What we think
The sleek Brydge Mini keyboard, which is compatible with the iPad mini 1, 2 and 3, allows you to type with a proper keyboard whenever you like, simply by sliding your iPad into the hinges and connecting them together.
Whilst we like being able to use a proper keyboard with an iPad, we don’t like its price, however.
- Looks great
- Great materials
- Works well
- Good features
- A key got jammed
The Brydge Mini keyboard is made out of aluminium, which helps make it look smooth, sleek and expensive. However, this naturally means it is expensive, and it also isn’t the lightest keyboard attachment around, weighing 300g.
It comes available in three colours – silver, space grey or gold, and you can also purchase a leather sleeve if you wish. The sleeve comes in either black, red or brown, or there is also a protective shell instead.
The keyboard has two hinges on the back edge, one on the left and one on the right, which you place your iPad into. They have a rubber coating to provide more grip. Should you need to tighten the grip, you simply squeeze the hinges gently together, to help prevent your iPad from falling out and getting damaged.
When the iPad has been placed in the holders, you can push the screen back almost as far as 180 degrees, as well as close it flush against the keyboard. Essentially it becomes a tiny laptop, and to be honest, this ‘mini laptop’, or ‘mini MacBook’, looks awesome.
Typing on the keyboard is very easy, but it is best suited to those with smaller hands, as the keyboard itself is rather small. That said, the keys are a good size, and well spaced out. There are a number of useful functions available.
The keyboard has backlit, low-rising keys, which work very well, meaning that even in the dark you can see exactly what you are pressing. There are three different brightness settings for this feature, and you can also have it turned off completely. This can be controlled by simply pressing the key with a light bulb image on it.
One of the main drawbacks to the design is the fact that when you have the iPad in its holders, the edge of the keyboard impedes the bottom of the iPad screen, meaning you cannot swipe up from the bottom, which is annoying to say the least. It seems the only way to get around this problem is to move the iPad up a bit from its holder, so that you can reach the bottom of the screen to swipe up.
The keyboard is very easy to use, as you would expect. It means you can type text much quicker than when you tap the keyboard on the iPad’s screen, although you will not be able to type anywhere near as fast as you can on normal laptops or desktop keyboards.
As a result, this would be best for someone who is often on the move and finds a desktop or laptop unsuitable, but needs to work faster on a tablet than they would work just by using the touchscreen.
The iPad connects with the keyboard via Bluetooth 3.0. It was easy to sync the two devices together, and we have not encountered any problems with the connectivity. We were pleased to find the iPad could be synced to Bluetooth speakers whilst maintaining the connection with the keyboard. Some devices, such as my Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, don’t seem to be able to be connected to more than one device at a time via Bluetooth, which is irritating. Therefore I was pleased to find out this wasn’t the case for the Brydge Mini keyboard.
On its website, Brydge claims the battery life for this keyboard is 3 months, and it can be recharged using the Micro USB cable (approximately 53cm long) which is supplied in the box the product comes in (NOTE: This is not an Apple cable).
A flashing blue light on the keyboard will indicate when the battery is at 10 per cent charge or less, and when it is charging there will be a solid red light on the keyboard. When this light turns off, it indicates the keyboard is at 100 per cent charge. Charging takes up to three hours, according to the Brydge website.
Overall the keyboard functions very well. You are able to lock and unlock the iPad with it, adjust the brightness and volume, control video playback and also quickly load a search tool, as well as the standard keyboard options.
The only issue I encountered was that one key would sometimes get stuck down. Admittedly this was after a fair bit of use, and it could be that I happened to have a faulty keyboard, but nonetheless it was irritating.
Unfortunately, the price is the biggest downside to this keyboard. It is available for $129.99 on the official Brydge website, or for £79.99 on Amazon. These are not prices I personally would be prepared to pay, especially as iPads themselves are expensive.
Of course, for quality you will need to spend more, but the most I think I would be willing to spend on this keyboard is probably around £50.
Looking like a scaled-down MacBook, without the trackpad, the Brydge Mini keyboard for the iPad mini 1, 2 and 3 looks great. The sleek design, and quality material, make it an attractive accessory for your iPad, and it functions very well, just like a normal keyboard. However, its current price puts us off. If it retailed for around £50 then it would be one of the best tablet accessories around.