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The Anniston Star, Ala., Chris Pittman column [The Anniston Star, Ala. :: ]
[March 09, 2014]

The Anniston Star, Ala., Chris Pittman column [The Anniston Star, Ala. :: ]

(Anniston Star (AL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 09--Airbender 2.0 by New Trent -- $54.95 Turning the iPad Air into a notebook computer seems to be a popular theme among case manufacturers recently. NewTrent's Airbender 2.0 is one of the rare versions that work, and has quickly become one of my favorite iPad cases.

The case features the popular clamshell design of a laptop. One side has a Bluetooth keyboard that can easily be synced to the tablet. The keyboard has great battery life, as I've put it through the paces quite a bit and haven't had to charge once.

On the other end is a small circle that connects to the case for the iPad. This is by far the product's best feature as it allows the case to separate from the rest of the Airbender for normal use. When the iPad is connected to the circle, it provides the laptop-style setup previously mentioned. The iPad can be rotated a full 360 degrees while connected to the circular platform, which makes it easy to share a screen during a meeting with several people.

A compartment on the bottom of the keyboard can be pulled out to change the angle of the resting iPad -- a critical feature for getting the most out of the case.

The build-quality of the case is solid but remains light enough in weight. It can be thrown into a bag without taking up much real estate but I abstained from using a bag during my testing as the case is easy enough to carry on its own.

The functionality of the Airbender 2.0 makes it one of the best iPad cases I've ever used. While the case doesn't completely turn your iPad Air into a computer, it gets closer than most. New Trent's case is an easy recommendation.

The Soldier by Digital Treasures -- $89.95 I've reviewed several power banks in the past, but none have had the charging capacity of The Soldier. The latest from Digital Treasures packs a whopping 7800mAh of device-charging energy -- that means you can charge many tablets to full capacity on a single charge and phones can be juiced several times before needing to restore energy to the bank itself.

The Soldier has a strong, shock-proof exterior that prevents damage when dropped. An IP67 rating was given to the device, which means it's dust and waterproof. I did not personally test how the bank did while submerged in water but Digital Treasures claims it can handle submersion of up to 3 feet for a half-hour.

A flashlight is built into the front of the device. Simply press the flashlight button to cycle between dim and bright settings.

The biggest gripe I have is with the stiff power and light buttons. Quite a bit of force is needed to get a response on each press. I will say that it provides a nice buffer when carrying the bank in a bag, as there is very little chance the power button could be pressed hard enough to turn on or off during transit.

The Soldier is one of the pricier power banks I've seen in recent weeks. The build quality and amount of power, however, could be attractive to those looking for a premium bank.

___ (c)2014 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) Visit The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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