Yes, it might be five months late, but finally The Brydge has arrived.
So, was it worth wait?*
The short answer is very much yes. I’m typing this blog post now using The Brydge and while I’m still getting used to the keyboard, the experience shits on the virtual onscreen keyboard. The keys are a little smaller than I’m used to and the right shift key (which I rarely use) is tiny, but overall the iPad genuinely feels like a mini-laptop with the keyboard attached. And as you can see from the pictures below, it looks like one as well.
The keyboard is actually quite heavy, but this is not a bad thing. But this adds a sturdiness to the whole unit which I appreciate. That said the build is not perfect, as you can see from the photo below, my iPad was missing two of its feet. It’s not a deal breaker, but considering we waited an extra few months for these units to go through a second stage of quality control, it’s frustrating. It’s not helped by the fact that The Brydge box was open when I received it (and not by customs).
I bought The Brydge+ which comes with speakers. People have criticised the speakers for being a bit tinny and not much better than the iPad speaker. For me they seem fine. Not the loudest speakers in the world at full volume, but it’s nice to have the sound coming toward you rather than off to the side.
The biggest problem with The Brydge keyboard is not the product, it’s the shitty customer service. I mean where do I begin. One look at the comments on The Brydge Kickstarter webpage shows the frustration and anger of the people who funded this product, including me.
It began when they changed the design of the hinge.** This upset people who’d funded the product on the basis they were getting a specific hinge. Rather than offer people refunds if they weren’t happy with the design change, Brydge said the following:
Also, for anyone who prefers the original hinge design, we are continuing to work on a solution for you. We definitely want everyone who pledged and has supported us to be satisfied with the reward they receive. You are the reason we are able to take this product from concept, through production and soon, into reality.
While this sounds fair and wonderful, they’ve never ever followed up on this in any of the subsequent updates. Their silence has been like nails against a blackboard for those who desperately wanted the old hinge.
And then there’s the rationing of updates, weeks and months apart, light on detail and often contradicting what had been said previously.
Now, I’m sure the people at Brydge didn’t set out to piss off a good chunk of their backers. But their immaturity in dealing with success – this Kickstarter has been one of the highest funded since the sites inception*** – has been evident since it became clear that The Brydge wasn’t going to meet its October due date. And it’s been annoying.
Still, I got the product and for the most part I’m happy with it. It cost me $245 (including shipping) which might be steep for some (there are cheaper options on the market) and looking at the ClamCase Pro, which looks like it retails at about $169, I might have been better off waiting for it. But I really can’t complain too much (frustrations above aside). The Brydge does as advertised, turning my iPad into a genuine laptop and allowing me to write this blog post at close to 700 words with relative ease.
And best of all, I can sit next to Jules, as she watches Real Housewivees, and type on my blog and not feel like were living apart. But my God isn’t Theresa a bitch!
*Yes, I know that waiting for a product for five months is very much a first world problem. Patience is not a virtue of mine, and coupled with terrible customer service… well five months might have been five decades.
** I actually like the new design of the hinge than the original, but that’s not the point.
*** Though it doesn’t come close to The Pebble.