The closest you’ll probably ever get to experiencing a 9.7-inch MacBook
From £111 Manufacturer Brydge Keyboards, brydgekeyboards.com
Requires iPad Air, iPad Air 2 Connectivity Bluetooth
Rarely does an iPad keyboard case experience replicate the comfort of a real MacBook. The BrydgeAir is different from the allplastic competition. It’s made out of the same aluminium as a MacBook and has been designed to look like a 9.7-inch version of Apple’s laptops. It’s not as lightweight as most other keyboard cases and dispenses with the convenience of a magnetic connection that make it like a Smart Cover. But that’s to your advantage.
Here you get a much weightier and sturdier experience. We’re in the territory of 11-inch MacBook Air comfort, thanks to the excellent replication of the MacBook keyboard and a near identical layout (includes brightness, volume and lock controls). It’s also got four levels of backlight to ensure it’s as usable as a real MacBook would be in low light.
The BrydgeAir is much more than just a keyboard though, with its dual stereo speakers – a big improvement on the iPad’s (though you need to set up a second Bluetooth connection for them).
Instead of the magnetic clasp seen in most other designs, the BrydgeAir uses two tough hinges that grip to the areas just off the iPad Air’s screen. There’s a few design oddities, such as the hinge recesses being quite deep and ugly, and the fact you have to swap rubber grips for using the iPad Air 2, but they’re forgivable compromises. The strange charging light under the Shift key feels out of place though. But the BrydgeAir is a high quality keyboard that finally makes the iPad viable for sustained typing. Christian Hall
Weighty feel, superb keyboard action and strong hinges. It’s the best iPad keyboard case we've used.
Strong backlighting is another way in which the BrydgeAir feels like a MacBook keyboard.