The iPad is commonly used as a laptop replacement. It is just the perfect size to take on the go, and the fact that you can pair a keyboard with it, makes it the ultimate productivity machine. This is true of the full size iPad 2,3, and 4, but the iPad mini is just plain small. Some case manufacturers have taken on the lofty goal of making a keyboard case for the mini. MiniSuit presents an ambitious model into the market - the Bluetooth QWERTY Keyboard Stand Case for iPad mini. The company claims that with it you can essentially transform your iPad mini into an Ultrabook type of a laptop form factor, or more appropriately referred to as - a mini MacBook of sorts. Will this accessory be a hit? Check in after the break to find out.
Writers at Gadgetmac have reviewed a number of keyboard models out there made for the iPad. Because of the size of the iPad mini there are few choices out there that match up a small compact keyboard to the small frame of the device itself. MiniSuit presents the Bluetooth QWERTY Keyboard for iPad mini which essentially turns your iPad mini into a mini MacBook. It's unique hinge design and finish match up perfectly to the slate mini in color and sleekness. MiniSuit has created a real gem of a product here. In addition, it's also available in silver, blue red and yellow in a faux aluminum-esque finish.
When you first receive the product, you will see that the box looks very generic - nothing real special to it in terms of design. Opening up the box you will see just the keyboard, a cable, and some instructions. That's all that you will need.
The keyboard charges via the mini-USB to USB 2.0 cable. I was able to charge the keyboard via a computer, as well as a generic wall USB power adapter. There is an LED that tells you the unit is charging and when it has been fully charged. The rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard should last up to 55 hours of use on a single charge, with a 60 standby time.
Once you remove the keyboard from the packaging, you can simply slip in your iPad mini into the hinge area. The hinge area is padded with foam and grips on to the mini easily. I could not shake the iPad loose from the hinge and it feels pretty safe in there. In the closed position, the keyboard matches up perfectly to the outline of the iPad mini. The rounded corners match the mini, and the feel of the combined unit is thin and sleek. The keyboard feels like it just adds the width of a second iPad.
On the bottom of the keyboard there are four rubber feet that grip the surface of most tables.
The keyboard cover acts like a smart cover, so when you open up your "mini MacBook" your iPad will instantly awaken provided you set that up in your settings. Nothing hinders or blocks the screen, but I found that the screen does not go as far back as I would like. It meets resistance at a little beyond 90 degrees - far enough to be comfortable to look at, but not as far as you would like for some situations.
Now, how is the keyboard you ask? The keyboard is a chiclet style design that in all is forgiving for those of us that type fast. For those of us with larger hands, it will definitely feel somewhat cramped. I have smaller hands and was able to type relatively quickly error free after a warm up period. You will see that the keyboard makes some sacrifices in key sizes to fit everything in. Pairing the keyboard was simple. Simply turn on the mini's Bluetooth, and press the pairing button in the bottom corner of the keyboard. There is also an on/off switch that will allow you to conserve your keyboard battery when not in use.
The travel of the keys is nice, very similar to the MacBook's keyboard. I appreciated that there was a top row of functions. A home button in the top corner allows for ease in application switching, and you can access brightness controls, volume, and even music controls for your iPad.
All in all, people might wonder why you might need a keyboard for such a small tablet device. Well, why not? Most iPad keyboards go for $99 and up. The MiniSuit Bluetooth QWERTY Stand Case keyboard MSRPs at $39.99, but you can find it for a cool $25 at some retailers such as Amazon. At this price, it is hard to say that no. Considering the price, the function, the design of this keyboard, we give this product 4/5 stars. If you have smaller hands and want to use your iPad mini as a note taker, this MiniSuit Bluetooth Keyboard might be up your alley.