Brenthaven Trek Folio for iPad mini review
by JANET CLONINGER on MARCH 23, 2013 · the-gadgeteer.com
When I first try a new gadget, it can take me a while to finally find the case I prefer for it. That’s been true for my iPad mini, too. When I got that first iPad years ago, I wanted a back cover that was clear, to let the beauty of the aluminum back show through (and to be sure everyone knew I had an iPad ). Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I’ve decided I like minimal folio cases, and I don’t care if the iPad’s back shows through. I found a folio case that I liked for the mini, but I’m always willing to try another. This time I’m trying out the Trek Folio for iPad mini from Brenthaven, and it has become my favorite case for the mini. Only one slight change to the design, and it would be absolutely perfect, in my opinion.
Click any image for an enlarged view.
The Trek Folio has a polyurethane exterior with a texture that feels like a heavy linen fabric. This texture gives your fingers a good grip on the case, so it’s easier to hold and carry the mini without fear of dropping. The case has been embossed with the Brenthaven name and their mountain logo on the front. You can see that the stitching is even and straight. The line seen near the top in the above image is a “hinge” so the front can be folded into a stand.
The Trek Folio is available in white, blue, black, red, or purple. I received the blue. It measures 5.6″ wide X 8″ tall X 0.5″ thick. It weighs 3.2 ounces. At first, I did notice the thickness and weight the case added to the iPad mini, but it still weighs less than a pound. I don’t even notice the extra heft any more.
The back of the case is a hardshell, snap-on back cover for the mini. The exterior is covered with the same textured PU used on the front, but a glimpse of the hardshell is visible around the opening for the camera. There’s a tab, branded with the mountains logo, that’s been sewn onto the back to hold the case open in a stand configuration. This is the one feature I don’t like. I never use my iPad covers as a stand – not even when I used the Apple Smart Cover. I’d be happier if this tab wasn’t here so that the back was flat and if the front was a solid piece, but I realize that I’m probably in the minority with this opinion. Oh well, at least it looks nice.
When you open the case, you can see the structure of the hardshell back cover. The iPad mini snaps in easily, and it’s easy to remove, too. It’s not so easy to remove that you have to worry the mini will pop out of the case, though. It’s very secure. The hard back will protect the back and sides of the mini from scratches and from bumps.
The interior is lined with a faux suede material. I don’t notice that it keeps the screen clean, like Apple says their Smart Cover will do – but I never noticed the Smart Cover kept it clean, either. With this case, I haven’t noticed any of those lines that the Smart Cover does leave on the iPad’s screen, though.
The front has magnets embedded in it to trigger the iPad mini’s automatic sleep/wake function. It generally works well, but I do hear that distinctive “click” the sleep/wake function makes while I’m carrying the case or while it’s sitting in the map pocket of my car. You can see that the front flap doesn’t lay flat against the iPad mini’s screen, and I think the magnets in the case aren’t quite strong enough to also hold the cover closed as tightly as a Smart Cover is held.
And with use, the front hinge has gotten a little “bent”, so that the front arches up away from the screen, too. I think it would have stayed much flatter if I had never tried out the stand function for this review.
You can see that the speakers and the Lightning connector port are left uncovered. The connector is easy to use, and even a Lightning adapter will work with this case. I haven’t noticed any changes in the sound because of the case. You can see a hint of the bend in the front cover here, and you can also see the back tab is curling up a bit.
The back camera opening doesn’t interfere with taking pictures, and the screen-lock/mute slider and volume buttons are easy to use.
The headphone jack and power button are easily accessible, and the microphone is left uncovered.
The edges of the hardshell wrap around the mini’s sides, and there’s a minimal lip that wraps over onto the chamfered metal edges of the iPad. It doesn’t interfere at all with using the screen, the Home button, or the front-facing camera. It’s still easy to clean the screen, because there are plenty of openings along the edges to sweep the dust off the screen.
You’ll also notice that the front folds flat to the back, so you can hold the iPad with one hand.
There’s only one angle, and it’s a horizontal stand only. It’s a sturdy and stable stand, and it works well sitting on a table or on the mattress as I read in bed. If you like a cover that folds into a stand, you should like the Trek Folio’s stand function.
I’ve used the Brenthaven Trek Folio on my iPad mini for a few weeks now. It has replaced the KHOMO Super Slim folio case as my favorite, because its surface texture makes it easier to get a good grip on the case. It’s attractive and sturdy without adding too much bulk, and I like that I can fold the front completely flat so that I don’t need two hands to hold the iPad. As I said earlier, I’d prefer it without the stand functions, but that’s certainly not a deal breaker for me. I love the appearance, the textured exterior, and the fit of the Trek Folio. It has become my go-to case for my mini. It’s a winner!