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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice case and keyboard - only let down by two flaws
Review of New Trent iMini case and bluetooth keyboard

DISCLAIMER: I received a version of this case to review, and I have attempted to be objective given that.

Unboxing:

The case arrives in a sturdy and well organized box that is easy to open:

Inside the box the case is neatly packaged and is covered in a plastic wrap that...
Published 8 months ago by White

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great product, but bluetooth failed
I loved the design of the case, it worked very well, and the ability to remove the hinge made things work pretty too. However, after a few weeks of use the bluetooth failed. I am getting another one .
Published 5 months ago by Doctor College


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice case and keyboard - only let down by two flaws, 23 Oct 2013
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
Review of New Trent iMini case and bluetooth keyboard

DISCLAIMER: I received a version of this case to review, and I have attempted to be objective given that.

Unboxing:

The case arrives in a sturdy and well organized box that is easy to open:

Inside the box the case is neatly packaged and is covered in a plastic wrap that protects from dust and other contaminants during storage and shipping.
It also comes with an instruction tab for removal, and the power supply for the bluetooth keyboard is packaged separately in a cardboard container.

First impressions:

Underneath the case in the box is an instruction manual for using the case including directions on how to fit the iPad mini into the unit which is a multi-step task that requires some attention to detail to get right, but is straightforward if one follows the instructions carefully.
The case feels rugged and sturdy. It has a rubberized texture that is water repellant and is easy to grip and which also adds an extra level of tactile security to holding the iPad mini so that it will not slip in one's hand when being carried. It is reasonably heavy compared to other slim-fit flip cases, but given that the New Trent case provides the promise of more durable protection for the iPad mini, the choice of this case is inevitably trading off that protection against the additional weight and bulk. That is a decision that the purchaser is likely to have already made in order to gain the functionality and physical integrity of a hard case like the New Trent case.

Opening the case involves unlatching a small rubber insert at the top. The case opens a little stiffly until one gets used to its design, but that sensation is not hard to overcome in daily use.

What feels a little strange at first is that the top part of the unit that holds the iPad mini flops around a little. The initial impression is that this will lead to the iPad mini not resting firmly down on the keyboard section when it is in use. However, this proves not to be the case, and a judicious use of the adjustable nature of the removable top-unit slide in/out clasp means that it is possible to achieve a very steady seating position for the iPad mini behind the bar at the top of the keyboard area quite adequately. In addition, the weight of the iPad mini once inserted adds to the stability of the top part of the unit resting on the keyboard area below.

The reason for this is that the case is not a traditional clamshell design but a two part construction. The top section can be entirely removed from the keyboard beneath by sliding out the clasp that is connected to the rotating circle on the back of the case.

Another feature that is immediately obvious on opening the case is that there is a protective shield for the iPad mini that sits in front of the iPad mini screen. This is glued into the case and is not a peel off screen protector. It adds an additional layer of protection for the iPad mini screen when in use.

Inserting the iPad:

The instruction manual does lead one through the iPad insertion process properly, but could be clearer and use more photographic representation to assist the user in inserting the iPad mini into the case. For example, it isn't immediately obvious that the rubberized cover surrounding the iPad cover is detachable, but, that is exactly what the instructions indicate should be removed in order to gain access to the plastic case it surrounds. A new user of the case may feel hesitant performing the deconstruction initially and the instructions could do more to visually assist the user.

The next challenge comes in opening the plastic iPad mini covering. There are depressible plastic latches all around the case which are not easy to press down. A concern for some might be not wanting to press too hard and break the latches. It is also not easy to coordinate pressing all the latches down and the case will inevitably bend slightly until the first few are opened.

Once this has been achieved however, the two pieces come apart easily and the iPad mini fits snugly into the bottom section of the unit.

The *next* challenge comes in reattaching the top part of the case - the piece through which you view the screen. Of necessity, this is a tight fit once the iPad mini is in place so that it does not move around. That has both good and bad points. The good is that one can feel secure in the knowledge that the iPad mini is not going to get scratched by any friction while inside the case. The bad is that it is quite difficult to get the case completely shut and all the plastic latches firmly seated back under their clasps.

However, once inserted and resealed, the iPad mini is held firmly in place and there is no fear of it dropping out!

The final step in the setup is to reattach the rubber surround to the plastic case. That part is not hard, but there was a little confusion as to where the small flap cover for the home switch goes. It does not fit in the slot in the case but over the top of it.

All in all, the process takes a few minutes to complete, and carefully followed, the instructions are accurate if a little sparser than they could be.

The case in use:

Firstly, the top unit is entirely detachable from the keyboard. This can be useful if one desires to use the iPad mini without the keyboard. However, the clasp remains part of the upper unit and some may find that distracting when holding the iPad mini section by itself because of the extra bulk compared with a slim-fit case.

The clasp has a number of notches that allow placing the iPad mini at a variety of different angles. These appear well designed so that in normal use there will be no slippage between settings.

There are no issues in accessing the power or volume buttons which are covered by rubber, nor in hearing the speakers. However, there is a understandably a very slight degradation in audio quality given that the case is now covering the iPad mini speakers but there are speaker outlet holes in the side that let the sound through almost as normal. The mute / rotate switch, earphone jack and lightning cable connector are accessible via sealable rubber flaps. There is also an adequate camera hold in the back of the case covered by a plastic insert. I did not try the camera through this opening but it does not appear to impede normal lens use and there is no flash occlusion to be concerned about on the iPad mini.

Some users may find the top part of the unit stands too vertical without sliding the clasp out of the unit a few notches.

Secondly, finding the correct angle and placement for use is a matter of personal taste. In practice, it seems best to slide the clasp out a short way and then gently pull the screen forward over the keyboard a little. Once that is done, the iPad sits steadily in place behind the ridge at the back of the keyboard. In use, this caused no stability problems even when typing on the keyboard fairly quickly. However, it does take this extra step otherwise the tendency will be for the iPad to appear to flop around instead of sitting stationary.

There appears to be a small amount of extra flexibility in the rubber covering around the keyboard which lends itself to it appearing to bend a little and not fit quite so precisely. In practice this is no impediment to using the device, but could allow dirt or other contaminants to get into and under the keyboard section. This may be unique to the particular unit I received and other users may not experience the same flexibility.

Responsiveness of the iPad mini within the case:

There is no apparent reduction in touch usage created by the plastic screen cover when using a finger. Swiping across the screen to unlock feels like swiping across the normal iPad mini screen. Also, there is no lag and there are no dead spots.
For example, when playing a keyboard instrument or a game where any screen latency would be unacceptable, but the New Trent case does not appear to cause any concerns with that.

Connecting the keyboard:

The keyboard is a rechargeable bluetooth keyboard that is charged using the supplied USB cable. Once charged the cable can be disconnected during normal use. The keyboard can then be paired with the enclosed iPad mini very easily. This requires turning on the keyboard using the on switch near the back on the top of the keyboard which makes it discoverable to the iPad mini and then pairing it with the iPad where it appears as New Trent Keyboard

The normal bluetooth keyboard pairing sequence then ensues, of typing the number shown into the keyboard and pressing Enter. Once that is done, the keyboard is paired with the iPad. This is a very straightforward process and there was no difficulty involved in getting the iPad mini to see the New Trent keyboard.

Using the keyboard:

The following part of the review was written on the Bluetooth keyboard in a text note and then emailed to myself and has only been marginally edited in order to assist the flow.

----
Here is a test note that is written using the Newtrent keyboard on the Airbender mini case.

It's a very nice keyboard once one gets used to the smaller keys and the narrow space bar.

I like to use both thumbs to space with as needed - but most often my right thumb. The space bar is off center - to the left - which means I sometimes hit the forward slash key instead of the space bar. But I can nearly touch type on it with ease.

The keys are plastic-topped - not rubber, although they appear to rest on a rubber membrane underneath. However, apart from any clumsy typing on my part the keys were always responsive.

Auto-repeat works as do the arrow keys, page up / down, home and end - which like some other specialized functions are accessed using the blue Fn key. One small oddity is that quote and double quote are accessed via the blue Fn key as well via o and p.

The volume and mute controls work via Fn from the keyboard, as do the brightness controls. Using Fn tilde / backquote gets to the iOS home screen. Twice takes you to the process management screen (on iOS 7 - where you swipe up to kill a process or scroll left and right to select one. I imagine it would work the same to give you the bottom bar process management on iOS 6.)

Fn = locks the screen - but again turns it back on without needing to swipe the unlock on the lock screen. This acts like the magnetic close latch and is therefore not a surprise after realizing what it's doing.

Screen usage is generally OK, but, ironically, the NewTrent mesh pen requires a firmer press against the plastic screen covering (which does not adhere to the iPad by the way - just rests on top of it.). Since I had previously purchased the mesh pen for screen writing on the iPad / mini, and commented at how smoothly it glides across the surface, this was a little disappointing in using them in combination.

This note was written on the keyboard in the case. :-)
---

In summary: the keyboard is very nice once one gets used to the slightly different arrangement caused by having to pack the keys into a small space. For all that, I could touch type on the keyboard with ease within a few minutes and I would say it is one of the nicest small keyboards I've used.

The case can also be rotated on the circular part of the rear clasp as above, and there is no issue with stability once the same "pull forward slightly and seat" approach is used to obtain the optimum position behind the keyboard.

Now for the problems...:

There are two main - and in this reviewer's opinion, significant - concerns with this case:

1.) It cannot receive a 30-pin to lightning connector. This is a major drawback if you are using any 30- pin peripherals with an iPad mini as it necessitates removing the iPad mini from the case. A normal lightning charging cable fits just fine via the opening, but there is simply no way to insert a 30-pin to lightning connector. I suspect other peripherals with a wider header may also suffer the same problem. I consider this a serious drawback with this case. As a musician, all my external peripherals use the older 30-pin connection and I cannot use them without the 30-pin to lightning adapter. Hence I cannot use them with the iPad mini in the New Trent case.

2.) This leads to the second major drawback with the case. Removing the iPad mini. It was impossible to depress the plastic clasps using a finger as when initially opening the case halves to insert the iPad mini. I had to resort to very carefully using the blade of a flat- head screwdriver to get enough leverage on the clasps to depress them enough to release them. I was very concerned about damaging the iPad mini if I happened to slip with the screwdriver, and there are inevitable concerns about scratching the New Trent case and /or breaking the plastic clasps by the simple action of having to use the screwdriver and significant force.

A better method needs to be devised in future releases of this case to allow for faster and easier insertion, but especially removal, of the iPad mini.

Conclusion:

Overall I like this case a great deal. It is sturdy and the rubberized exterior means that it feels secure in the grip of the hand. Although it isn't padded - and would likely not protect the iPad from serious damage due to dropping from any height, it nonetheless provides obvious protection from knocks and bumps when closed. When open however, the screen protector is only plastic and if struck with any force would not protect the iPad screen within. It does serve to protect from scratches and dust nicely however.

The keyboard is a delight to use after getting used to its compact layout. The screen protector offers little impediment to normal use, but, as noted does require a slightly firmer pressure if using a stylus - even a New Trent mesh stylus.

Pros:

Rugged
Elegant
Sturdy
Delightful keyboard which adds functionality to normal iPad keyboard use. Mostly well engineered for compact fitting.
Easy access to all the iPad mini switches, speakers and jack. iPad mini to bluetooth keyboard connectivity was robust.
Recommended for users who will always keep the iPad mini in this case such as architects, landscapers, tradespersons, doctors, outdoor sports enthusiasts etc. In fact anyone who normally uses an iPad in a more taxing environment and for those who need to add a physical keyboard to their iPad mini experience.

Cons:

Not always easy to seat the iPad mini in place behind the keyboard but it can be achieved satisfactorily with practice.

*VERY* difficult to remove the iPad mini without fear of breaking the case or scratching the iPad itself. *IMPOSSIBLE* to use a 30-pin to lightning connector while the iPad mini is in the case.

Heavier than a normal user might expect - certainly for reading or in the hand use - and probably too much case even for regular office use.

FINAL SCORE: 4 / 5

This would have been 5 out of 5 if not for the major two concerns noted in the Cons section.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Trent NT31B, 23 Oct 2013
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector) (Personal Computers)
NT31B. 102-8350181-2256221
First, I must say that I am in my mid 40s business woman who highly depend on my IPad Mini Tablet. With that being said, I require and want a keyboard case that is not only functional but also stylish. Straight out of the box, the case is made for heavy duty use. Like a lot of individuals, I'm am normally not a read the instructions type of person. I was able to put the case together without any issues. I was even able to sync the keyboard without assistance. The finish product actually gives the IPad Mini a distinctive look and it does not add to much weight. The one thing I think I would change is the small flap piece to keep the case closed. Unsure on what a better design would be but I think there should be one. Also, offering colors would increase your market.

The keys themselves appear to be rugged enough to high usage. I have smaller than normal hands and the size is good. The adjustable arm allows iPad mini screen to be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. And being able to remove the IPad mini from the case is a plus when wanting to take pictures. A plus for the case is that it is affordable.

I take my muni with me wherever I go and have had many questions and compliments about the case. I even went to my local Mac store for an issue I was having with my Mini and all of the Sales Reps went crazy over the product. During this trip I did have to remove the Mini from the case and it was quite difficult. Future design should consider an easy removal.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mini in size, great for function, 21 Sep 2013
By 
David Hocutt "Tech GERD" (Newport News, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
Design:
- The keyboard design is different that the New Trent Blue Tooth keyboard for the iPad Retina. For example, to actuate the "Home" button (upper left) requires the Fn + Home button on the iPad Mini keyboard; on the iPad Retina just the "Home" button is required. I use the home button frequently. I know the keyboard is smaller, but I recommend leaving the "Home Button" as primary and making the "~" button used with the Fn button.
- The keys have great feel, positive feedback when pressed, and large enough despite the small keyboard.
- The Silicone sleeve fits well, except for the main latch. It did not fit well or stay connected. Suggest using a Velcro latch or another attachment that fits more snugly.
- The clear plastic cover is a very good idea. It protects the iPad screen but does not interfere with the touch accuracy. Well done!
- The hinge is very stiff, which is good. The stiff hinge prevents the iPad Mini from "flopping" around, possibly damaging the unit.
Overall rating: 4
- The silicone sleeve is not as good as a hard shell case and gives the unit a slightly odd feel. If protection is the main object, then silicone is probably better.
- The Fn + Home button combination is not convenient.
- Great button feel and feedback.
- Easy to connect and use.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great in a pinch, 17 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
I got this and put my iPad mini 2 with Retina Display into this setup immediately. The reason I got this was because I have been a laptop user for almost 20 years. All of a sudden, I have to use a tablet, and I have big, clumsy fingers. I have to say it is still smaller than the typical keyboard I am used to, but it is easier to use that the tiny screen keyboard that pops up on the iPad mini. Initially, the bluetooth setup could not have been easier. Other bluetooth devices I have used in the past have had a short battery life, this keyboard had an amazing battery life and a great ability to wake up from sleep. I used the keyboard, for an entire day, and never ran out of battery life during that day. When I was not using the keyboard, it did go to sleep but woke up quickly and re-connected to the iPad mini almost instantly. It works seamlessly with every application I use on a daily basis.
The two down sides I can find are:
1. When you flip the tablet over it does not fold flat and makes the entire device a bit awkward. Most of this is due to the shape of the hinge and the rigidity of the material it is made of.
2. The connector that keeps the keyboard and the iPad mini attached is a little difficult to unclip & reconnect to the iPad mini.
If it wasn't for these two issues, I would have given it a 5 star. Otherwise, it was a great solution for my laptop woes! OH, one last thing, I did drop it off my dresser at home and the case did protect the screen! YEAH! I was worried that the screen would crack since it landed on my keys, but everything was alright! Even though it feels a lot lighter than my last case it definitely protected it from a 5 foot drop right onto the screen on top of a set of keys! A great case!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 15 Nov 2013
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
I installed this case on my iPad Mini a week ago, and I don't foresee taking it off. It works as advertised and was priced well below other similar cases. I noted only two things that were not to my liking:
1.) The case has a very snug fit, so you have to remove any screen or full body protector you have on your iPad.
2.) The space bar is a little too small for liking.
That being said I would recommend this case to my friends, family and associates as a good value for the money. I have given this case a 5 Star rating after communicating with New Trent and they have told me that at least the snugness issue is being addressed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
Solid quality
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 23 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
I have had this for two weeks now but not got round to use it but will do soon thank you
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very rugged, great with or without the keyboard attached, 21 Jun 2014
By 
Tom L (Midwest, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
I've tried three different cases now for my iPad Mini with Retina display.
After several weeks of use, the New Trent Airbender Mini has become my
preferred case due to its high level of protection (it truly is a rugged
case) and flexibility.

For those that have done their research with the iPad Mini with Retina
Display, you KNOW that it is not the same size as Apple's original iPad Mini.
It might only be fractions of a millimeter here and there, but it matters
with tight fitting cases. So, I am happy to report that the New Trent Airbender case
fits PERFECTLY on my Mini with Retina Display. No worries there. Yes,
there's even a hole for the second microphone that Apple put on the backside
of the Retina Display model (seems to be a spot forgotten by other vendors).

The case is VERY rugged. It consists of five pieces... the rubber
protection piece for the back and edges of the screen, a screen protector
with edges, a back plate for the screen to snap in the protector, the
bluetooth keyboard, and the metal hinge piece. All ports have rubber plugs
covering them except for the two microphones, and there are holes for the
speakers. Thus, the case is water resistant and not water proof. It seemed
that the sound from the speakers was even BETTER with the case on... not
sure how New Trent did that.

The keyboard pairs easily and reliably with bluetooth, and the on/off switch
for the bluetooh is ON TOP and easily accessed rather than being recessed
along the side. Finally someone figured out that the on/off switch matters.
The keyboard is also rugged, but "mini" since this is for an iPad Mini, so
expect cramped typing. I adapted easily enough, but I can't say that I'd
want to do it for hours at a time, but that has been my experience with
other keyboards for the mini as well. The keyboard charges with a micro USB
port (cord included, no adapter though) and it has a red LED indicator that
shows when it is charging, and it turns off when it is full (NICE feature).
I used it for weeks without charging, so I can't tell you how long the
charge on the keyboard will last. Longer than the Mini will last though.

The metal hinge includes a connector that attaches to the screen very easily.
As a matter of fact, the best part of this product is the ability to
VERY easily take the screen off the keyboard and use it just as a tablet in
a well-protected case. A+ to New Trent.... no more popping the screen out
of the case every time you want to use it just as a tablet.

When the screen is connected to the keyboard, the hinge mechanism allows the
iPad Mini to be used in both portrait mode or landscape mode, and you can
also lay the screen almost flat on the keyboard if you don't want to detach
it.

When shut, the screen is well protected from the keyboard keys and there is
a rubber catch to keep the case shut.

I really love this product for its ability to protect the Mini well and
allow it to still be used as a tablet without completely disassembling it
from the case. With the keyboard combination, it's good to have the
portrait and landscape options for the screen. The screen stays in position
with the hinge on its own... you don't need to lean the screen against
anything.

Total review = 5 out of 5, with a special note that the case is worth it
alone for the rugged protection of the Mini. The keyboard is a bonus that
makes the package travel well for any versatility you will need.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Overall Product, 12 Jun 2014
By 
Joshua G. Ramsay (Ogden, UT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
What a great overall product!

The things I love are:

1) the durability. This thing can handle a lot of wear and tear and holds up perfectly. My 18 month old daughter gets her hands on my iPad mini from time to time and both the case and iPad are non-destructible with this product.

2) its ability to turn an iPad into a laptop. My laptop died almost 2 years ago, and since I had just graduated from college and figured I was done writing papers, I figured an iPad mini would suit all my technological needs, and it basically has. But if you are writing long emails, blogs, etc, the keyboard is a must.

3) High quality covers over buttons and ports. It just makes it feel like it's being protected from dirt and dust. I like that.

There are only 3 things I don't like about this product:

1) If you already have a screen protector, the screen protector on this sticks to it and makes it look bad. Not a huge deal, plus you can always take off the original screen protector.

2) The keyboard is not the standard keyboard and takes some getting used to. This is understandable since it has to be small enough to fit with the iPad mini's dimensions.

3) It is almost impossible to remove, and when you do remove it little pieces break, but I guess I'm hoping it holds up long enough that I won't have to remove and replace it for a long time.

Would definitely recommend the Airbender Mini to all iPad Mini users.
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4.0 out of 5 stars New Trent Airbender Mini with Bluetooth, 5 Jun 2014
This review is from: New Trent Airbender Mini - Rugged: Water Resistant, Dirt and Shockproof Wireless Bluetooth iPad Mini Keyboard case (integrated screen protector)
I would have given this keyboard case five stars if the keyboard could light up and if the punctuation marks were in the spots I'm used to finding them. However, if the keyboard had the lighting feature, I could instantly forgive the placement of the punctuation marks. I also wish it was a wee bit lighter in weight. Otherwise, this is a terrific product, perfect for the ipad user who's exposed to the outdoor elements or perhaps the cook who loves to follow recipes in the kitchen, or the camper who's especially active.
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