The Complete Guide to iPad Cases and Protection
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We typically steer clear of recommending sleeves for iPods and iPhones, but iPad users may find that they make more sense. The concept is to totally envelop the iPad inside protective material, using a flap or zipper to open and release the device when it’s needed. In almost every one of these cases, the designs speak for themselves—you either like how they look, or don’t—so we’re sorting them by price and focusing our brief notes on fit and scope of protection, with bare opinions otherwise.
Kensington Reversible Sleeve ($10): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. The best-priced iPad case looks nicer when its gray interior is flipped out to become its exterior.
LaCie Coat Laptop ($15): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes, except for the iPad’s top side corners, which can be a little bit exposed. The pocket’s just big enough for headphones and a USB cable, not much more.
Acme Made Skinny Sleeve ($30): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes, though the top of the case is open with long flaps that cover the iPad’s top surface fully, but loosely.
Griffin Jumper ($30): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes.
Essential TPE Puff Sleeve ($30): Does it fit? Yes, though we’re a little uncomfortable with running a zipper so close to the iPad’s side. Is everything protected? Yes.
Booq Boa Skin XS ($30): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Almost. The top surface of the iPad is exposed, albeit with a layer of reinforced “Twylon” extending out above it.
Be-ez L.A. Robe Allure ($30): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. The zipper here has more space relative to the iPad than the Essential TPE Puff above.
Capdase ProKeeper (TBD): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. Our gut feeling is that this case will fall in the $20-$30 range when it receives an official price.
i-Nique Tuff-Luv Pull Tab (£20): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? No, the iPad’s top edge is fully exposed, as are its upper side corners, and the case opens a bit such that other items could slide into its front or back.
Essential TPE Ultra Protection Sleeve Slim ($35): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? No, the iPad’s top surface is exposed, as are a little of its back and front—ironic considering the case’s name.
Brenthaven Bill-Fold Sleeve ($35): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. But the Velcro-sealed sides don’t provide quite the same feeling of security as in other cases here, and the case has a little more interior give than many of the other options.
Belkin Max Sleeve ($40): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes, and the zipper has nice padding to keep away from the iPad’s edge. The front zipper pocket has enough space to hold headphones and power accessories.
M-Edge Touring Sleeve ($40): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. Double-zippers enable charging while the iPad’s inside this case, a rear pocket has space for power and headphone accessories, and a side zipper opens to reveal a small handle that can be used for carrying in a pinch.
Belkin Cap Sleeve ($40): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes, though one edge of the iPad will be exposed a little bit because the Cap Sleeve doesn’t fully close—it just comes close.
Incase Neoprene Sleeve Plus ($40): Does it fit? Yes, though the case is on the bulky side and doesn’t have a special compartment for the included passive video stand. Is everything protected? Yes.
Griffin Elan Sleeve ($50): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? No, the top edge is largely exposed. Weeks after we received it, this case still has an oddly sticky texture.
Marware Eco-Envi ($50): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes, though the top corners of the envelope are just the tiniest bit open when it’s sealed up. The textures are different on the two colors: white is a little glossy and black has a coarser feel that’s easier to grip.
M-Edge Leisure Jacket ($50): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. This is the most unusual of all of the sleeves here—sort of a play-through case, but sort of not, due to its clear front face. With the iPad sealed inside, you can use the screen with modestly reduced touch sensitivity, though access to ports and side controls is limited by the location of the dual zippers. A very large zippered, compartmented pocket on the back is useful for different accessories, as well.
Waterfield Designs Smartcase ($59): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? No. The top is exposed, as are the top side corners, although several millimeters below the top lip of the case.
Incase Travel Kit Plus ($60): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. This case is a major exception in the “sleeve” section in that it is, in fact, an iPad sleeve, but also has a huge front compartment with enough space for Apple’s Wireless Keyboard—not the iPad Keyboard Dock—as well as virtually any other accessories you could possibly hope to bring along. A passive plastic video stand is also included in the package, adding to its value as a travel pack.
Vaja Retro Slim Jacket ($120): Does it fit? Yes. Is everything protected? Yes. Only concern is the magnetic seal system, which could scratch a screen or iPad back if you’re not careful during insertion.
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