Review: iKit iPad 2 Folio Case
Plainly named, iPad 2 Folio Case ($45) is the latest case from iKit. Unlike its Carbon Case -- which was among the first iPad 2 cases and still holds its own as one of the best around -- iKit missed on this one. While the iPad 2 Folio Case is reasonably protective and looks pretty nice in either an all-black finish or silver with black accents, the specifics detract a lot from the value of the design. The case adds a significant amount of bulk and uses design elements that just don't work in an iPad 2 case.
Made out of a mixture of vinyl and rubber, the Folio Case has thick padding on both the front and back covers, one of several elements that bulk up the iPad 2. Having rubber wrap from about the left edge to about halfway around the back is a nice touch as it provides some extra grip when the case is closed. An inner frame provides full port and button access, but leaves the right corners unnecessarily exposed, while the folio’s flat back makes button access a little more difficult than a more specifically curved shape would. While the top and bottom openings around the edges are reasonably tailored, the ones on the front and rear are not: the cameras and the home button are partially blocked due to the thickness of the materials used, and consequently, photos taken on both sides are partially obscured. It’s possible to force the iPad 2 into an artificially propped up position where one camera sort of works, but there’s no easy way to get the iPad 2 to sit in a natural position where both of the cameras work properly at the same time. This major design defect is the single biggest contributor to Folio Case’s low rating.
Also questionable was iKit’s decision to use metal snaps, which attach the front cover to the frame and connect the left side of the frame to the fold-out rear cover. While the snaps do their job, they require the application of pressure on the iPad 2, contribute to the overall bulk of the case, and don’t look very good, either. On the other hand, iKit built magnets into the front cover, which are used for activating the tablet’s automatic locking feature; it’s a shame that the magnets weren’t also used to secure the flap. Like most similar models, Folio Case can be positioned to form both a typing angle and three different viewing angles, with ridges on the inside of the front cover holding it in place.
iKit’s newest case looks pretty nice, and it does protect the iPad 2 reasonably well. Ultimately, however, the fact remains that this case really wasn’t properly executed; an iPad 2 case with two partially-covered cameras isn’t practical for everyday use, and along with the case’s bulk and head-scratching decision to use snaps, there’s a lot to be fixed in Folio Case. Given that so many other quality folio options are currently available, there really wasn’t a need to rush this one out or cut the corners in its development time. It’s the rare iPad case that’s worthy of a D-level rating based on serious design defects.