One of the announcements that I found more interesting at CES 2020 was Brydge's new keyboards. Along with some new keyboards for iPad Pro devices that have a trackpad, the company also showed off new Surface keyboards for the entire tablet lineup, and they turn the tablets into proper laptops.
When I saw the announcement last week, a lightbulb kind of went off in my head. I'd have loved to bring the Surface Pro X to CES with me, but it's really not the type of PC that you can use to comfortably write articles while sitting on the floor of a hotel hallway. If I had the new Brydge Pro X, that wouldn't be a problem.
The three keyboards are pretty much the same, with the exception of the sizes. There are clamps on the right side that attach to the device, and it connects through Bluetooth, rather than the Type Cover pins. Brydge told me that it always uses Bluetooth on its devices, so that's kind of just the way it is.
Most importantly, I found that the keyboards make these PCs very lappable. I tried a number of different positions to see how comfortable they would be on my lap. I didn't find it to be top-heavy at all. For example, with a Surface Book, I've often found myself holding down the base with my palms as I'm typing, since most of the internals in the Book are in the display. Obviously, that's also the case with a tablet like the Surface Pro X, Pro 7, and Go, so it was a concern.
I was really pleasantly surprised. These keyboards are super comfortable to use.
There are some minor complaints that I had. For one thing, the keyboards have a 180-degree hinge, rather than a 360-degree hinge. Obviously, if you're buying a tablet, then you want to be able to use it as a tablet. It's a simple fix though. You'd just have to remove the tablet from the base.
Another issue, however, is a more significant one and it's specific to the Brydge Pro X, which is for the Surface Pro X. There's nowhere to store the pen. With Microsoft's Surface Keyboard, the Slim Pen is actually stored inside of it, and unlike other Surfaces, the Pro X doesn't have a magnet to stick the pen on the side of the machine.
Of course, you could carry the Slim Pen with you, but you still need that Pen Garage in the Surface Keyboard to charge it. Brydge has time to work this out though, as this product won't ship until the second half of this year.
I'm really excited about these products, because they really solve a particular pain point with Surface tablets. The Brydge 12.3 Pro and the Brydge 10.0 Go will be available in Q2, and the Brydge Pro X is coming in Q3/Q4.