- Brydge has announced the SP Max+ for Surface Pro 8.
- No pairing or Bluetooth is required as it uses SecureConnect.
- SP Max+ includes a protective case and type cover designed to meet the 4-foot drop test, both together and individually.
- It even includes a unique Surface Pen storage solution built into the keyboard to prevent pen loss.
Brydge is no stranger to taking tablet computers and making them … more. In November, I reviewed the Brydge SP+ for Microsoft's Surface Pro 8, which lets Microsoft’s tablet slide in and connect to the keyboard via Bluetooth, making it more laptop-like than the Surface Type Cover.
While the SP+ is excellent, earning 4.5 stars (out of 5), there was no place for the new Surface Slim Pen to go, some people don’t love the hinge mechanism and the touchpad (while good) was not a Microsoft Precision one.
All of that is fixed in the more premium Brydge SP+ Max announced today.
The SP+ Max is an entirely different beast than the SP+, which is still available. For one, the Surface Pro 8 doesn’t just slide into the keyboard base, and instead, there’s a combo soft/hard-shell case that the Surface Pro 8 tablet enters first and then attaches to the keyboard via powerful magnets.
This new design adds 4-food drop protection (The SP Max+ meets military drop-test MIL-STD 810H standards) and makes the tablet more detachable. Indeed, strong magnets mean you almost have to tear off the tablet, so it won't ever shake loose or come off in a drop.
It’s all a bit reminiscent of Microsoft’s discontinued Surface Book, which functioned as a laptop, but let the screen detach to be used as a standalone tablet PC.
More interestingly, there is no Bluetooth connection this time. Instead, the SP+ Max uses one of the Surface Pro 8’s Type-C ports to power it directly. The result is no pairing and no delay in typing due to latency. Also, no internal battery needs recharging as the power is directly drawn from Surface Pro 8.
That Type-C power connection lets the keyboard be backlit and works brilliantly.
This new direct connection similarly means, for the first time, Brydge can utilize Microsoft’s Precision touchpad drivers for the large 110x60 mm click anywhere touchpad making this touchpad a much smoother and more accurate experience for cursor navigation. And from my limited experience in using it, it's fantastic.
The SP+ Max has a silo above the function keys to store the Surface Slim Pen 2, just like the Surface Type Cover. However, the silo only holds the pen and will not recharge it.
Pricing for the Brydge SP+ Max for Surface Pro 8 is set at $229.99 and is available from Brydge and Amazon.
Look for our review of the SP+ Max for Surface Pro 8 in the coming weeks.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.