Brydge today announced the upcoming launch of a new beta firmware update designed for the Pro+ keyboards, which launched last spring. The Pro+ keyboards feature integrated trackpads and came out ahead of when Apple added dedicated trackpad support to iPadOS.
The software available from Brydge adds native multi-touch capabilities and should much improve the trackpad experience of the Pro+ keyboard. We reviewed the keyboard back in March and found the trackpad to be inferior as it wasn't initially designed with Apple's integrations in mind.
According to Brydge, the firmware will bring a "natural" multi-touch experience, with the update available through the Brydge Connect app. Using the new beta firmware requires customers to have the iPadOS 14.5 update installed.
Brydge Pro+ keyboard users who want to try out the new firmware update can sign up on the Brydge website. The first 500 who sign up for the public beta will be able to access the firmware on February 24, while others will get access on March 3. For a limited time, Brydge is also offering up to 25% off on Pro+ keyboards.
Priced at $130, the 10.2 MAX+ has a built-in native multi-touch trackpad and an integrated backlit keyboard, plus it offers full device protection. Brydge says that it is designed to combine the functionality of a Brydge keyboard with the protection of OtterBox. The 10.2 MAX+ can be pre-ordered from the Brydge website.
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Top Rated Comments
To be fair to the magic keyboard, the build quality is nice, and the touchpad is very good. But it's had some annoying drawbacks. For one, I keep on wishing that the keyboard allowed for more tilt. I instinctively keep on trying to tilt it further back, only to realize I'm not a laptop. It's not a problem when using it on a desk, but when I have it on my lap, it always seems like I'm looking down on the iPad at an angle; the screen is not perpendicular to my face. Also, though I knew going in that the Magic keyboard didn't have a row of function keys, I didn't realize how much I'll miss them (I had the Brydge keyboard for my iPad Pro 9.7", and it was always convenient having those keys there). It wouldn't have been a major problem if the OS had a bit more of universal keyboard shortcuts. For example, there is no shortcut for Siri, and it's annoying to always speak out 'Hey Siri'. You never know whether it'll pick it up, or your phone will. On the Brydge keyboard there is a dedicated Siri button (which was always useful on my previous Brydge keyboard). For basic functionality like volume control, you either have to extend your hand, or go to the control center, which obfuscates any video you are seeing. It's not the same has having dedicated keys on the keyboard.
The only reason I bought the magic keyboard is because I had read that it had the best trackpad experience, and that the brydge version wasn't as good. That seemed like a deal-breaker, so I didn't opt for the Brydge this time. Also, I had known that swiping from the bottom is not convenient on the Brydge (a problem, I had found irksome even with my previous Brydge keyboard). But after using the magic keyboard, I realized that this will never be a problem when you have a trackpad. On the magic keyboard, not once did I use to use the bottom-up swipe gesture cause you can just move the cursor down beyond the screen for it to mimic the swipe-up gesture. It's just more natural to use the touchpad than to extend your hand.
So, if in fact the touchpad on the Brydge keyboard has been improved to match the Magic Keyboard, I'm going to be returning the Magic Keyboard and will be buying the Brydge instead. [S]Another potential benefit might be that (not sure yet), that I might be able to use it with a TPU cover that I have on my iPad Pro. Currently I have to take it out to use it with the magic keyboard.[/S]
To summarize the advantages of the Brydge keyboard -
1. Can tilt more than the magic keyboard
2. Has function keys
3. $40 cheaper at current sale price
[S]4. Might be compatible with protective cover in place[/S]
Advantage of the Magic keyboard -
1. Back-side protection
2. Don't have to ever charge it
3. Attaching it magnetically is better than swiping the iPad into rubber holders
The magic keyboard advantages seem meager at best. The Brydge is not perfect either, but I'm willing to bet it's day to day use might be better than the magic keyboard.
Edit - from reviews it seems Brydge can't be used with an external cover.