Microsoft’s Surface Type Cover is more than usable, but typing on it doesn’t really feel like using a laptop. Brydge, known previously for its iPad keyboards, is releasing a 12.3-inch keyboard for the Surface Pro 3 and 4 this spring for $150 that gives the Surface a more lap-friendly design for when you need to type. It’s showing the device off at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.
The Brydge 12.3 is made of aluminum, is 7.5 millimeters thick and uses a custom hinge to open and close just like a laptop. This completely eliminates the need for the Surface’s kickstand when typing, as you can adjust it to any angle, just like a notebook. The Brydge keyboard is backlit and also includes a trackpad (a first for Brydge, as iPads don’t use mouse inputs).
Price and Availability
The Brydge 12.3 is scheduled to be released this spring for $150, and a version with a built-in 128GB SSD will cost $250 sometime soon after.
I was really surprised by how solid the aluminum Brydge felt, and I managed to pick up an entire Surface by the keyboard. The keys weren't as deep as some laptops, but they were comfortable, and the trackpad was surprisingly accurate and responded to Windows 10 gestures quickly and easily. I was even able to close and open the laptop without ever dealing with the Surface Pro's kickstand, which I found made it much easier to use. It felt like a bridge between the regular Surface Pro and the Surface Book, and I was really impressed on first glance. I'm curious how long it will last under regular use, but the company suggests it gets three months per charge.
Unlike the Type Cover, the Brydge can’t use your Surface’s Connect port. Instead, it connects to the tablet via Bluetooth. It’s not anywhere near as thin or portable as Microsoft’s option, but it feels a lot more like a real laptop than the Type Cover does. The Type Cover has price in its favor though — it’s $20 less the Brydge’s option.
The company suggests that it may release a model of the keyboard with integrated storage in the form of a 128GB SSD for $250, though I was told that will be coming a bit later.
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