Review: Belkin APEX360 Advanced Protection Case for iPad mini
Released late in the first-generation iPad mini's life, Belkin's APEX360 Advanced Protection Case ($70) is quite different from most folio-style cases on the market, combining playthrough and folio designs. The unusually thick rubber shell is made to stand six-foot drops, with air pockets inside adding to the durability. A detachable magnetic lid is included, and can come on and off easily.
Because the case rotates on the magnet, the cover can be used as a stand in either landscape or portrait orientation; small feet on the left and bottom sides of the case hold it in place within grooves found inside the lid. You can also pull the cover off and use the case by itself, a welcome benefit that’s only rarely found on iPad and iPad mini cases. There’s notably no opening for the second microphone found on the iPad mini with Retina display.
While it’s a cool concept, the case ultimately doesn’t work. The problem is one we’ve seen a handful of times before: issues with Sleep/Wake button coverage. Tested with both Retina and non-Retina iPad minis, APEX360 held the top button down, at best causing it to not be functional at all, and it worst bringing up the tablet’s shut down prompt. No matter how many times we adjusted the case, or reinstalled it, or tried it with different iPad minis, the issue persisted. Unfortunately, this torpedoes the otherwise nice case, bringing it down to a D+ rating. Given such a serious issue, we can’t recommend it at all; hopefully Belkin will update this case for the Retina iPad mini and fix the sizing issue in the process.