We have reviewed a lot of iPad keyboard cases. Here are some of them:
- Logitech iPad Ultrathin Keyboard Cover
- Logitech Keyboard Case
- Belkin iPad YourType Folio
- Targus Versavu
- iLuv Professional Workstation
- Kensington Keyfolio Pro 2
- Cygnett Lavish Connect
In the end, Randall picked the Logitech cases as the best. But I recently received a Brydge+ with Speakers to review. The Brydge+ is a full-size, all-aluminum Bluetooth keyboard that basically turns your iPad into a small laptop. Build quality is excellent, although you might notice that the lines on the Brydge+ make it look more like a MacBook Pro than an iPad.
Since I no longer have a full-sized iPad, I delegated the testing to my wife, who is a staff attorney for the educator’s union in Minnesota. Her offices uses Windows, but Jess almost never uses a regular computer when she isn’t at work, even for doing work. She has my old ThinkPad, but I bet she hasn’t powered it on more than twice in the last three months. Instead, she uses her iPad 2 for almost everything she does when she is not in her office.
Here is what she liked and didn’t like about the Brydge+ with Speakers.
First she says it is really great for typing. She really likes the keyboard as a keyboard. And battery life is great (without the speakers turned on, anyway). She’s charged it maybe once in the last month. If battery life is a concern, though, you will want to keep the speakers off (there is a hard switch for this, so it’s easy to keep them off until you need them). They are nice if you want to listen to a voicemail or play some music in the background, but they do drain the battery quite a lot faster.
Jess mainly attaches the keyboard when she is actually doing work (answering emails, taking it to meetings, and using the iPad more like a laptop). She especially liked it during a three-day conference, because she was able to keep up with her work without any major compromises.
And the weight of the keyboard means the iPad isn’t tippy. It stands up well, like a laptop ought to, instead of tipping over from the weight of the iPad like many lighter-weight keyboard covers have an annoying tendency to do.
On the negative side, Jess said the Brydge+ isn’t easy to get on and off of the iPad. She doesn’t like leaving it on all the time because she still likes to use her iPad as a tablet most of the time — for reading her favorite blogs, catching up on email, and other stuff. She doesn’t actually want a laptop all the time, after all. Just when she needs to get work done.
(When I mentioned the Logitech Ultrathin cover, she said “oh, I’d love one of those” because all you have to do is drop the iPad into a slot instead of maneuvering it into the grabber things on the Brydge+. Of course, the Logitech Ultrathin is less laptop-y, as well.)
It doesn’t actually protect the iPad very well, either, since it’s just a cover and not a case. And if you want to want to take the Brydge+ off of your iPad, you have no protection at all. It means you may want to carry a protective sleeve or a case with you, if you are worried about your iPad. But that means extra bulk, which seems silly when you are carrying an iPad.
All in all, Jess really likes the Brydge+ with Speakers. It lets her get more done with her iPad so she doesn’t need a laptop.
The Brydge+ with Speakers is a full-size, all-aluminum Bluetooth keyboard that basically turns your iPad into a small laptop.
Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Brydge+ with Speakers, reviewed by Sam Glover on .