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BrydgeAir Keyboard review: BrydgeAir is an aluminum keyboard to match your iPad Air

MSRP: $169.00

The Good The BrydgeAir Keyboard has dedicated iOS buttons, backlit keys and an aluminum finish to match the iPad Air range.

The Bad The built-in speakers don't sound very good, and the metal construction means it adds to the weight of your iPad.

The Bottom Line The second version of Brydge's keyboard makes for an impressive accessory to the iPad Air series. If you're none too impressed with plastic alternatives, look no further.

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8.3 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

I'll be honest with you -- I've never really needed an add-on keyboard. I type pretty fast on the iPad's on-screen keyboard, so the thought of carrying around an accessory didn't sit too well. The aluminum BrydgeAir Keyboard also isn't the lightest thing in the world, so I had my doubts as to whether it was something I'd want to take with me when I'm out and about.

But having used it for a while, I must say the BrydgeAir has impressed me so far. If you're used to Apple's keyboard on its range of MacBooks, the BrydgeAir will be very familiar, in a good way. While I admit the added bulk is something hard to get used to, the upsides do outweigh the downsides.

Compatible with both the iPad Air and Air 2 , the BrydgeAir comes in three colors -- space gray, silver and gold. The gray and silver versions retail for $169, which Brydge's website converts to around £108 and AU$194 respectively, while the gold model is a tad more expensive at $189 (or £121, AU$217).

Aloysius Low/CNET

If you're familiar with Apple products, the design of the BrydgeAir should be no disappointment. It looks exactly like the keyboard of Apple's MacBook. The keyboard weighs a hefty 520g and has backlit keys 85 percent of the size of the standard keyboard's.

Typing on the keyboard is a breeze, and I was easily able to bang out this entire review on it without my hands cramping. The tactile feel of the keys is very similar to a MacBook as well.

Unlike the latest Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air , the BrydgeAir doesn't use a magnetic groove design. This means the keys sit higher and you get a palm rest as well. To attach the iPad Air to the keyboard, the BrydgeAir uses two hinges that clip on to the the sides of the iPad. It's a great idea, since it basically mimics a notebook, and the bottom of the hinges work to help prop the keyboard up at an angle that's comfortable to type on.

Aloysius Low/CNET

It's an almost uncanny resemblance to a MacBook. I even occasionally found myself moving my finger to below the where the trackpad normally would be while typing to move the cursor. Of course, the BrydgeAir doesn't have a trackpad, but don't forget, the iPad is a giant touchscreen.

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