If you are in the market for a Bluetooth keyboard solution for your iPad Air or Air 2, you would do well to consider the BrydgeAir for iPad Air 2/Air. I’ve tested a number of Bluetooth keyboard cases over the last few months, and this is the one that comes closest to making the Bluetooth keyboard feel like a part of the iPad Air. When you are using the BrydgeAir with your iPad Air, it is very easy to forget you are using an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and be lulled into thinking you are using a very small MacBook Pro instead.
So what is the BrydgeAir? Well, unlike the other solutions I have reviewed, it is not a Bluetooth keyboard case. Instead, it is a Bluetooth keyboard made from a solid piece of high grade aluminum that has two hinged slots which can rotate 180 degrees, lined with soft rubber, into which you slide a naked iPad Air 2 or Air.
Once attached to the BrydgeAir keyboard via these hinge slots, the iPad Air 2 (or iPad Air, if slightly thinner rubber pads are used in the hinge slots) becomes the effective screen of your very small MacBook Pro. As the BrydgeAir’s keys, coloration and layout strongly resemble that of a MacBook Pro keyboard, this illusion is easy to create. Even the weight of the BrydgeAir seems rather MacBook Pro-like: the milled aluminum that it is made of has a solid, substantial feel. The BrydgeAir even comes in matching colors to your iPad Air/Air 2 (Silver, Gold and Space Grey) to make things just that much more perfect.
Using the BrydgeAIr is really a pleasure if you are a MacBook Pro user. The keys are all in the right places, the key action is very similar to what you are used to, and everything just looks right and works as expected. One particularly wonderful feature of the BrydgeAir is its backlit keyboard, which is fantastic if you are using it in a darkened room or on a plane. You can turn this feature off to save battery life, but it is great to be able to turn it on if you need it.
1. Backlit keyboard!
2. Looks extremely attractive when paired with a matching iPad Air—the combination makes people do a double-take, wondering what device you are using.
3. Bluetooth keyboard works perfectly and pairing is easy and completely uneventful.
4. 180 degree hinge movement means you can angle your iPad Air in pretty much any way you want. Very nice if you are using the BrydgeAir/iPad combo while propped on your knees in bed.
5. Impressive build quality
6. Up to three months of battery life, depending on backlit keyboard and speaker usage.
7. Seamless integration with iPad Air really makes you forget you are using an iPad/keyboard combo.
1. The BrydgeAir has built-in speakers, which is great, but unfortunately they don’t quite meet the high standards of the rest of the package. The speakers are only mediocre; I found the built-in speakers on my iPad Air 2 to sound better.
Overall, I am very, very impressed with the BrydgeAir. It is a seamless, stylish solution to my Bluetooth keyboard needs. The only Bluetooth keyboard solution I’ve reviewed that is in the same league as the BrydgeAir is the slightly more expensive Typo Keyboard Case. Like the BrydgeAir, the Typo Keyboard Case can be used with either the Air or Air 2 and is a very nice, high end Bluetooth keyboard solution. However, it lacks the backlit keyboard of the BrydgeAir, and I prefer the keyboard layout and key action of the BrydgeAir to that of the Typo Keyboard Case. The one area where the Typo Keyboard Case has the BrydgeAir beat is that of protection, because unlike the BrydgeAir, the Typo Keyboard Case is a case. The BrydgeAir is an elegant Bluetooth keyboard with well designed slots to hold your iPad Air, but it offers basically zero protection to your device. The design of the BrydgeAir is such that the iPad Air must be either used naked, or with BrydgeAir’s proprietary polycarbonate shell. The BrydgeAir shell, available separately from BrydgeAir for $39.00, is fine for scratch prevention, but is unlikely to provide significant protection in the event of a fall. So the BrydgeAir is probably not the best Bluetooth keyboard solution for the clumsy or for families with small children. However, for people who lead gentler lifestyles, it is a highly functional, elegant Bluetooth keyboard solution that will get you envious looks from friends, family and co-workers. The BrydgeAir is available directly from Brydge for $169 for the Space Grey and Silver—the Gold is an extra $20:
Finally, if you’d like more details, here are links to my YouTube reviews: