Using the BrydgeAir with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro

Brydge keyboards have been favorites of mine since buying the first one months ago. I own the BrydgeAir for the iPad Air 2 and the BrydgeMini for the iPad Mini 3. Based on the similar size of my iPad Pro 9.7, I decided to try the older BrydgeAir. I’m happy to report it works fine with the latest iPad. Mostly.

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The Brydge keyboards are things of beauty, made from a single block of aluminum. They come in the same colors as the iPad and look like a product made by Apple. The BrydgeAir consists of just the keyboard, with the iPad Pro as the “lid” of the clamshell.

imageThere are two hinges on the rear of the BrydgeAir unit where the iPad is inserted. When the combo is closed it looks much like a small laptop. When opened it looks like a tiny MacBook, right down to the black chiclet keys of the keyboard.

The BrydgeAir keys are backlit and there is a top row containing iPad control keys. Given the size of the iPad Air/ Pro, the keyboard is slightly narrower than a full-size keyboard. But It’s close enough that I’m able to type fast, even with my large hands.

See also: Review of the Apple Smart Keyboard

The BrydgeAir keyboard doesn’t use the new Smart Connector on the iPad Pro, it is Bluetooth. It also has integrated speakers much louder than those on the iPad Air, but given the louder speakers on the iPad Pro I don’t use the ones on the keyboard.

Since it’s Bluettoth, the Brydge keyboard has a battery that must be charged with the included microUSB cable. Brydge claims it will run two years on a charge, but in reality it is much shorter if the backlighting is used much.

imageThe BrydgeAir was made for the iPad Air and the different magnet placement on the new iPad will not turn the iPad Pro on and off when opened and closed. Brydge now makes a Brydge 9.7 designed for all later model iPads that should work. If the Smart Cover technology is important to you and you own a BrydgeAir you’ll have to replace it with the newer model to work fully.That will cost you an expensive $149, so you may want to give the upgrade some serious thought.

Turning the iPad into a near laptop is the reason I’ve always liked the option. It fits in a small bag when closed yet is fully functional for heavy use. It is well constructed and attractive, too.

While I like using the Apple Smart Keyboard given its thin profile and light weight, I can type faster with few types with the BrydgeAir.

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