A Few Words on Current iPad Cases, All Of Which We’ve Tested | iLounge Backstage

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A Few Words on Current iPad Cases, All Of Which We’ve Tested

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Monday, April 12, 2010
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We’ve received quite a few e-mails from readers asking for our thoughts on the current lineup of iPad cases, particularly which we’d recommend at this point in time. Due to the wide variety of things we’re currently working on over here, I’m going to provide a very quick set of answers to explain our current thinking about the collection as a whole, including which we’re liking and why you might or might not want to hold off. The full iPad Case Gallery is here for your perusal.

Macally Metrolpad


Rubber and Plastic Cases. iPad case developers have been working at a distinct disadvantage over the past two months because Apple didn’t provide anyone—well, apparently, almost everyone—with dimensional drawings or other ways to actually insure that their precision-fit rubber and plastic cases would actually fit precisely. Some companies took educated guesses and did exceptionally well: Macally’s unfortunately-named Metrolpad (aka MetroLink) is probably the best of them, apart from its overly flush button protectors, followed by Incipio’s Dermashot, a rubber case that is very close to excellent in execution, apart from somewhat soft front bezel coverage. Incase’s Grip does better in the front, but feels chunkier, costs more, and doesn’t include screen protection; its inclusion of a plastic stand is, however, appreciated.

A few others that will need some additional work: Griffin’s slightly too soft FlexGrip, Hard Candy’s stiff Sleek Skin and Street Skin, Macally’s soggy Msuitpad and ehhh back plates Metrob, c, and mpad, and Belkin’s Grip Vue. There’s actually nothing hugely wrong with Grip Vue except that it’s made from glossy plastic and sells for $50. By comparison, Simplism’s Silicone Case Set goes for a more reasonable $30, comes in a bunch of colors, and is a little too floppy, but otherwise not bad.

Incipio’s Anti-Glare Screen Protectors

Screen Protection. Incipio’s Anti-Glare Screen Protectors are pretty close to a lifesaver. They don’t eliminate the iPad’s smudges, but cut glare way down. Anti-glare film—particularly high-quality anti-glare film—will be a big hit for iPad users.

Sleeves and Folios. Ugh. We’ve been saying it for the past three years, but it bears repeating: we don’t like sleeves and we don’t like cases with big front flaps. They were annoying on early iPods, then became really annoying on touchscreen iPods and iPhones, and for the iPad, they have the potential—if improperly designed—to be downright stupid. Somewhat amazingly, Apple’s official iPad Case manages to combine a cheap-feeling material with the ability to pick up all sorts of dust, the inconvenience of having to open a front flap, and incompatibility with Apple’s own Docks—a loser across the board except for its ability to prop the iPad upright.

Incase Convertible Book Jacket

The only sleeves and folios we sorta kinda like for the iPad are the cool-looking Booq Boa Skin XS, the Incase Convertible Book Jacket, and Vaja’s Retro Slim Jacket, and then largely on looks, not because we like the functionality. Incase’s design is better than the others because of its video stand feature. Also, Hard Candy’s Bubble Sleeve continues to draw positive attention whenever we show it to people, though it’s pricey given what you’re getting for $50. A safe bet for those who are waiting for a better non-sleeve case to appear: the Kensington Reversible Sleeve for $10. It’s cheap and simple.

Go See The Case Gallery Anyway. We created the iPad Case Gallery for one major reason: cases have become such a matter of personal style that what works for one person (or, as is commonly the case, all/most of iLounge’s editors) may not be what another person wants. Moreover, some of the cases that do little for us on functionality really look cool, anyway—Speck’s PixelShield, Griffin’s Jumper, and Belkin’s Max Sleeve all have neat little assets that some people might really like. The collection will only continue to grow over time, so if you don’t see something that interests you now, wait a few weeks, and you’ll surely have more and better options.

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Comments

1

Although I don’t like the official iPad Case, its functionality is fantastic! You can prop it up for long typing (1) or comfortable movie watching (2). I’m still waiting for a better alternative, but nothing so far. My dream case would be a hybrid case (soft on the inside, but with a hard shell) with some kind of integrated stand for the two angles (movie and typing). The stand should be as wide (or almost as wide) as the iPad, so it doesn’t wobble. No front flap would be great, as would be an included anti-glare screen protector, but I could live without both if necessary. The case should be light but the integrated stand should be quite sturdy (difficult to do I guess) and i would be willing to pay around $100 for it…

Posted by Mike11 on April 12, 2010 at 2:45 PM (PDT)

2

I’m the opposite.  I like my iphone sleeve case.  It is thin leather (AB Sutton) protects it in my pocket (WTF jeans haven’t shipped yet) and is easy to hold and take out.

I think a sleeve is a bit much for an ipad (too much work to slide it out), but a book style is about the best thing esp. when it allows more function like the apple one.  Not sure if it is my fav yet, but for the price it’s not bad at all.

IMHO the rubber backing things aren’t much use as they don’t protect the one part that needs protecting most in your pocket/bag, the screen.

Posted by Jim E on April 12, 2010 at 5:37 PM (PDT)

3

Though I agree that the sticky hand of Apple’s iPad case invites dirt and feels a bit strange, it fits the iPad beautifully (no fat, raised edges around the display and home button to interfere with finger movement), is thin enough to easily fold back for normal viewing without adding much weight and bulk, offers crucial screen protection for those who don’t want to bother with a plastic screen film, and offers an absolutely essential integrated angled viewing option. Seriously, using an iPad while it’s lying flat on the table in front of you is significantly less pleasant without that tilt. Do you really want to carry around a separate little iPad stand wherever you go? No thanks.

At this point it looks like only the bulky Incase Convertible Book Jacket (bleh) comes anywhere near it.

Posted by Roquentin on April 13, 2010 at 6:36 AM (PDT)

4

I also like the apple case. It’s lightweight, protects the screen when I drop it in my bag. The propping feature is usable.

I agree that folio cases are no good for the iPhone. But I think that’s ’ cause my phone get’s put in a pocket on my bag, not dropped in. Oh, and the phone doesn’t need to be propped.

What more do I want? Dock compatibility, more colors, more materials, an acrylic easel for propping on the fly, foldable so I can drop it in a bag.

Posted by bj on April 13, 2010 at 10:12 AM (PDT)

5

I’m not wild about Apple’s case, but I picked one up when I bought my iPad just to have something to put it in.

I’ve crossed my fingers and ordered an Incipio Duroshot DRX.  Looks like a nice case but I have to hope it actually fits. 

As far as sleeves go, I think a good quality sleeve is a must for travel.  I pre-ordered one from my go-to sleeve guys at Waterfield Designs.  It’s a smaller version of my MacBook Pro’s sleeve, and I’m very pleased with it.

I’ve also orderd the Griffin A-Frame stand and was somewhat relieved yesterday to see it get a B recommendation on this website.

The one thing I’m not going to get, for now, is a screen protector.  I can never apply those things without getting distracting air bubbles underneath.  I may change my mind later but for now glare hasn’t been an issue.

As with any new product, it will be a while before I finally settle on what accessories work best with the iPad.  In the meantime, it’s good ol’ trial and error.

Posted by Downing on April 13, 2010 at 11:54 AM (PDT)

6

I’m not even considering any case that doesn’t provide a way to prop up the iPad for typing or movie viewing. Unfortunately, the Apple case seems the best of the bunch at the moment but I don’t particularly like the design nor the price. I’ve bought a Belkin 10” netbook case to tide me over until someone comes out with something I desire at a reasonable price.

Posted by Railrider on April 13, 2010 at 5:35 PM (PDT)

7

My iPad mainly floats from from room to room and gets me OUT of my home office, so, I really want a non-slip silicone type of skin. The thing IS slippery! I lie around and prop it up on my legs, but end up holding it in awkward ways, since it does NOT stay put! I’ll probably make my own folding stand once I get a skin for it.

None of the skins I like are available yet (Incipio NGX, Griffin),  So I’m kind of stuck waiting. Although, the clear MacAlly skin is nice (I actually saw one!), but with a big black logo on the back. UGH.

I like the Speck PixelShield Plus case. Compact and with low-profile handle.

Posted by Mr. Reeee on May 4, 2010 at 6:27 AM (PDT)

8

It took a lot longer than I expected, but I finally have my iPad case, stand and sleeve. 

I originally ordered the first two from Mac Mall in early April but they were still backordered with no end in sight as of mid-May.  So even though the list prices were discounted by MM,  I finally gave up and cancelled the order.  I paid list for the case and the stand via the Apple Store website, but at least I got free shipping and received both within a week of my order.

For the sleeve, as I mentioned above I went with my usual sleeve mfr, Waterfield.  I don’t use it much around the house, but I think a good quality sleeve is a really good idea for travel, especially now the TSA allows us to leave our laptops in their sleeves when going through screening.

For the case, I chose Belkin’s Grip Vue.  Although Jeremy describes it above as “glossy plastic,” it feels more like rubber to me.  Regardless, it’s a good fit for my needs:  good protection, better grip and adequate port cutouts except for the camera connector, which I won’t use very often.

And for a stand, I went with Griffin’s A-Frame.  Other than the sharp edges, which Jeremy noted in his review, it’s perfect.  Well made, lightweight, folds up relatively flat for travel and works with my case.

Posted by Downing on May 23, 2010 at 8:46 AM (PDT)

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