New Trent Airbender 1.0 Wireless Bluetooth Clamshell Keyboard Case Review

I have had my iPad 2 for many years. I only used it initially to get myself familiar with how it works and how to support it. I found that a tablet is good for checking the web for information and connecting to various social networks through apps. However, the lack of a hardware keyboard really impairs its ability to create a large document or type in a lot of commands. As a result, I didn’t use the iPad much after the initial excitement wore off. I got an opportunity to try this keyboard case and I am very happy with it.

The shipping is fast if you buy it from idealpoint. The keyboard case came in a nice shiny box. The package includes the case and a micro USB charging cable. The build quality is great. The case is made of hard plastic with a matte finish. I like the matte finish because it’s not a fingerprint magnet, compared to a glossy finish, which is. The hinge/stand is made of metal and very strong. The case has cutouts for the buttons, switches, camera, microphone, speaker, headphone jack and charging port. I was able to charge the iPad using a cable, but you might not be able to charge your iPad if you have a docking station (which is normal for most of the cases).

The first row of keys are function keys, including the following: home button, brightness up, brightness down, soft keyboard toggle, cut, copy, paste, rewind, play/pause, forward, mute, volume down, volume up and sleep/lock. The keyboard is a typical chiclet keyboard that you can find on smaller laptops. Even though the keys are smaller than the standard size, I find them easy to type with without my hands feeling cramped. It has dedicated arrow keys and bigger shift keys just like the standard keyboard, which is a plus. You can use the keyboard with iPad in either portrait position (vertical) or landscape position (horizontal). There are two positions (two viewing angles) where you can rest the iPad on the keyboard. You can also fine tune the position by moving the hinge in the back.

One thing I like about the keyboard is that you can use it on your lap, unlike some of the other keyboards on the market. However, what I find odd about the case is when the iPad is in tablet position (lying horizontally on top of the keyboard). The keyboard case works well when you need to use the keyboard, but it doesn’t fold flat when you don’t need to use the keyboard. This makes holding the iPad rather awkward. When you hold the case, it’s more like holding a binder than holding a book.

Installation is really easy- just snap your iPad to the case. Make sure you hear the clicking sound when you press down the corners. If this is the first time you use it, you might want to charge the keyboard first. The keyboard has three indication lights: chrg, battery and pair. When you are done charging, the chrg light turns off and battery light turns blue. Turn on the keyboard by using the on/off switch. You have to pair the keyboard with the iPad first before you can use it. Press the connect button on the keyboard and it puts the keyboard to pairing mode. Go to Settings -> Bluetooth on the iPad to finish pairing. When I first used the keyboard, I noticed there was a slight delay when I pressed a key. However, I don’t notice any delay now that I have used it for a while. I use the keyboard whenever I can and feel like I am using a laptop. I was able to use the keyboard with the remote desktop client and SSH client while typing various commands efficiently. This is a huge thumbs up for me, because I can just take the iPad with me when I am not in my office. I don’t have to carry a heavy laptop with me any more.

Pros:

  • Touch typing possible
  • Solid build quality
  • On/Off switch to save battery usage
  • Matte finish

Cons:

  • The case does not fold flat when you don’t use the keyboard.

Overall, the keyboard case transforms your iPad into a lightweight laptop. You can type with speed and accuracy. I recommend this keyboard case to any iPad 2/3/4 owners who would like a keyboard.

Note: I am part of the New Trent Pilot program. I bought the case at a discount in exchange for my review.