the Brydge Pro, you only gain productivity.
When you close the combo, the iPad Pro goes to sleep and so does the keyboard. Open it up and both the keyboard and iPad Pro wake up. Hit enter to unlock the iPad Pro and you’re ready to go. It’s as seamless as opening your MacBook Pro while you’re wearing an Apple Watch.
Every Brydge Pro includes a leather cover that protects the back of your iPad Pro while you are using the case. This attaches with magnets and stays put nicely, but is also easy enough to remove. I use a skin on my iPad Pro and it still easily fits into the hinges, so I don’t use the leather cover very often.
Brydge Pro Battery & Connectivity
The Brydge Pro battery life is rated at 12 months, and after 3 months of regular use it’s still going with no need for a charge. It’s currently at 83%, which is impressive given the amount of time I’ve used it. The keyboard charges with USB C, so if you do run low, just plug it in with the iPad Pro charger and you are good to go.
You can connect the Brydge Pro to your iPad with Bluetooth or with a hardwired USB C connection if you prefer. This wired connection works, but it’s not something I routinely use.
Apple Pencil 2
While you can use the iPad Pro without the Apple Pencil, it's an essential accessory. This is a must-have tool for taking notes, drawing and it's a great way to edit photos, draw and perform fine-tuned touch needs on the iPad Pro.
You can't use the Apple Pencil from the older iPad Pro, and you cannot use this one with the older iPad Pro, so it's an even more essential tool if you use the Apple Pencil already.
This is way better than a standard stylus that you may have used a long time ago. It pairs to the iPad Pro and feels more like writing or drawing on paper than old styluses did.
The new Apple Pencil 2 allows you to wireless charge it on the edge of the iPad Pro and it stays there when you aren't using it.
Buy the Apple Pencil 2 for $119.
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