Everybody likes Microsoft's Surface tablets. Everybody, that is, except for those who want to use it on their lap. The kickstand that the Surface uses to prop itself up works fine on a desk, but not so much when it's resting on your legs or any other uneven surface. The Surface Book's design alleviates this problem, but it's also larger, heavier, and more expensive than the tablet model. Enter the Brydge 12.3 hinged keyboard.
You might have heard of Brydge before. Its original design, a similar hinged keyboard dock for the iPad, was one of the first really successful Kickstarters. The new model is targeted at Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4 tablets, and it comes in varieties with or without a 128GB SSD. It's not clear how that SSD connects to the Surface, but it's presumably via USB given the "up to 600MB/sec" performance specification. The keyboard itself connects to the tablet over Bluetooth, and uses a USB port for charging.
The Brydge doesn't have a second battery or any extra connectivity, but it includes a trackpad and full backlighting. Brydge says the new 12.3 model is meant to be "the other half of the Surface Pro," and to that end, the dock matches Microsoft's tablet in both design and finish. In its most recent progress report video, Brydge CEO Nicholas Smith notes that a Surface Pro 4 with a Brydge 12.3 attached is both lighter and thinner than a 13" Dell laptop.
The company is taking pre-orders for the Brydge 12.3 right now on its website. The dock can be ordered with English, German (QWERTZ), and French (AZERTY) layouts. Regardless of the layout, the standard model goes for $150, while the "Pro" model with the 128GB SSD will set you back $300. The company is offering 10% off on pre-orders, so if this dock is up your alley, now's the time to bite. Brydge expects the keyboards to ship in May.