Review: Gumdrop Cases Drop Series Case for iPad 2
Ruggedized cases are usually overengineered and not especially easy to look at, adding bulk without improving the appearance. Gumdrop Cases has released a new take on the genre, and it's different in a good way. Drop Series Case for iPad 2 ($60) is not only super protective because of its multilayer design, but it looks pretty neat too. Best of all, it does all this without adding much bulk. Four different color combinations are available.
Drop Series Case is made up of three components: a rigid plastic case, an integrated but removable screen cover, and a tire tread-style rubber shell. The iPad 2 fits in between the two halves of the plastic case, which snaps shut around it. It’s certainly not the prettiest thing, but it is made to be covered up. There are openings for all of the ports and buttons; the side switch, headphone port, rear camera and Dock Connector port all have raised plastic segments surrounding them. The case extends over the bezel of the tablet, with a hole at the top for the camera and ambient light sensor, and a second at the bottom for the Home button. Around the perimeter of the bezel are a series of one-inch-long openings, and there are seven more on the back. These serve to hold the rubber case securely in place. As an accent there are five raised Vs that stick out through the rubber.
The screen protector is completely removable but locks into place when in use. It has a plastic frame, while the protecter itself is a completely transparent plastic that feels a bit thicker than most traditional films. Because the unit snaps into place, there is no need for any sort of adhesive to attach it. Cutouts at the top and bottom accommodate the camera and Home button. We found that the protector laid flat against the screen and did not inhibit the touch performance of the display in any way, and is certainly easier to install than a film.
Gumdrop Case’s final component to the case is the rubber shell. Even with this in place, the iPad 2 doesn’t feel terribly thick. Descending down the shell’s back are a series of ridges in the shape of a tire tread which adds a ruggedized feel but isn’t cheesy. It comes right up to the edge of the plastic, and nubs lining the inside rim fit right into the cutouts. There is no fear of it unintentionally pulling away from the edge as there is with some other rubber cases. On the back, the Vs stick through, as does the plastic surrounding the camera. The speaker is covered by a 4 x 10 series of squares so it is protected but not blocked.
Both ports as well as the side switch are shielded by flip-open covers. Each fits tightly but has a tab for easy removal. For even further protection, the Sleep/Wake button, volume rocker, and Home button are also covered by the rubber. Each maintains full responsiveness and tactility; in fact the volume rocker feels like it clicks with just a bit less pressure. The only two portions of the iPad 2 left exposed are the front facing camera and the microphone, which is still recessed rather deeply in the plastic and rubber.
Drop Series Case is certainly one of the most protective cases we have seen for the iPad 2, even while maintaing an aesthetic appeal. We really the design that Gumdrop Case has chosen. Unlike some other heavy-duty cases, this one is more than suitable for day to day use as well. On top of it all, the price is reasonable—consider for a moment that a leather iPad Smart Cover from Apple would actually cost $9 more. We highly recommend this case as a sharp, practical, and protective solution.