The Padacs Rubata Mini promises to protect your iPad mini while speeding up your text entry --and it does both at a great price. This keyboard case dons a smart-looking, business-casual exterior with a Bluetooth keyboard that boasts superb tactile feedback. At $39, this accessory costs half as much as many other keyboard cases, making it a compelling value.
Click to EnlargeMobile pros, meet your iPad mini keyboard case. The Padacs Rubata Mini's synthetic leather exterior is sharp, clean and neat, right down to the white-stitching accents. We enjoyed the Ionic Keyboard Tablet Case's faux-leather material slightly more because of its textured and grippy feel. However, the Rubata Mini's simple, metal clasp was much easier to close than that of the Ionic case, which has a leather strap you must stuff through a loop.
The Bluetooth keyboard on the inside of the Rubata Mini isn't removable, but it's covered in the same sharp, synthetic leather as the case's outer shell. The iPad mini slides into a pocket at the top and rests conveniently in clamshell mode with plenty of space to access ports and buttons.
The Rubata's stand won't work well in your lap because it's thin and a little flimsy; still, it's effective for tabletop use even though you can't adjust the display's tilt very much.
Click to EnlargeAbove the Rubata Mini's keyboard are LED lights that indicate caps lock, Bluetooth and power, along with buttons to power on and pair the keyboard. The Ionic doesn't have those LED indicators, but its power and pairing buttons are located below the keyboard. A microUSB port on the Rubata Mini's side is used to recharge the device.
Like the Ionic Keyboard Tablet Leather Case, you must press the Function key along with the assigned number button to access iPad-specific controls such as media playback, brightness and volume. You even have to press the Fn key to activate the home button, something none of the other cases we've tested require.
Click to EnlargeThe Rubata Mini's island-style keyboard has a comfortable, matte plastic finish. We enjoyed responsive tactile feedback, and hit 58 words per minute with 99 percent accuracy on the Tap Typing test. That show is just shy of our scores on the Ionic keyboard case (59 wpm, 98 percent) and the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Mini cover case (61 wpm, 98 percent), two of our favorite keyboard cases.
Our fingers stumbled when we tried to tap the small Enter key, but we adjusted with time.
Click to EnlargeWhen it comes to iPad mini cases with 7-inch keyboards, the $40 Padacs Rubata Mini is an excellent choice. Despite a few undersized buttons, it is fast and responsive, and its clean-cut exterior is great for professionals. We prefer the $50 Ionic Keyboard case because its savvy leather exterior comes in two color options and its keyboard is detachable, but the Rubata Mini's strong typing performance and low price make it a strong alternative.