This is another example from the roots of a Kickstarter Project that has flourished into something tangibly accessible to all. The company Brydge create a range of keyboard cases for iPad models that attempt to bridge the gap between a factual MacBook experience and an iPad touchscreen. This one is crafted for the iPad mini 1/2/3 - playfully referred to as the BrydgeMini for £99.99 within the UK and $99.99 within the USA.
With the inclusion of a magnetic flap, the box is the start of the Apple-like appearance this product exhibits richly. Straight out the box the BrydgeMini keyboard has that Mac feel. It says ‘I am the brydge between an iPad and a miniature laptop’; which it unarguably appears to be. It looks good, moulded from solid aluminium (weight 300g). It’s functional with a capital ‘F’. It comes in space grey, silver and gold to match the current iPad colour range. Yes, it makes your slim mini iPad suddenly twice as thick and heavier - but it does solidly stay put whether it’s on your knees, cafe table, or pull-out table on a coach or plane.
The hinges clip onto the iPad and they enable up to 180 degree of movement, which comes in useful when standing or sitting and perhaps sketching, etc. In terms of the iPad’s sleek, neat lines, these hinges are a little lumpy looking when closed. However, they work! They have functionality and that is what the BrydgeMini keyboard is all about - improving the functionality of your iPad, making it even more practical for working on-the-go.
The BrydgeMini keyboard allows the whole iPad mini screen to be the work surface. It has a full chiclet-style keyboard with all the recognisable keyboard functions of a notebook. The keys are smaller than on a regular keyboard but it only takes seconds before you’re typing at normal speed. The keys have good resistance and fill the width of the board, i.e. the landscape width of the iPad mini. The BrydgeMini responds to the fingers in a way the touch screen can never do. It’s satisfyingly positive. The clever hinges mean that when in an upright position your keyboard is at a good ergonomic angle. The keyboard also features a backlit function for typing in low light, and importantly when it's folded against the touchscreen the iPad is turned off. The BrydgeMini has literally got it covered!
We had just two small issues during usage. Firstly, with apps where there are touchscreen controls at the bottom of the screen, it is sometimes difficult to operate them because of the close proximity of the keyboard when hinged. The second is that it would be the icing on the cake if the BrydgeMini came with a skin for the back of the iPad to keep it pristine. In-fact a rear skin can actually be purchased with cut-outs for the hinges, from Brydge.
Battery & Charging
It has a fantastic claimed battery life of 3 months (uses efficient Bluetooth 3.0) - which is yet to be proved by us. The battery indicator is behind the back/slash key; it flashes blue once to indicate ON and flashes repeatedly when the battery is LOW. It charges within an hour; and comes with a USB connector.
This BrydgeMini keyboard enhances the iPad mini. Anyone who has worked for years on traditional qwerty keyboards will cry for joy as they feel the keys depressing beneath their fingers in such a satisfying and positive way. But let us not forget that the BrydgeMini was created to be just that - a practical ‘bridge’ between your MacBook Pro or desktop Mac and your iPad - and it does this by cleverly turning your iPad into a miniature computer, ideal for on-the-go work.