Compared: Brydge Pro vs Apple Smart Keyboard

Posted:
in iPad edited June 14
We've been using the Brydge Pro keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro for quite some time now, and one of the most frequent requests we've received is to directly to compare it to Apple's Smart Keyboard. So, let's talk about them.

Apple Smart Keyboard vs Brydge Pro Keyboard
Apple Smart Keyboard vs Brydge Pro Keyboard

Smart Keyboard vs Brydge Pro

Apple's Smart Keyboard is a thin, sleek and seamless keyboard that is decent to type on. It barely has any key travel and it doesn't sound or feel great when typing really quick. But all of this is connected to the iPad using Apple's Smart Connector so there's no pairing process or built in battery whatsoever. That's why Apple was able to make it so thin and sleek, and so seamless to use.





The Brydge Pro keyboard transforms your iPad Pro into the feel of a MacBook with its sturdy aluminum body that is cold to the touch and offers an almost unlimited viewing angle. The keyboard has decent key travel, too.

Like we mentioned in our review, it's not the best third-party keyboard we've typed on. We believe that the Zagg Slim Book Go still wins here, but that comparison is for another day.

Brydge Pro for the 11-inch iPad Pro
Brydge Pro for the 11-inch iPad Pro

Backlit keys, iOS shortcuts, and key travel

One of the many great features that I like from the Brydge Pro over Apple's Smart Keyboard is the fact that it has dedicated iOS shortcuts for media controls, screen brightness and volume control which the Smart Keyboard doesn't offer. The keys are also backlit with up to three different brightness options, and there's actual key travel when typing which I've already mentioned the Smart Keyboard from Apple is lacking. The Brydge Pro charges via USB-C and battery life is supposed to last for a year.

The Smart Keyboard only offers up to two different typing positions which is decent, but the Brydge Pro offers up to 180 degrees of viewing angle and it's free flowing. There are no hard stops, so, however you want to position the iPad you can do so by pushing it back and forth, just like a real laptop.

Compromise on weight and functionality

Both keyboards also offer drawing or tablet mode. It's a lot quicker to do this on Apple's Smart Keyboard, while the Brydge is a little bit cumbersome to do, due to the fact you have to take the iPad out, and flip it around and fold it back down.

In terms of overall weight, the Smart Keyboard barely adds bulk and weight when it's on the iPad Pro. The Brydge Pro is a lot heavier than Apple's offering, and it's also thicker too. Although, I don't mind it at all. It's not as thick as the Slim Folio Pro from Logitech, but the added bulk is noticeable compared to Apple's Smart Keyboard. If you're looking for a slim, and sleek keyboard, the Apple Smart Keyboard is the way to go.

Brydge Pro (Left) and Apple Smart Keyboard (Right) - 11-inch iPad Pro
Brydge Pro (Left) and Apple Smart Keyboard (Right) - 11-inch iPad Pro

Brydge Pro is far superior

The Apple Smart Keyboard at the time of making this video retails for $179 for the 11-inch iPad Pro, while the Brydge Pro for the 11-inch iPad Pro retails for $149. We like the Brydge Pro keyboard due to its build quality, features, and price.

The weight and added bulk on the 11-inch iPad Pro isn't as noticeable versus the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But the sleek, and seamless operation on Apple's Smart Keyboard is something third-party keyboard manufacturers can't compete with.

The Brydge Pro wins on being slightly more affordable, having a better keyboard than Apple's offering, and the almost unlimited viewing angles on the iPad coupled with the firm keyboard mount increases the versatility and comfort leagues above Apple's own.

Where to buy

The Brydge Pro keyboard for Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro and third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $149.99 and $169.99 respectively from Brydge directly or at Amazon.com.

Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio, on the other hand, retails for $189 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and $199 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, but authorized resellers are currently knocking $10 off.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 250member
    I have a Brydge for iPad mini. It is a quality product indeed.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,664member
    These all are nice, though they add weight I really don’t want to carry everywhere. But, now that Apple definitely supports mice and trackpads with iOS 13, I’m eager to see if someone will build a keyboard with one. It won’t have to add weight or bulk either. That, I might buy.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    I think the Smart Keyboard is handier when you switch a lot between typing and writing on the screen. Can someone tell her/his experience with the switching between screen and keyboard tasks with a Slim Keyboard and a Brydge?
  • Reply 4 of 7
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 213member
    ilovemom said:
    I think the Smart Keyboard is handier when you switch a lot between typing and writing on the screen. Can someone tell her/his experience with the switching between screen and keyboard tasks with a Slim Keyboard and a Brydge?
    The Brydge is Bluetooth connected, and remains so even when removing it from the iPad. So to disconnect it, you actually must power it off. If you forget to do that and walk away from wherever you put it, (in range of course) you have no keyboard.

    There is dedicated key to bring up the on screen keyboard.  Only problem with that is, there is no emoji keyboard access. So short of those idiosyncrasies, I really like the Brydge with my 12.9 (gen3). It is more solid in my lap (La-z-Boy mode).  But now I find myself touching the screen on my MBP. Nuts!  Oh well......

    The Apple keyboard automatically knows when it is not in use, and switches modes readily. The Brydge not so much. But the extra row of keys on the Brydge is very handy. 
    edited June 10
  • Reply 5 of 7
    ilovemom said:
    I think the Smart Keyboard is handier when you switch a lot between typing and writing on the screen. Can someone tell her/his experience with the switching between screen and keyboard tasks with a Slim Keyboard and a Brydge?
    Switching on the Brydge is awful. It’s a cumbersome process and honestly a PITA, especially if you’re like me and switch many times a day. Also, the rubber shim on my Brydge broke in less than 24 hours because of the stress the switching process puts on them. Yes, they sent me a no charge replacement, but it’s still a pain.I honestly love my Smart Keyboard and wish I hadn’t wasted my money on the Brydge.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    With mouse/trackpad support coming, these are already obsolete. Text editing and a whole lot of other common tasks will get a real boost in productivity with a trackpad attached. That's what I'm waiting on.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,664member
    ilovemom said:
    I think the Smart Keyboard is handier when you switch a lot between typing and writing on the screen. Can someone tell her/his experience with the switching between screen and keyboard tasks with a Slim Keyboard and a Brydge?
    Switching on the Brydge is awful. It’s a cumbersome process and honestly a PITA, especially if you’re like me and switch many times a day. Also, the rubber shim on my Brydge broke in less than 24 hours because of the stress the switching process puts on them. Yes, they sent me a no charge replacement, but it’s still a pain.I honestly love my Smart Keyboard and wish I hadn’t wasted my money on the Brydge.
    This is good to know. I find that often, a review period isn’t long enough for these things to show up, in terms of reliability, or annoyances.
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