The new Airbender case for iPad mini’s from New Trent, includes a fully functional keyboard and full cover protection, including water resistance. It's available in matte black and the tilt is fully adjustable.
Airbender case for iPad mini
A thermoplastic hardshell composition makes up the body. The outside is covered with a rubberized layer. An arm that functions as a prop is composed of aluminum. The arm also affords both vertical and horizontal positions and allows you to adjust the viewing angle and distance.
The Airbender weighs 9.1 ounces (258 g). A Wi-Fi iPad mini weights 10.9 ounces (308 g), so this case almost doubles the weight. However, the protection is seriously good.
Airbender case, back view
Auto shut-off provided by a magnet is also included along with the built-in Li-Ion battery. The battery is non-removable.
The low profile keyboard (0.4-in) offers wireless Bluetooth 2.0 connection and pairs easily to your mini. The box includes the case, a micro-USB charging cable, and a user manual. The company provides a limited 30 day money back guarantee and a limited ten month original manufacturer warranty.
Airbender case, open, front view
The aluminum arm attached to the case can be opened and the angle of the tilt adjusted to your preferences. The iPad mini can be completed separated from the keyboard if desired.
Adjusting the tilt for preferred viewing
Using the Product
This case has several advantageous features. When fully encased and all the ports covered, it can easily withstand a downpour or even a drop into very shallow water. It comes apart so that the mini is separated from the keyboard, but it is designed in such a way that the mini is still fully protected. One reason for this is the design of the case. Note in the following image that the mini is placed in the case and then the lid fastens shut over it. The lid includes a protective plastic screen.
View of lid used to secure mini in case
All of this protective coverage does have one downside. It is very, very difficult to remove the iPad mini from the case should you wish to do so. The case snaps together in eight places and those places hold firmly. I had to use a small screwdriver to press on the catch releases to get them open.
The keyboard is very nice and easy to use. Keys are black with white markings. Frequently uses keys such as ‘, ‘’, [ ] and ( ) are included on other, normal keys and accessed with the aid of a function key. It also has page up/down and home/end buttons. I had no trouble using the touch typing technique, but I will include the caveat that I have small hands. Still, I believe most users will find the keyboard to be perfectly adequate for fast typing.
The Bluetooth pairing was simple and quick and instructions for pairing are included in the manual.
Using the built-in stand to position the tilt is also easy. Instructions are included in the manual, but the basic concept is to raise the stand and pull it out so that the tilt options are available. The same technique is used to separate the iPad from the keyboard.
Do I recommend it?
I do. The price is extremely reasonable at US$39.95. I particularly like the option to remove the keyboard portion of the case from the iPad portion so that it is easy to hold the iPad for reading. Think separating the saucer section from the rest of the ship on Star Trek.
The Bluetooth capabilities work seamlessly and Bluetooth will shut down automatically when not in use. Also, it is not necessary to repeat the pairing process once it has been put into effect. Although I found it very difficult to open the case to remove the iPad mini, I would assume people using the case on a regular basis won't be bothered by this because the need to remove the mini won’t be present.