Review: Helium Digital SlimJacket Protective Pouch for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
We first saw Helium Digital's SlimJacket Protective Pouch ($25) at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show, and it's now making its way into customers' hands. Compatible with both the iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad, this design offers twice the functionality of most sleeves: not only does it protect the tablet while it's in the case, but it also transforms into a stand when removed, much like FrappeDesign's Smart Sleeve and a handful of others we've seen. It's not the most handsome solution, and loses points for its material, but we really appreciated that it actually does something. Beige, charcoal, and red versions are currently available.
Made of a plasticky, somewhat sticky-feeling paisley-patterned fabric lined with a suede-like material, SlimJacket protects almost all of the tablet save for the top and upper side edges. Although we’d prefer more coverage, the edge holes aren’t a terrible omission considering how many sleeves leave one whole edge of the iPad exposed for insertion and removal. A curled clip at the top holds the sleeve shut, and doubles as a ledge to hold the iPad when the pouch is folded into a stand.
It took us a moment to figure out how to fold the sleeve into a stand. The case can be divided into thirds; you fold the bottom up and tuck its flap into that of the top third. This leaves a little shelf at the bottom, with the hook that holds the sleeve shut serving as a stop to keep the iPad in place. It has a footprint of about seven inches, meaning that you’ll need to have some free space on your desk or airplane tray table. Both landscape and portrait orientations are supported, although there’s only one angle for each, and it’s a little too deep relative to other stands we’ve tested. Still, it works.
SlimJacket offers more for its $25 asking price than most sleeves do, many of which often retail for higher prices. We don’t love the feel of it—Helium should have picked a nicer fabric—but it’s hard to argue with the functionality. We’d still recommend a full case solution before a sleeve, but if you’re the kind of person that prefers the sleeve style and wants a stand, this one is definitely worth considering. It’s worthy of our general recommendation.