Tech review: Brydge Pro 12.9 turns your iPad Pro into a MacBook Pro

The Brydge Pro (above) is as expensive as Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio for 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
The Brydge Pro (above) is as expensive as Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio for 12.9-inch iPad Pro.PHOTO: BRYDGE

The Brydge Pro 12.9 is a Bluetooth keyboard designed for the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018).

This keyboard, which doubles as a screen cover, is made of aluminium and feels very sturdy and well-built. It is slim at only 6.8mm thick but quite heavy at 690g.

It comes in silver and space grey versions, perfectly complementing the two iPad Pro colours.

At the top of the keyboard is a row of dedicated function keys, such as the keyboard backlight brightness, home and lock keys. Below all of the keys is a spacious wrist rest.

Under the keyboard are four round rubber stoppers to prevent slippage when you type. There is a USB-C port - for both connectivity and charging - on one side of the keyboard.

You attach your iPad via two hinged clips at the top corners of the keyboard. This can get finicky though, as both clips need to be aligned at the same angle for attachment. Tip: Push the clips down to almost horizontal and insert the iPad.

Once attached, your iPad Pro will look like a MacBook Pro, without the Touch Bar and trackpad of course. The keyboard closes onto the iPad Pro's screen to protect it when not in use, while the hinged clips allow the tablet to be tilted at a comfortable angle (it goes from zero to 180 degrees) for typing during use.

  • For

    - Sleek and well-built

    - Makes the iPad Pro feel like a laptop

    - Tiltable viewing angle from 0 to 180 degrees

    - Comes with back cover for the iPad Pro

  • Against

    - Heavy

    - Keys need more force to register

    - Expensive

  • Specs

    Price: $299

    Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB-C

    Weight: 690g

  • Ratings

    Features 4/5

    Design 4/5

    Performance 4/5

    Battery 4.5/5

    Value for money 3/5

    Overall 3.5/5

The package also includes a snap-on magnetic cover to protect the rear of the iPad. Thus, not only does the Brydge Pro 12.9 turns the iPad Pro into a laptop, it also protects both the front and back of the tablet.

I find the keys well spaced out. There is also no weird key placement. Thus, I was able to type as fast as I do with conventional keyboards.

But my fingers would constantly reach out to use the non-existent trackpad during typing and I have to remind myself to use the touchscreen of the tablet instead.

Plus, the keys require much more force to register compared to Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio. Having been using the Folio for a while, I find myself having to type much harder, like typing on a laptop.

You would normally think third-party keyboards are cheaper than Apple's own offering. But the Brydge Pro is as expensive as Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio for 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Battery life is rated at a year, if you use the keyboard for around two hours without backlight daily. But it is rated at only 20 hours on a full charge if the backlight is turned on continuously. I have been using it for two weeks, albeit not daily, and the battery level fell only by 14 per cent.

Plus, you can easily use the iPad Pro to charge the keyboard via the included USB-C cable. It took only 10 minutes to charge the keyboard to full from 86 per cent using this method, while the iPad Pro only suffered a one per cent drop in battery level.