The Complete Guide to iPad Cases and Protection
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Unlike Sleeves, which keep an iPad inside for slip-out use, this collection of iPad cases has been designed to split open and reveal the device—generally for use while still in the case. There are such similarities between these cases that we’ve put them into groups solely for the purpose of indicating which we think are standouts, and which basically blur into each other.
Marware Eco-Vue ($45): Luxuriously appointed apart from the elastic strap that holds it closed, Eco Vue is otherwise one of the sharpest-looking designs in the bunch inside and out, with nice tailoring and the sort of quality workmanship that would be worthy of a nice gift.
United SGP Vintage Edition Leather Case ($73): The most reasonably priced luxury flip case for iPads is this one, which mightn’t be the most protective of the cases in this bunch on any side, but has fantastic-looking and -feeling leather with substantial accessory compatibility. If it was more protective, it’d be an A-grade option, but we really like it anyway.
Apple iPad Case ($39): Apple’s official iPad Case is polarizing. The material feels cheap, gathers marks and dirt in ways that no other case does, and the flip-closed front isn’t secured to the rest of the case in any way. But the value of the flap as a video stand is undeniable, and the case does in fact protect much of the iPad, apart from holes on its top, side, and bottom.
Incase Convertible Book Jacket ($60): More expensive than Apple’s design, the Convertible Book Jacket is thicker and has an equally compelling—more adjustable—video stand feature. But as the case gets used a little, the iPad can slip out of its interior frame when it’s being used in reclining video mode. That aside, it’s an extremely professional looking case, if a bunch thicker than the ones noted above.
Hard Candy Bubble Sleeve ($50): The best of Hard Candy’s cases for now, Bubble Sleeve looks great inside and out, offering more protection when closed than most of the other cases here. When open, it’s an in-the-lap case only, as it doesn’t hold the iPad in place. We like it a lot, anyway.
Acme Made Slick Case IP ($40): Acme Made’s trademark glossy plastic exterior works well with this soft, fuzzy, padded interior, which uses just one big pocket to hold whatever you might want to place on the opposite side from the iPad. Note that this case is designed for the iPad to stay on the left side with elastic, zipping closed with one zipper; you can flip the iPad upside down and turn the case around if you don’t mind the exterior Acme Made logo being upside down as well.
Vaja iVolution Top ($150): Crazy expensive, this beautiful case has a design twist relative to everything else in the category: it splits into two halves so that you needn’t keep the front flap around if you desire. Soft padded leather on the front and back has holes to expose the headphone port and buttons on both the top and side, plus most of the speakers, and some very simple silver appliques.
M-Edge Executive Jacket ($50-60): If the interior iPad frame was more than just some simple elastic and leather straps, we’d like this case more, as it’s really nice from the outside, has three fine pockets on its left side, and looks a lot like Marware’s Eco Vue. But to pay more for this one when it’s less protective strikes us as unappealing; only the neat outer front tab is decisively better than Eco Vue’s design.
Marware Eco-Flip ($45): As much as we like Eco Vue, Eco Flip is the same case, only with the not-as-appealing “top-opening” flap design. At least Marware has designed Eco Flip to let the big flap properly double back against the iPad, which isn’t the case with some competitors.
Simplism Flip Leather Case ($60): Though it feels like patent leather on the outside, this case otherwise looks quite professional—available in multiple colors—and “just works.” A big pocket on the inside is offset by two more that are maybe just a little bit too small.
M-Edge Latitude Jacket ($50): Designed with generic iPad-gripping corner straps and no interior pockets, Latitude’s only real selling points are the big pockets and the nice canvas material.
Griffin Elan Passport ($50): In what feels like an uncharacteristic rush job from Griffin, Elan Passport holds the iPad only with passive corner straps, offering one big pocket on the interior left side with four spots for business cards, and has the same sticky-feeling leather on the outside.
i-Nique Tuff-Luv Bi-Axis/Multi-View Leather Cases (£37-£43): Strictly speaking, these two cases aren’t bad, providing ample protection and either one or two ways of mounting the iPad for video and other purposes, depending on which version you choose. But the cheap-looking, plasticy-feeling leather could really use some work. The absence of interior pockets may also be an issue for some users.
M-Edge Flip Jacket ($50): Poor side protection and a weak use of poor-looking materials make this case barely worthy of $10, let alone $50. If it wasn’t padded on the outside, it would be one of the worst cases we’ve seen across any Apple device; thankfully M-Edge makes some much nicer options.
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