Although there aren’t yet many comparable iPad mini shells on the market, AirCoat falls just short of the ideal level of iPad mini coverage. The mini’s chamfered right edge is covered, but the plastic doesn’t cover the top and bottom edges completely; the left edge is fully covered because that’s where the lid meets the shell. Boxy, narrowly-tailored cutouts along the top allow access to the headphone port, microphone, and Sleep/Wake button, while there are large openings on the right side and bottom for their respective buttons and ports. A flap on the back can hold the lid when it’s tucked behind the case, allowing AirCoat to be used as a stand in portrait or landscape orientation.
Unfortunately, the full-sized AirCoat’s main problem wasn’t resolved with this smaller version. Move the lid even the tiniest bit in one direction—as will likely happen when it’s being carried in a bag or even just by hand—and you’ll trigger the iPad mini’s automatic locking/unlocking feature. For some, hearing the clicking sound effect will simply be annoying, but in more extreme circumstances, it can lead to battery drain issues. While users always have the option to turn off the auto lock/unlock feature, you shouldn’t have to disable this just to use a certain case; fixing the lid to provide greater stability is the developer’s responsibility. One of our editors came back to a drained iPad mini on a flat desk because of this issue, while another was able to use the case in a bag without any problems. Results will vary based on your automatic screen locking settings.
The issue with the magnets in the lid, along with the fact that the price is no lower for the smaller case, are both strikes against what’s otherwise a good case. Although the $40 price isn’t crazy high, it’s reasonable to expect that lower material costs for covering the smaller iPad would translate to a savings relative to the larger version. Overall, AirCoat for iPad mini earns the same C+ rating as the full-sized version. If you’re willing to turn off the locking feature, you may find it to be a pretty good option, but you shouldn’t be expected to have to do so.
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