Brydge 12.3 inch keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro (review)

The genuine Microsoft Surface Pro Keyboard is good. The Brydge 12.3 keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro is better.

Brydge solves the ‘proper’ keyboard issue via a slip on, metal keyboard that provides an excellent typing experience – just like the metal Microsoft Book keyboard.

Brydge 12.3 (website here) is a third-party Bluetooth, QWERTY keyboard for Surface Pro 3, 4 and the Pro 2017. It also acts as a screen protection cover when closed.

It makes it very “Book-like”. That solid feel, great keypresses, no key bounce, and just a little more stability.

Hinge travel is 0-160° (almost flat).

Brydsge 12.3Brydge 12.3Connection is easy

  • Slip the Surface Pro tablet into the two “hinge pressure ”
  • Pair via Bluetooth – that is it, no app.

From that point onward, the keyboard will automatically wake once the Surface Pro is opened or turned on. Once joined you cannot use the Pro kickstand – it becomes a clamshell notebook a.k.a. Surface laptop. But it is easy to remove too.

Charging

Charging is via a micro-USB port. The supplied flat cable will connect to the Surface Pro USB-A port or a charger (not supplied). A full charge from 0-100% takes about an hour at 5V/2A or four hours at 5V/.5A.

A charge should last three months but that depends on the level of the backlight (there are three) and its use as a remote Bluetooth keyboard (not near the Surface Pro).

Keypress

It uses Chiclet-style island keys. They are well spaced and provide reasonable tactile feedback. The 1.5mm throw and 65g actuation force are a little more than the 1.4mm on the Surface Pro keyboard – wonderful.

The Brydge 12.3 is a lovely keyboard to type on achieving 90% of my rated speed.

Glass Trackpad

The trackpad is about 75% of the size of that of the Surface Pro. For example, you cannot swipe top left to bottom right and mouse across the screen in one go. While it is sensitive and accurate, it means slightly more finger action is required.

It does support two-finger gestures like pinch zoom as well as three-finger gestures to open Cortana or apps. It does not support four-finger gestures.

Build quality

At 745g and 7.4mm thick, it is solid and well made.

You need to consider that if you want to add that to the 786g of the Surface Pro tablet which has a keyboard that is about 310g and 4.9mm thick.

It matches the Surface design cues perfectly.

Drop-ability is always an issue with tablets. While I think the pressure hinges securely fasten to the tablet it does place some pressure on the front glass, I was not game to drop it to try it. The Surface Keyboard attaches magnetically and, if anything, would act as a bit of a bumper cover when dropped.

Options

Brydge 12.3 can have an integral 128 or 256GB SSD.

GadgetGuy’s take – Brydge 12.3 is solid, dependable and very Book like

When I travel, I usually take a Microsoft Surface Book as the keyboard is so good. But with the Brydge I get a Book-like experience for a fraction of the price. Sold!

In any event, it is a better typing keyboard that the Microsoft Surface Pro original.

Pros:

  • Well made – solid Aluminium and Surface-style.
  • Easy to insert and remove. Use the Surface Pro as a tablet when needed,
  • Good keyboard – as good as the Surface Book and ahead of the Surface Pro.
  • Gives Surface Book like keyboard functionality to the Surface Pro – Laptop ability.
  • I don’t mind a Bluetooth connection – you can use it as a separate keyboard on a desk (will pair with any Bluetooth enabled computer).
  • Silicon shims to suit different Surface Pro models.
  • Battery life- not tested for three months but trying!

Cons:

  • Drop-ability

Price and availability

Priced at $249.95 and now available at JB Hi-Fi and selected Harvey Norman stores around the country.

Brydge makes similar keyboards for iPad Pro 12.9/10.5”, iPad 9.7 and earlier iPad Air/Mini. See GadgetGuy here here

Ratings

  • Overall: 4.6 out of 5
  • Features: 5 out of 5 – meet or exceed marketing statements
  • Value for money: 4 out of 5 – there are disparities between online and retail pricing.
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – Trackpad is a tad small but other than that its perfect
  • Ease of Use: 5 out of 5 – Very easy to set up.
  • Design: 5 out of 5 – Very well made and follows Surface design ques.