Brydge keyboard turns your Surface Pro into a comfortable, sturdy laptop (hands-on)

Because the Brydge keyboard accessory doesn't use the Surface's kickstand, you get more flexibility.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La
2 min read

The Surface Pro 4 is our favorite Windows tablet, and there are many keyboard accessories out there that allow you to use the device like a laptop (including Microsoft's own Type Cover). Most of these products make use of the Pro's kickstand on the back, which allows you to lean and prop up the display.

But the kickstand can be limiting. Though it can tilt at any angle, the whole setup sits very tenuously and clumsily on your lap if you use it as a laptop.

Brydge lets you type on the Surface Pro 4 in style

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Enter the Brydge 12.3 keyboard cover for the Surface Pro 4 and Pro 3. Announced at CES 2017, the accessory has two special hinges that clamp onto the edge of the tablet with the kickstand closed. This allows the setup to act more like a laptop with just as many viewing angles (its range of motion is 180 degrees).

Enlarge Image

No kickstand, no problem.

Sarah Tew/CNET

When I checked it out briefly, the hinge felt strong and stiff, and the keyboard itself was comfortable to type on. Its matte, island-style keys have a backlight so you can type in the dark. There's also a 5-inch touchpad at the bottom, and the keyboard's lithium battery charges via a Micro-USB port on the side.

Compared with the superthin and light Type Cover, the Brydge 12.3 seems bulkier: It's made out of aluminum and is 0.7 inches thick (17mm). As such, it will add more bulk and 3 extra pounds (or 1,361g) to your tablet.

It's also pricier than the $129 (or £109 and AU$199) Type Cover, though not by much. Official US pricing is set at $149 (that converts to about £121 and AU$204). Brydge also mentioned that a 12.3 model with additional storage is on its way, so expect that variant to cost more as well.

Click here for more of CNET's coverage of CES 2017.

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