Thursday, 10 March 2016

BrydgeMini Aluminium Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Mini

BrydgeMini Aluminium Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Mini

Those wanting to be productive with their iPad get a boost

Since Apple launched the iPad Pro, more people have been considering using their iPad for more than Candy Crush.

Specifically for those with an iPad Mini, Brydge has created a Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard accessory that effectively turn their tablet into a tiny PC, of sorts.

What’s nice about this hardware is that it's shaped to exactly mirror the shape of the tablet, so when you push the two together, the iPad actually looks like it was always meant to be a single solution.

The metallic construction helps support this impression, and the keyboard comes in three colours, to match whatever scheme your iPad Mini sports.

To get it operational, you need to power it on and then pair it in the settings. Once done, powering up the keyboard near the iPad will join the two functionality wise.

And given how behind the technology curve Apple’s touch keyboard is, it’s a very welcome input device for anyone who needs to type more than the odd message.

While the keyboard is small, it's backlit, and the key action has enough feedback to help you type quickly. Brydge states a battery life of three months, and a USB cable is included for you to recharge it.

All good so far, but after using this device for just a few hours I found a few niggles, and the majority are firmly Apple’s fault.

The biggest is that unlike Android or Windows 10, iOS just isn’t designed to work with a keyboard at all. You can’t cursor around the icons or highlight up and down menus, at all.

Unless the iPad is specifically expecting text or number input, it will ignore the keyboard as a means of control and selection. That’s annoying, as you have to continually touch the screen to do things that you should be able to more quickly directly on the keyboard.

The fine irony is that if you pair this device to an Android tablet or phone, you discover that all these things work perfectly, even if the BrydgeMini was specifically designed for Apple hardware.

Another software glitch is that you can become stuck if you either activate a feature (like alerts) that requires a swipe from the bottom edge of the screen upwards. Unfortunately, that’s a place you can’t reach on the screen when it's attached to the keyboard.

These aspects take some of the shine off what is a nicely engineered and constructed device that by Apple standards is relatively inexpensive.

It comes down to what you think you can achieve on such a small screen with a relatively small keyboard, even if it's as well made as this one. Also, having access to the iOS versions of Microsoft Office might help too, if you have an Office 365 subscription.

I do hope for Brydge’s sake that with the next iOS release the iPad will become more accepting of third-party peripherals than it is at this present time. Mark Pickavance

Elegant Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad Mini.