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The Brydge+ Keyboard for iPad (Review)

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Brydge+ Keyboard for iPad with SpeakersBrydge+ Keyboard for iPad
Brydge
$99

I’ve reviewed several keyboards for the iPad and I’ve also refused to review some (You don’t see those), but the Brydge+ keyboard for iPad is a very fine accessory. I really like it. In fact, it’s rarely been off my iPad since I received it in the mail almost a month ago. Yes, I’m a bit slow with some reviews–not because of the products, but because I have so many in my queue to do. I have finally caught up to this one and I’m glad because I really like this keyboard. It matches my iPad perfect in material and in looks.

The Brydge+ is made of the same aircraft aluminum as the iPad itself. Same color, same weight, and same lines. In fact, you’d probably assume that it’s made by Apple, but it isn’t. The Brydge keyboard line began life as a Kickstarter project.

Their Kickstarter campaign is one of the most successful that I’ve ever seen. They asked for $90K and received almost $800K. Yes, you read that correctly. It can happen, even on Kickstarter, which I really don’t like. That said, it does work for some people.

The keyboard coupled with the iPad makes for a bit of heavy lifting. I’m pretty sure that the keyboard more than doubles the weight of the iPad. I also have the built-in speaker version which probably weighs heavier than the non speaker version. But if you’re used to carrying around a full-sized laptop computer, this little combo will seem lightweight to you.

The keyboard has keys that mimic the iPad’s Home button, lock button, music controls, brightness, search, and sound volume. The best additional functionality is that you can press the keyboard’s Home button and Lock button at the same time to take screenshots. That’s a great feature! It’s great because I have a hard time doing it with the actual iPad buttons. If my timing is a little off, either I lock the iPad or I close the App that I’m using.

One thing to note about the Brydge keyboard: the charge lasts a very long time. I’ve charged my iPad five or six times compared to two charges on the keyboard.

The keyboard pairs easily with your iPad and stays paired, even after prolonged non-use, it will stay paired. And by prolonged, I mean days not hours. If you haven’t had your keyboard paired in several days, just switch it on and tap a key. It might take a second or two to re-establish the link, but you really have to do nothing else to re-establish the pairing. I like that. I don’t like having to repeat the same process to pair a device with my iPad every time the two become disconnected. I consider such behavior a fail.

Your iPad slips into the keyboards clamps with the help of silicone rubber protectors that also hold your device with a pretty good grip. Don’t worry, it won’t slip out. You have to pull it out of the clamps. You can adjust the iPad’s angle from closed for carrying to 180 degrees flat. The clamps are sturdy and ready to work. When you have your keyboard attached, you can place your iPad/keyboard combination on an table surface safely because of the keyboard’s protective feet. Of course, the same goes for when it’s open and in use. Don’t worry, you won’t get yelled at for scratching someone’s mahogany table with your fancy thingamajig.

I’ve never had any problem with the Brydge+ keyboard from first use. The keys have a nice touch to them, good feedback, and no repeated characters. This is a well made product that’s durable, elegant in design, professional quality, and priced well for the market at $99. The non-speaker model is $79. For the extra $20, I say go for the speakers, especially if you have a hard time adjusting sound on your iPad to get the right volume.

The speakers are located at the top of the keyboard above the keys, which makes the sound project back to your ears very well because it bounces off the iPad and back toward you. I can tell from the craftsmanship, attention to detail, and key quality that a lot of thought went into this product. This is definitely not some thrown together gadget that’s meant to entice you, extract $100 from you, and then promptly leave its usefulness in the ad. The Brydge+ keyboard basically turns your $800 iPad into an $1,800 laptop computer that folds up into a neat little package.

The only negative I find with the Brydge keyboard is that, depending on your iPad’s generation (2,3,4), some of the function keys might not work. For example, on my iPad 4, the Internet key doesn’t work and neither does the Photos key that opens your Camera Roll. Minor issues to be sure, still worth mentioning.

Why it’s Frugal: The Brydge+ keyboard with speakers is a frugal choice because not only does the keyboard protect your iPad, when folded, it is an extremely functional device. It also uses very little power and requires very little intervention from the user. The keyboard offers you a laptop look and feel, with a design esthetic that says, “Made for Apple.” It’s a frugal choice for your iPad.

The instructions that come with your Brydge keyboard are clear and concise. You connect the keyboard in the usual way via your iPad’s Bluetooth settings and powering on the keyboard. To pair the speakers is not as intuitive and might require a try or two to get it right.
Press Ctrl-B on the keyboard and hold it until you hear four beeps, watch your iPad’s Bluetooth settings to confirm the pairing. I had to pair/unpair a few times before I got the hang of it. Now the unit pairs by itself without my intervention.

I’ve read a few other reviews of the Brydge keyboard and there are two points they mention that I’d like to respond to. First, they write that the back of the iPad isn’t protected. It’s true that the Brydge keyboard, when folded only protects the somewhat delicate glass portion of the iPad. You know, the most important part. The back of the iPad is made of aircraft aluminum like the keyboard. That is its protection.
If there were another protective cover, the unit would be even heavier. That, and the fact that nothing protects your laptop when it’s folded. I have yet to see a protective cover for a laptop except for carrying cases.

Second, they state the price of $99 as being high. If you read my other reviews, you’ll see that I do mention price often as a negative point for some of these products. However, I balance value with price. That is to say that I measure a product’s quality against its price. If the quality, design, and craftsmanship justify the price, so be it, as is the case with the Brydge keyboard. Its $99 price tag doesn’t detract from its functionality, ease of use, design, materials, features, and esthetic.

The Brydge+ keyboard with speakers is an excellent choice for your iPad. The keyboard operates on very little power. It looks good. It feels good. And the price is right. Check out the official promotional video to get a better look at it and its functionality.

Rating: 9.5/10

Recommendation: Once you use it, you probably will never separate your iPad from it again. Buy it from the Brydge keyboards website.

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The mykeyO Executive Restt iPad Keyboard Stand and Organizer (Review)

May 23, 2014 Comments off

mykeyO Executive Restt iPad Keyboard Stand and Organizer
mykeyO
$34.95/$24.95 Amazon(Prime)

mykeyO executive resttRarely do I find a product that I like so much that I spoil the story at the very beginning of my review, but this is one of those products. I love the mykeyO executive restt™ (restt™). It is a keyboard caddy, an iPad stand, a pen holder, and under the keyboard rest, there’s storage for all the clutter on your desk. As soon as the restt™ arrived, I placed it under my keyboard and I haven’t tossed it aside or changed its location at all.

The restt™ has found a permanent home on my desk.

The Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard (not included with the restt™) fits perfectly into the keyboard slot. As you can see in the picture, you can raise your keyboard to reveal all your goodies stored below. Your iPad, iPhone, or other tablet fits nicely into the large slot so that you can work with your device as if it were a laptop without the rigidity of a laptop.

Plus, your device is close enough and tilted just right so that you can tap and swipe as needed.

 

I use the restt™ as a keyboard caddy for my Apple Wireless Keyboard for my Mac mini, but the cool thing is that I can place my iPad or my iPhone into the slot and have it there handy as well. In fact, as I write this post, my iPhone is in the slot. I have to keep track of my retweets and messages, so this makes it very convenient. Plus, the restt™ is made of silicone rubber, which means that it’s rigid enough to be stable and sturdy for typing but soft enough to absorb the vibrations from typing and from my ever-vibrating phone.

mykeyO executive restt in pinkSilicone rubber also won’t scratch any surfaces nor will it make those odd looking greasy spots that some pure petroleum-based rubber products do. And silicone rubber is easy to clean and it doesn’t fade or turn funny colors as it ages. This is a product that you’ll have around a while.

I haven’t found any flaws or negatives with the restt™. It’s a thoughtfully made product that really helps keep my sundries organized and out of sight.

One notable feature is that the keyboard doesn’t “walk” around while you’re typing on it. No matter how hard you type, or how fast, your keyboard stays put.

Why it’s Frugal: The mykeyO executive restt™ is frugal because it keeps you organized, it won’t harm your furniture, it keeps your iPad, iPhone, or other tablet handy, and you can take it from place to place easily. It provides you with a comfortable work surface and environment, which will make you more efficient and productive. If that’s not frugal, I don’t know the definition of frugal.

Now we come to the price. $34.95 is the retail price, but you can buy it for $24.95 on Amazon and if you’re a Prime member, there’s no shipping charges. $24.95 is a very good price for the restt™. I love the design features and you have your choice of colors to boot, which coupled with its sheer utility value, I don’t think you can go wrong with it.

The only stipulation is that you have to have an Apple Wireless Keyboard to use with the restt™. If you don’t have one, but want one, you can purchase a reasonable facsimile of an Apple Wireless Keyboard from mykeyO. Actually, the mykeyO version is a tiny bit wider than the Apple keyboard but is much better. It’s better because it has functions specific for Windows, Apple, and Android-based devices. I’ll have a full review of that product posted soon, so keep watching.

Rating: 10/10

Recommendation: Forget the rest and buy the restt™ and get yourself organized.

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