I was first in line to get a Surface Pro 3 when they first came out. It’s a great piece of hardware with good performance, a great screen, plenty battery capacity and will run all the applications I need day to day. Microsoft improved many of the earlier Surface devices weaknesses and it became a popular device.
I spend a lot of time away from my desk and out of the office. I take my Surface with me everywhere. The form factor combined with kick stand is great for working on planes, in cafe’s or in my car, but it does have some short comings. Sometimes I want to work from a couch or chair without a nearby hard surface to put the Surface on. The standard keyboard lacks the rigidity needed to make that type of working, leaving you thinking I really do need a laptop at times.
After considerable use for the past couple of years my keyboard was starting to wear out and so starting looking at the alternatives. Do I get the Surface Pro 4 keyboard (compatible with the Surface Pro 3)? What alternatives are there? I stumbled across Brydge Keyboards, who make alternative keyboards for all your favourite tablets.
The Brydge 12.3 (https://www.brydgekeyboards.com/products/brydge-12-3) is not only an alternative keyboard, it also removes the need to use the Surface’s Kick Stand. You can use your Surface like a normal laptop, but without splashing out for the more expensive Surface Book. Brydge also offers a version with storage expansion.
They keyboard is made from aluminium, weights in at 675grams, has a back light, connects with bluetooth and runs for 3 months between charges. This combined with great reviews on several major websites, means it is seriously worth investigating further!
The release date is May 2017. You can pre-order now.
Update: I’ve got one!
I’ve had the keyboard for just over a week and haven’t once wanted to switch back to the Type Cover. I’ve used it at my desk, onsite with clients, in a car, on two flights and at a conference. The typing experience is considerably better than the Type Cover and I have found myself using the Surface Pro more as my primary device.
The track pad is smaller than I was expecting, but is usable and I think better than the SurfacePro3 track pad. It is entirely usable but I do find myself using an external mouse if I have a desk to work at.
Switching to flight mode on a plane and then remember to activate Bluetooth was a little trap. I was a little tired the first time (6am flight) it did take me a moment or two to realise why the keyboard wasn’t working.
Judging from the reaction I’ve had when showing the Brydge 12.3 to other Surface Pro users, I think it is a much welcomed alternative to the Type Cover options, primarily because it makes the Surface more laptop like and it improves the typing experience.
My only real gripe is the weight of the keyboard which adds 675grams to the total weight. You do however get a feeling of quality and after a few days this has become less of an issue than it was initially.
Overall rating is 8/10.