Many productivity-oriented iPad users contend that they simply could not get along without using a Bluetooth external keyboard. There is a wide range of keyboards that will work with the iPad, but
the Brydge+ with Speakers is arguably the most closely integrated alternative available. Made out of aerospace grade anodized aluminum, the Brydge+ with Speakers provides a laptop-style QWERTY
keyboard and adds a built-in Bluetooth speaker.
The Brydge keyboard comes with a mini USB cable for charging, and the test unit also has a zipper-closure neoprene tote bag to protect the unit when carrying it mobile.
The keyboard has to be charged before using. Just plug the mini USB cable into a USB port on a computer or a charge device. The LED in the on off switch (located on the nearside inch of the
computer housing’s right side) will glow red until the device is fully charged, then go out. The switch glows blue momentarily when you switch it on, and when the battery needs recharging.
The Brydge keyboard’s design faithfully follows Apple practice, with an anodized aluminum enclosure and black “Chiclet” key caps. When the iPad is slotted in, it resembles what an Apple Netbook
might have looked like—very much the mini MacBook. The aluminum finish is not quite up to Apple’s standards, but it comes reasonably close enough that there is no clash between the Brydge enclosure
and the back of the iPad.
The most distinctive feature of the Brydge keyboard is the clamshell hinges—traditionally a potential trouble-spot with laptops. However, these examples appear to be well engineered (patent
pending) and beefy enough to hold up under long-term use, although that will need to be proven in practice. The hinges are stiff…