Apple may have a brand new Magic keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2021, but it’s not your only option. In fact there’s a better version that also happens to cost $100 less.
Brydge’s new 12.9 MAX+ works with third, fourth, and fifth generation iPad Pro models, including the new iPad Pro 2021. Plus, not only is it cheaper, it’s also designed to offer a more laptop-like experience.
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The newest Magic Keyboard (opens in new tab) attaches to the back of the iPad Pro, and holds the tablet in the air with a “floating” design. A bit like how the screen works on the iMac 2021, and never touches your desk.
Meanwhile the Brydge 12.9 MAX+ is more like the older Magic Keyboards, and attaches to the back of your tablet magnetically. Crucially, though, it has the same hinged design that you’d expect from a laptop, meaning you can adjust the angle of the screen as you see fit.
The magnetic connection also mean it's easy to pop the tablet out, and use it as a tablet, rather than a hybrid laptop.
The Brydge 12.9 MAX+ also has a much larger trackpad than Apple’s latest keyboard, which is going to appeal to a lot of people, and supports multi-touch gestures. On top of that the keys are backlit and there is a row of physical shortcut keys along the top of the keyboard.
MacRumors (opens in new tab) pointed out that the 12.9 MAX+ isn’t the sturdiest design, and taping at your iPad screen is going to make it wobble around. It doesn’t seem like it’s insecure, which would have been a deal breaker, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
The only major downside is that it’s a Bluetooth keyboard, and doesn’t utilize Apple’s Smart Connector. That means the keyboard is going to need to be recharged periodically.
According to the specs sheet you can get roughly 180 hours of use without the backlit, and up to 40 hours with key illumination. All recharging is done via USB-C, so you can use the same cable as your iPad Pro.
The Brydge 12.9 MAX+ is available to pre-order now (opens in new tab), for the price of $249.99. Which is a good $100 cheaper than Apple’s own version. The keyboard will be available in silver, white, and space gray, and is set to ship sometime in June.
So if you want a laptop-like device with a mini-LED screen, this is one of your better options. Until the launch of the MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021 later this year, that is