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If ever there was a time for me to talk about keyboards it is now that I have my Brydge Series II in hand. This keyboard was something that I was long waiting for and now that I have it in hand I think this is the perfect keyboard for me.

My History with Brydge

I was wary of this purchase after having more than my fair share of issues with the original keyboard Brydge came out with for the 10.5 iPad Pro. I had to send it back 3 times and after the 3rd time there was no charm and I eventually told Brydge to refund me in full. I was left with a horrible taste in my mouth from this company and I vowed to never give them my money ever again.

That all went out the window after hearing about the new Series II from Brydge and how it seemingly fixed all of its quality problems I had previously. I was elated to hear this and after some thought I decided to make one final exception for Brydge and gave them my money, and boy am I glad that I did.

The Pros

The Brydge Series II looks identical to the form factor of the original, the only thing that changed was the reliability of this keyboard was increased exponentially. No keys would fail to type, there were no more sticky keys, and the Bluetooth connection stayed true. It worked perfectly.

The Brydge keyboard has loads of features and checks every 99% of the boxes I had when it comes to a keyboard for the iPad.

The first is the layout of the keyboard allows me to touch type without issue and allows me to really fly on this thing without worrying if the key I am wanting to write with is going to work correctly or not. Not to mention, this keyboard doesn’t skimp out on anything, offering media keys and having arrow keys that aren’t squished and difficult to feel for. Finally, it has a dedicated home button to go back to the home screen with one press and to the multitasking view with two.

Brydge Series II Arrow Keys
Brydge Series II Arrow Keys
The Dedicated Home button
The Dedicated Home button

Not only is the keyboard layout something that warms my heart, the fact that this offers backlit keys is also a treasure to me. It is still something that baffles me to see Apple only offer backlit keys on MacBooks and never on a Wireless keyboard. I know that because of the size of the Smart Keyboards it isn’t feasible, but if Apple were to update their Magic Keyboard to offer backlit keys it would have been an instant-buy from me. I don’t use backlit keys often, but when I need it and not have it a small part of my brain goes berserk. Having my keys backlit allows me to write late at night while my fiancé sleeps and not have to have any house lights on1.

Downsides

The only downside I found with this keyboard, like so many others I have tried, is that it is Bluetooth instead of using the iPad Pro Smart Connectors. Seeing that this keyboard is specifically made for the 10.5” iPad it makes sense to me to have the connection to the keyboard be the Smart Connector instead. With that said, no one other than Apple and Logitech have ever made attempts to use the Smart Connector.nAfter speaking with a Brydge representative their reasoning actually made a lot of sense saying:

Here at Brydge we deliberately chose to use the Bluetooth 3.0 over the Apple Smart Connector as this technology does not limit our fundamental design. The Apple Smart Connector restricts the experience to a single viewing angle, while the Bluetooth 3.0 enables the flexibility to deliver a unique laptop like 180 degrees viewing angle.

With this in mind, this decision is actually something I feel is the better choice than to make the iPad only viewable in one angle. Even with the new Smart Keyboard, there are only two angles, one of which could be argued that is never used. So seeing that Bluetooth was the better option, it makes sense that is what Brydge went with instead of the Apple Smart Connector.

Conclusion

It is clear that Brydge has made gigantic strides to right the wrongs they may have inadvertently made in older models of their keyboards, and it is a breath of fresh air to see a company that cares so much about design be equally caring on the quality of their new products. As someone who has an “older” iPad Pro, seeing them update their products for this not only goes to show that they truly want to allow everyone to get their hands on something to write with, but also indicative of what is to come in their line up for the new iPad Pros.

The boycott is over from Brydge, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to buy this product, and if you want to make you iPad Pro equally beautiful and functional, there isn’t anything better the Brydge.

  1. The only light I use is a desk lamp as it isn’t as illuminating as the overhead light in the office.

The Apple Pencil is a great tool when you need it, but when you don’t it can be more of an inconvenience than anything. This is why there are so many Pencil cases and products to allow you to store the pencil when you don’t need it.

Apple joined this game last year with their own case. But there was one problem: it provided no function for transporting it. To do that you would need to buy Apple’s $129.00 leather sleeve. I don’t know about you, but if I have to buy something that costs more than my Apple Pencil to just keep it near my iPad it isn’t for me. With that out as an option, I still needed a sleek, high functioning holster for my Pencil.

This is where Twelve South comes in with their new product, the PencilSnap

I recently bought my own PencilSnap to see if this would be the final accessory I would need to carry my Apple Pencil once and for all. I have to say, this little piece of leather has a lot going for it.

Look and Feel

This holster is very minimal looking and there is no noticeable branding on the product at first glance. However, If you look on the back of it where there are magnets to stick it on a Smart Cover to Smart Keyboard you can see the word PencilSnap embossed on the leather. It is a very subtle but nice touch that is something I wish other brands would do on their products.

The leather the PencilSnap is made out of is well crafted to say the least. It has the feel of fresh leather you would get from an Apple branded iPhone case. I haven’t had it long enough to see how this leather ages over time but if the photos I see of leather iPhone cases on Reddit indicates anything, it is going to look even better after some time and use. I will say that it takes a few time of putting it in and taking the Apple Pencil out for the leather to loosen up. Honestly this was fine after about a dozen time of me taking it out.

The backing with the magnets is firm but mailable enough to really allow you to pull your pencil in an out without worrying that you are going to break the case. It also bounces back very nicely, leaving my worries of it being forever bent backwards behind.

Functionality

This thing is crazy strong. Both with the magnets keeping it on the iPad and the overall casing for the Pencil. I have vigorously shaken the case with the pencil in it and it just doesn’t budge. the PencilSnap does its job well and without any margin of error.

I also have had the case on my iPad 10.5” Smart Keyboard and took a shake to that as well, way more than I would actually jostle my iPad in day-to-day use. Again, not a single budge. I wanted to see just how far I had to take things in order to get these magnets to fail.

So I removed the Smart Keyboard from my iPad and unfurled it to have one long silicone case and a keyboard and shook it like a mad man. Finally, after a few good shakes the force of the case whipping back and forth made it fly off the case. So if you end up whipping your Smart Cover around like it’s a bed sheet, this magnet won’t work. But if you aren’t insane, and you treat your tablet with even a little respect this thing won’t fail on you.

If I find any issues with this over time I will be sure to update this post and let you know, but honestly I don’t foresee me having to do that. I am utterly impressed with just how sleek yet strong Twelve South made this.

Conclusion

If you aren’t satisfied with how you are using your Apple Pencil for travel or just want something to keep your Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro, this $30 accessory will be the only thing you need. It keeps it close to your iPad and safely attached. I would recommend this over Apple’s case, or really any other Apple Pencil case, with zero hesitation.

Twelve South continues to uphold their reputation as one of the leading Apple accessory manufacturers because they sweat the details, and make sure products like the PencilSnap make your life easier and look great too.

You can pick up your own PencilSnap at Twelve South’s website for just $1 more than Apple’s and get ten times more use out of it.