Today i’m unboxing the Brydge 12.3, a Bluetooth keyboard, made specially for the Microsoft Surface pro.
This model is compatible with the surface pro 3 and the pro 4. My Type cover stopped working, and not being sure if it’s due to the connectors on the cover or on the Surface pro. So taking no chances, by testing out another type cover, i purchased the Brydge Keyboard, which works via Bluetooth.
The Keyboard has an all aluminium finish, and looks much sturdier than the type cover. The Keyboard is priced at $99 instead of the regular $149.99 due to cyber Monday,which is a very nominal price for what you’re getting,and can be purchased from brydgekeyboards.com, but be advised the customs duty brings the price to similar levels as that of the Touch cover Keyboards in India, so my happiness was short lived.
That aside, let’s look at the keyboard. The keyboard is precision engineered lightweight body forged out of solid aluminium bringing a with it a new level of strength and protection. The keys have enough travel, making it comfortable to type on, and the precision Glass touch-pad supports multi touch gestures.
The surface pro when docked with the keyboard, looks more like the surface book, and dare i say like a Macbook. There are spacers on the keyboard, that keep the keyboard and the screen, away from each, protecting it from damage.
There are shims *that’s what they call it” or rubber spacers on the hinges, that protect the tablet when you dock it. The docking process is basically just shoving the tablet into the bracket, which by default is for the Surface pro 4, a Surface pro 3 compatible shim is provided, so change accordingly. I found that once changed the shim, the tablet slid in more smoothly, and also the fit is snug enough that you can pick the two, by just picking up the tablet.
One big advantage i found with the Brydge over the type cover is that it’s much easier to use on our lap. No need to pull out the kickstand which never balanced well on the lap anyway/ Just place on your lap, open like a standard laptop and start typing. The hinges can be angled up to 160 degrees, if you need more you could always just un-dock and place your tablet away, and it would still work as we’re using Bluetooth.
They keys are clicky and have enough travel. I could type fast enough, and the speed is pretty good. As i only use the surface for meetings, and light typing this was good enough for me.
The glass touch-pad is pretty responsive, and works for normal usage. Gestures are also supported, like pinch to zoom, use a two finger scroll, and three finger swipe down to show desktop. They all worked fine, but one problem i do have is, that the track-pad is a little too small if it was bigger, would be happier, but still not a deal breaker.
Being Bluetooth, the keyboard has its own battery unlike the Type cover, which draws power from the tablet itself. But this means you need to charge the keyboard separately, via the mini USB port provided.
The claimed battery life is 3 months on a charge, but your mileage may vary. The F11 key, activates the battery indicator, which is on the delete key. It changes colors between Green, yellow and Red to indicate the battery level.
The price currently is $99 due to Cyber Monday instead of $149.99, and the company provides one year warranty, but not sure if eligible from India, due to shipping. There are other versions available, with a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD within. The micro USB cable provided for charging, can also be connected to your surface as an external drive. I chose the one without a built in drive.
The keyboard and tablet together weigh around 1.45 kg as compared to only 1.0 kg with a type cover. It’s not that heavy, but you do notice. The Brydge keyboard is a good choice at present, due to the sale, and the weight is not an issue, this is a robust option, else we always have the the type cover.