Today I am going to review both the New Trent Airbender 2.0 full body keyboard case and the Anker Ultra-Thin Keyboard. Although they are not of the same type, as one is just a keyboard attachment and the other is a full blow protective case, they are somewhat similar, it depends on how you use it.
- New Trent Airbender 2.0 – New iPad Air Wireless Bluetooth Clamshell Keyboard
- Anker® Ultra-Thin Keyboard Case
The New Trent case right now is going for $70 on Amazon, but sometimes there are coupons which are released which bring it down to about $40 which is an awesome deal for this protective keyboard case. The price matches pretty well for the case as it is super protective and includes a back cover along with a very nice keyboard.
The Anker case usually goes for about $36 but sometimes with a coupon, it can bring it down to about $20, but unfortunately due to this case being a new release, there has not been a coupon for it yet. The price is perfect because it enables you to have some money left to purchase a back cover which does not come with this keyboard case. I had to go purchase a TPU soft case which was compatible with the smart cover just to attach to the back of this to protect my iPad back cover.
I recently got an iPad air for note taking purposes and I was able to get two keyboard cases which fit the iPad air. Before, I was taking notes using my iPad 2 with a bluetooth keyboard which I put on my lap. These keyboard cases make it much more convenient to take notes with a keyboard and iPad.
I am not going to make this review super long so that it will be easier to read, I am just going to post my general thoughts of using the case after a while and include the pros and cons of each case. I am a student and I have used both of these cases for a week now switching between the two for my lecture classes. Let me say, I am taking mostly STEM courses so there is little typing in the course, more writing, such as reactions and equations so I had to also use the case outside of my lectures. There were some lectures which included lots of text I could have typed, but unfortunately switching between pen mode and typing mode is too much of a hassle and will cause me to miss some notes so I only wrote notes in class. I primarily use my iPad for my eBooks which I have purchased and to take notes using the application Notability.
The one thing I am most disappointed about is that both of these cases do not have illuminated keyboards which would have been nice, but would have also knocked up the price.
When I first saw the NT case online I was thrilled about how nice it looked, as it looks just like a laptop, and indeed it did except I absolutely hated the clip on circle part of the case. Unfortunately there is no way at all to lock the 360 spinning portion on the case and when I am using it to write notes, it keeps bobbling back and forth thus making my strokes of my stylus not as nice as I want. It is a pain to take handwritten notes with this case as no matter which position I tried, it does not want to stay still, so if NT incorporated some way to lock the rotating part it would be very nice. Even with the case off, the groove on the back of the case makes the case not sit flat thus wobble. Basically the only problems I have with this case is that rotating part, it just causes a whole lot of inconvenience when taking notes. The stand portion, you can slide it out and use it like a monitor, that feature works fine but it has to be in the correct position. I saw a misleading video which stated that the case can be used in an iMac position, where the iPad is elevated from the stand and make it look nicer, but unfortunately the iPad is too heavy for that and will fall, is is mainly due to the loose clip on part and rotating part. I found that the keyboard angle is not very good, it is at a 90 degree angle without pulling the stand portion out. It is a hassle to pull out the stand every time and have to struggle to put it back when I am done using it, I wish the angle were a little bit better, or the pull out feature was easier to use. I cannot extend the pull out portion all the way while I am in lecture due to the small size of the desk so I am unable to get the perfect typing angle. I am guessing it is hard to pull out since my case is still new and I have not pulled it out that much. Finally the case adds a bit of bulk onto the iPad, after carrying it around for a while, I rather just carry around my MacBook air as it weighs almost the same. But I am guessing if I wanted something thinner I should have gotten the Airbender Air instead of this one. It is missing a Smart Cover opening on the back cover which would have been nice.
If you like to take handwritten notes with your iPad this case is not for you as there is no way to take stable notes.
Although the case has its downsides for note-taking by hand, it is great for typing notes. The keyboard on the case is very nice, the keys are spread out so that it is not easy to accidentally tap on the wrong key. The keyboard pairs with the iPad very easily and seamlessly so it is ready whenever you need to use it. The top row contains specific buttons which you can use to control the iPad which is very useful. I can say that I can type pretty fast with this case, which is a plus when you are taking notes in class or writing and essay. This case is very slick and good looking, it looks very advanced and is very protective. The outside of the case is quite durable as I have dropped my backpack with the iPad in this case and everything was fine. Every part on this case is very nicely built and it does not feel that cheap at all, the hinges are strong so I feel safe with this on my iPad as it will not break or fall off. I think this case would be perfect for me as I sometimes tend to accidentally throw things around, but I know that this case is strong because it was stuck on the back on my iPad and I was unable to remove the back cover. I even tried using a credit card on it to try to loosen it, unfortunately the case put a dent in my card. Then I figured it out, to remove the case grasp the top right corner and the bottom left and pop it out and it should easily come out. The case also smells like new Apple products which is quite unique. The battery life on the keyboard is great, I didn’t ever need to recharge it even after using it extensively. The one thing I like the most is that even though there is a keyboard on the case and it closes so seamlessly, there are legs which protect the screen so it does get scratched and it does not leave marks like the Smart Cover does.
Everything in this case just fits perfectly together and seamlessly, I still believe that the Pros outweigh the Cons, but for my purposes I did not like using it to take handwritten notes. Whenever I have a class which will require me to take typed notes, I update this post.
- Very Strong
- Nice Looking
- Good Keyboard
- Easy to use and integrate
- Many different features and positions
- Wobbles for handwriting
- Some part are too stiff
- No backlight
- Somewhat pricey
This keyboard cover has very similar features as the NT Airbender, but is a totally different type of case as it is a cover and not a full fledged case. I am not sure if there are other colors, but I would have liked for the case to be a space grey color as the color that I have right now is a silver color, which does’t actually match my iPad at all. The case fits on like a Smart Cover and has strong magnets to ensure it does not fall. The downside of this case is that it does not include any back covering. I would actually pay a few more dollars for a TPU cover to go along with this case as this does provide front protection but not back protection, so I had to go purchase a backing for myself. I noticed that in this revision of the case, many of the buttons on the top were removed. The top gives some instructions for how to connect and use the bluetooth of the keyboard, I wish it had a physical connect button like the older version did as I am not going to remember to push Fn and C. Unfortunately the case does add a good amount of height to the iPad, I expected it to be much more flat but the “legs” which prevent the iPad screen from getting scratched are higher than expected. I did find the keyboard to be TOO slim so that it feels like I am tapping on the desk or table.
I really love this keyboard case because it does not add much bulk to my iPad and it gives me a choice of what backing I can have, plus I can remove it when I am not using it, I can just stick it in my backpack easily without having to close anything at all. The one feature I really like about this is how it stands up, the keyboard places the iPad at the perfect angle for typing and viewing on a desk. I am really impressed with the stand mechanism of this keyboard, the portion which holds the iPad up automatically pops up when you put the iPad on the groove where it sits. What I really like about the feature is that the groove contains magnets which hold down the iPad while it is on the stand and ensure that it does not fall, I mean what a genus idea of a way to use the Smart Cover magnets! I did find the keys on this keyboard to be a little more cramped then on the NT but the structure of the key with the groove is very easy to type on. The battery life on this keyboard is once again great, just like the NT I did not have to charge it at all even with extensive usage.
- Great Features
- Slim and fitting
- Enables choice of back cover
- Comfortable Viewing Angle
- Color choices
- No back covering
- Glossy color
- No backlight
Overall both cases are great I would highly recommend them. The New Trent is a solid case and I would recommend that over the Anker if you do a lot of typing and want a protective case. I would recommend the Anker if you are like me, who takes lots of handwritten notes and does occasional typing.
New Trent: I would give it a 4.8/5 as the rotating part drops the rating as it is an inconvenience. But protection wise it is great.
Anker: I would give it a 4.6/5 mainly because the looks are not that good with my black iPad and that it does not provide back protection.