Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
This isn't the first time we've seen a Booqpad product from Booq, but Booqpad for iPad Air ($60) shows that the company continues to improve on its designs. The case has always been about pairing a tablet holder with a notepad, but this time, the case is a removable hard plastic shell, rather than a simple fabric frame. It fits onto the nubuck and polyurethane folio using strong magnets, and can be set up with the included paper on the left or right, depending on handedness. Booqpad can also be positioned as a stand, and the shell can be used as a standalone case. A screen protector and application accessories are included.
We've never been as keen on metal iPhone cases as some accessory makers seem to be, but they do keep coming. The latest is Rokform's Fuzion+ for iPhone 5/5s ($89), which combines a polyurethane inner skin with a machined aluminum backplate, and throws a sheet of carbon fiber in the middle. Not surprisingly, the result is a somewhat bulky case, although it's not as big as some others. Right in the center is an embedded magnet, which can be used with Rokform's ecosystem of accessories, including the adhesive-laden round magnet included in the package. We'll be testing to see if the metal has any effect on cellular strength, as it often can.
Although it appears to borrow heavily from other OEM-designed iPad cases we've seen over the years, Kujali's Classic for iPad mini (£30/~$50) is noteworthy for the company's charity aspect; we won't offer a full review, but want to mention the option. A "leather styled" folio -- it seems to be faux leather -- the case is lined with suede on the inside, and has an elastic handle on the interior of the front cover, along with two viewing angle ridges. The tablet is held in a two-piece shell on the right side. It first gets fitted into a thin rubber skin, which then goes into the hard plastic piece that's attached to the case. Button coverage is provided, as are flaps over the ports. For every case Kujali sells, it donates a mosquito net to charity, with the intention of protecting African children from malaria.
Based on the iPad mini case of the same name, Tek-nical for iPad Air ($50) is Incipio's latest take on the folio. Instead of a simple plastic shell like before, the main component of this case is now augmented with rubber around the edges, providing button coverage and extra drop protection. The lid is no longer microsuede, but instead, a synthetic material that can fold underneath and tuck into a raised holder on the back of the case for stand positions. We'll see how it does as we test, but our initial impressions are certainly more positive than the last time.
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