Built like a tank, with enough juice to fly from JFK to Adelaide
While Apple touts 10-hour battery life for the iPad mini, there are times when extra juice can really save the day. iOS accessory maker PADACS apparently thought so, too, and decided to build an entire case around this need.
The result is the Enduro Mini for iPad mini, which stitches an 8000mAh Li-ion battery pack into the front cover of an attractive polyurethane case available in your choice of black, pink, or blue. The manufacturer claims the exterior is scratch-resistant, although we did manage to scuff it up a little using the edge of a metal ruler. The battery pack is slim, but it adds considerable heft: with an iPad mini inside, the case weighs just over 26 ounces, with a thickness of 1.125 inches.
Using a magnetized strap, the Enduro Mini closes like a book when not in use. While convenient, this doesn’t actually provide much protection from being opened accidentally—we did it with just the flick of a finger. The strap also hangs in front of the screen when held in landscape view, but can be tucked behind the tablet with a little effort.
Inside, four black ears securely hold the iPad mini in place—but only if you gently press each corner to make sure the rubber lip is raised above the edge first. The anti-slip interior is slightly rubberized, which comes in handy when folded into a kickstand, adjusting to almost any viewing angle.
At the bottom of the front flap is an input jack for the included charging cable, which reaches full charge in about 4.5 hours using an iPad mini adapter. (Enduro Mini doesn’t come with one, and the tablet can’t be charged at the same time.) Four LEDs show remaining battery life in 25-percent increments, but they’re bright enough to be quite distracting, particularly in a darker room. Also featured are a power-on button and micro-USB jack; the case powers off automatically when not in use.
Since Apple devices don’t use micro-USB, PADACS includes a small adapter cable with a full-sized USB plug on the end. Unfortunately, this means users are also reguired to carry their own Lightning cables for charging, which wind up dangling uncomfortably in your lap when used in portrait mode.
On the plus side, micro-USB allows the Enduro Mini to be used with nearly any gadget on the market, and PADACS rates the case for up to 125 percent of the standard iPad mini battery life—roughly 22.5 hours with both devices fully charged. Our tests came up a little short of that playing video in an endless loop, but there’s nearly enough juice for a flight from New York City to PADACS’ home base in South Australia before you’ll need to recharge.
The bottom line. Although well constructed, the PADACS Enduro Mini is too heavy, thick, and inconvenient for day-to-day use. However, for those who frequently travel long distances, this case offers decent protection and more than doubles the iPad mini’s battery life.