Brydge Air full review
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Following in the footsteps of the Brydge+ for iPad, the Brydge Air has been designed with the iPad Air in mind. You can't ruin the slim form factor of the iPad Air with a chunky, ugly case right? Thankfully that’s not true with the Brydge Air - instead of taking away some of the elegance of the iPad, it adds to the experience and transforms your tablet into a MacBook lookalike. In fact, they’re so similar that we even reached for a non-existent trackpad.
As with many keyboards designed for use with the iPad, the keys have been shrunk down. Usually this means that inaccuracies start to appear in your typing, especially when trying to type fast but with the Brydge Air, it's just not the case.
We found no real adjustment period and typing speeds were close to what we achieve with a normal sized keyboard. In fact, this review was written entirely using the Brydge Air! There's only two real issues for UK users - there’s a $ button but no £ button and the Enter key is only one row wide when usually its two.
There's no real surprise that it's constructed from Aluminium because it's clear that Brydge wanted a keyboard that looked like it belonged with your (Aluminium backed) iPad Air. The keys are black, made of plastic and feel great to type on - something that’s very important to look out for when looking for a keyboard. A new (and very welcome) addition from the older generation Brydge keyboard is a backlight keyboard much like the MacBook Air. While some may think of this as a novelty that drains battery life, it enables you to type much more comfortably in low light conditions.
It's designed so that your iPad slots into the hinges simply and easily and is held in place thanks to the friction caused by rubber inserts. The Brydge Air also comes with shims that fit into the hinges, to be used with the even thinner iPad Air 2.
We were particularly impressed by the viewing angles available on the Brydge Air as you can tilt the iPad back to almost 180 degrees. That may not sound very impressive but when compared to the 30-degree angle adjustment you have with the Logitech Ultrathin, its definitely impressive. This means that you can get a comfortable angle to work with, whether the Brydge Air is on your lap or desk. It's extremely comfortable to use as even with the iPad attached, the Brydge Air weighs less than an 11" MacBook Air. That’s pretty tough to beat without mentioning that even with the 180-degree tilting, it doesn’t tilt over – the whole setup is perfectly weighted for maximum comfort.
When you’re done using your iPad/laptop hybrid, you just close it like you would a normal laptop and the magnets built into the Brydge Air turn off your iPad, putting it to sleep. Nice and easy.
In the previous generation of the Brydge keyboards, you had to pay extra to get built in speakers but with the Brydge Air, they come as standard. While the original speakers were set just above the keyboard, facing you, on the Brydge Air they've moved to the back, just underneath where your iPad sits. While this made no sense to us on first glance, during testing we still had satisfactory results with the speakers. They're not the greatest speakers in the world (like any laptop speakers) with a noticeable lack of bass but they definitely contribute to the laptop illusion.
The Brydge Air is available in three colours - Space Gray, Silver and Gold (which costs £13 more for some reason) to match the colours of the iPad Air 2.
Coming in at £111-£124, the Brydge Air is more than twice as expensive as its previous generation. Even though it’s more expensive and may put some people off, it still gave us one of the best writing experiences on an iPad that we've ever had. It's a great alternative for people that don't want to carry both an iPad and a laptop around and (as you can see) it's great for writing long documents.
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