By Louis Senecal on Fri, 07/22/2011
Here is part 3 of the WeKreat Bento review by my friend Joyce. As I mentioned in a different review, she’s a new iPad 2 user. She has given the Bento a very thorough evaluation. I had tested this out previously with the iPad 1. While the Bento is iPad 1 backwards compatible, you get more bang for your buck in my opinion if you are an iPad 2 user.
(I have added the links at the bottom of Part 1 (unboxing) and Part 2 (iPad 1 usage) of the review.)
“I’ve been testing WeKREAT’s Bento multi-functional cover style battery case for my iPad2 for about two weeks. The Bento, while relatively sleek, is too wide to fit into my iPad-ready purse, which I bought expressly to carry my iPad wherever I go. As a result, most of my Bento trials were conducted at home.
The Bento consists of a two part case, a rubbery cover for the iPad itself and a plastic bottom which contains the battery. The units snap together snugly to form one protective box, with textured edges for gripping ease. The appearance is high tech, urban and sophisticated, though it still somehow reminds me of a turtle shell (if you can imagine a street-wise turtle sporting an Apple icon, that is). The whole assembly does add weight and width to the iPad2, which may or may not be a factor in its desirability. The Bento charges both iPads and iPhones, so having a readily available means to charge either appliance at any time may be worth the added heft.
The Bento comes with no written directions; instead, the back of the packing box directs users to the WeKREAT website for a tutorial (www.wekreat.com/bento_manual.html.) This tutorial provides a multifunctional demo, instructions for charging the Bento and the iPad 2 and iPad cable storing reel installation. Each video is accompanied by the same catchy hip-hop tune, whose singer repeats, “Come on, come on,” in time to the beat. I had to watch the videos several times in succession since I was attempting to follow along with the Bento-savvy demonstrator – or rather the demonstrator’s hands and forearms. Listening to the same the musical snippets over and over had a grating effect. I began to think the lyric’s exhortations to “Come on, come on,” were a subtle mockery of my inability to “get it” with the first viewing.
Be my sensitive nature as it may, I’ve learned from this experience with voiceless video instructions that sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words. There is indeed some text to support a couple of segments; however, detailed written directions would have been helpful. I spent way too much time attempting to “Place the bulge into the dip where hinge rubber rests,” as I tried to vertically prop up the iPad using the Bento stand feature. I finally realized that the video assumes the viewer has already affixed the rubbery cover to the iPad. It is on this cover that a “bulge” exists which fits into a dip in the case, thus securely holding up the iPad. As all iPad users know, there is no “bulge” on the device itself, though I certainly did search in vain for one. A video demo or written mention of attaching the cover seems to be the logical starting point for the entire Bento learning process. This first frustration gave me the impression that the Bento cover and battery would be difficult to master, even though many of the visual instructions were not that complicated.
In spite of any deficiencies in the instructional videos, I recommend viewing them all before forging ahead with use of the Bento. Since real women don’t view directions, I gamely went ahead with charging my iPad via the Bento before I understood that the Bento battery needs to be charged as well. I was confused by the iPad’s meager 13% charge, which was an issue I brought on myself by not watching the video clips. I also recommend enlarging the mini-movies as much as possible to catch details. (Another step I failed to take…learn from my mistakes.)
The Bento “turtle shell” provides rock solid protection for the iPad. When snapped together, the two halves form a fortress to keep your device from assaults and falls. While it would probably not withstand a deluge of water, the case at least offers a first defense against coffee mug mishaps and inclement weather. In point of fact, the cover and case fit together so tidily they take some finagling to separate. Even from watching the video, which most certainly would want to paint the Bento in the best possible light, it’s clear that a bit of finger muscle is in order to pry the parts asunder. Better a tight fit than a sloppy one, but be prepared for a bit of minor separation work.
The Bento cover and case contain everything an iPad2 or iPhone user needs to recharge the device. It’s ingeniously designed to hold the iPad cable in a concealed reel. It took a bit of practice to successfully wind the cable around the reel and install it, but navigating the learning curve was worthwhile for optimal use of this sleek apparatus. The Bento also comes with a cleaning cloth which does its job very well, and an additional USB output for portable device charging.
The Bento battery is valuable for those who work in the field, travel frequently, commute regularly, or live in areas where power outages are frequent. It’s an excellent backup power source and has been designed with intelligence and forethought. As noted earlier, it would have been beneficial to offer written as well as visual instructions. One caveat: if you are forever forgetting to charge your phone or your iPod or iPad and scrambling to do so at the most inopportune times, keep in mind that the Bento battery is one more item on your list of electronics that need to be plugged in and charged. If you can remember to keep that charge, you need never be without your iPad2 or iPhone!”
Part 2-iPad 1 Usage with Bento
$130 (Value Pack: TPU case, HD protective film, Stand and backup battery charger)