What do you get your wife who has everything for Valentine’s Day? Sure you could go with the standard flowers or candy and my wife would be more than happy with that choice. However, I’ve noticed that she’s been borrowing my Surface Go more and more lately. Mostly due to needing a keyboard and trackpad to edit my blog posts and our children’s research papers. So what’s a tech blogging fool of a husband supposed to do?
I hopped online and spent a few hours doing research on the various keyboard options that are available for the iPad Pro. I had previously purchased the Apple Folio keyboard for her when she got the iPad but neither of us liked it. The keys weren’t great, the case sucked, it was too expensive and so on. We took it back to the store. Now Apple has come out with the Magic keyboard. For $350 it had better be the best keyboard on Earth. There are also contenders from Logitech, Brydge, and a host of no-name options from Amazon.
The new Logitech with the touchpad looks great, but it doesn’t work with the third generation iPad Pro so it was out. I never have the greatest of luck with knock off stuff and too many of the reviews I looked at for the cheap options on Amazon included scary words like “bent my iPad” and “couldn’t get the case off” so, nope. That left the Magic Keyboard and the Brydge.
My local BestBuy had both options in stock so I masked up and headed into town. The store was mostly empty so they were happy to let me stand there and play with both keyboards. The Magic keyboard is not magic. It isn’t worth the asking price, it has too many flaws that I suspect were intentionally introduced to protect the MacBook product line. Chief among them are the angle of the screen, lack of plam rests, and missing function buttons. What is the point of having a keyboard if won’t sit on your lap and you keep having to tap the screen? The keyboard itself felt and worked well and so did the track pad, but seriously it just isn’t good enough.
I picked up the Brydge. I’m writing this post with it now. Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yep. The biggest issue I’ve had with it so far is that my meaty man hands tend to brush the trackpad when I get typing too fast and the cursor jumps somewhere unexpected. It isn’t a deal breaker, I’m already learning where to hold my hands to make it stop, I just need to position my wrists a little more outward. The chicklet keys are well spaced, have good travel and are backlit (only white). They feel great to type with.
The keyboard’s chassis is made of metal and is heavy enough to to offset the iPad’s pull forward. So when the tablet is mounted to the keyboard the entire contraption sits well balanced on your lap, like a laptop should. The tablet slides down into the foam padded hinges and is held in place with friction. The hinges will securely hold the screen at any angle you like. The row of function buttons keeps you from having to reach up to tap the screen for every little thing. Search, access the Home Screen, control screen brightness, control volume, manage media playback, access Siri, and more all with dedicated buttons.
The trackpad is spacious and centered between the palm rests where it should be. It doesn’t support all of the gestures that are available on the Apple device. You can scroll left, right, up, and down with two fingers. I also mapped the app switcher to a three finger tap. Scrolling is fairly smooth on Facebook and the web but not as fluid as Apple’s touchpad. Like me, you may need to adjust were you place your palms on the generous wrist rest to avoid accidental taps.
We’ve only had the Brydge keyboard for a few hours, but I can already tell its going to be with us for the long haul. At $229.00 it is the most expensive keyboard in our house but, it isn’t the best. It does its job well enough and most importantly, my wife is happy with it. If you’re looking to add a keyboard to your third generation iPad Pro, I think it is probably the best option available.