The W-Touch and W-Type accessories. | Photo: Brydge
On August 17th, Brydge will begin selling a new lineup of Surface accessories that have the “Designed for Surface” badge, meaning that they were made in collaboration with Microsoft. The lineup includes keyboards for the Surface Pro and Surface Go, but the most intriguing product in the group is the $99.99 W-Touch standalone trackpad. It’s apparently the first standalone wireless trackpad made for Windows 10.
The W-Touch is like a Magic Trackpad 2 that’s built for Windows 10 instead, coated in a striking black with an aluminum build. It has Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and it supports Precision drivers and multitouch gestures, like pinch to zoom, and multifinger swipes to switch desktops. This trackpad has a large glass surface to comfortably move around in, measuring at 5.5 inches across and 3.3 inches deep, so a little smaller than Apple’s version but still spacious.
The W-Touch is said to delivery one-month battery life, and it recharges via USB-C. One hundred dollars isn’t cheap for a trackpad, but as the only standalone, wireless option made in partnership with Microsoft, Brydge gets to set the price. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it could be a great accessory to have around if a mouse doesn’t jive with your workflow.
Brydge is also releasing the W-Type to complement the W-Touch. It’s a full-size wireless keyboard with aluminum detailing and a complete row of function keys. Right out of the gate, it seems like an excellent value at $59.99. The overall design, and even the printing on the keys, makes it look like an accessory that Microsoft might make — and perhaps severely overcharge for. The keys use a scissor mechanism and each has 2mm travel, which Brydge claims is the “perfect” amount of key travel. If it’s anything like what the Surface Laptop 3 has built in, there’s plenty of reason to get excited.
This model has Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity with support for up to four devices, so you can easily switch the computer to which it’s connected. Brydge claims it can last up to a month on a charge. When it zaps out, you can charge it via USB-C.
Rounding out the lineup are the new Brydge 12.3 Pro Plus and 10.5 Go Plus keyboards. The $149.99 Pro Plus model works with the Surface Pro 4, 5, 6, and 7, while the $129.99 Go Plus works with the Surface Go and Go 2. Both feature Bluetooth 5.0, backlit keys, Windows Precision trackpads with full multitouch gesture support, USB-C ports for charging, and an antimicrobial coating on the deck. Brydge has had a keyboard for the Surface Pro for some time now — this new model has a redesigned hinge, 70 percent larger trackpad, native multi-touch control in Windows, updated Bluetooth connectivity, and a plastic deck as opposed to aluminum. (The bottom of the keyboard is still metal.) It also weighs 70 grams less.
Like the Brydge Pro Plus keyboard for the iPad Pro, these turn your Surface into a more traditional clamshell laptop that can be easily balanced on your lap or closed up and thrown in a bag. When you want to use the Surface as a tablet, you can just pop it out of the Brydge’s hinge and go.
Compared to Microsoft’s Surface keyboards, the Brydge provides a more stable typing experience and longer travel on the keys. But it does require charging roughly every three months and Bluetooth isn’t as reliable of a connection as the pogo pins the Surface keyboards use. It also makes the Surface noticeably thicker and heavier, but it’s still a quite portable package.
All of these products will go on sale starting August 17th, and aside from the 10.5 Go Plus that ships the week of September 7th, the others will ship the week of August 31st.