Review: MarBlue Axis for iPad Air
Although Marware is now going by a new name — MarBlue — its products still look and feel much the same as they have for years. Among the company's new iPad Air protectors is Axis ($55). The folio-style case is rather familiar from the outside, with faux leather covers and a hard plastic shell built-in. Coming in black, emerald, and red, it does pack in a few features that set it apart from the many, many cases we've seen in this form factor, including numerous OEM-developed products rebranded by others.
The iPad easily snaps in and out of the shell, which doesn’t include button protection but is otherwise pretty good in terms of coverage. That shell is attached to the inside of the back cover by a snap along the left edge, and a pivoting segment on the right. Disconnecting the former allows you to rotate the holder 90° clockwise, bringing the iPad to a portrait orientation. This is one of the key advantages to the design, as most folios only allow for landscape orientations.
Axis’s lid, textured along the right edge and flat the rest of the way, automatically locks and unlocks the tablet’s display. An elastic band is used to hold it shut. While it’s not the most elegant system, it does prevent the cover from unintentionally opening up or triggering the auto-unlocking feature. Of course it can be used in either typing or viewing arrangements, while an elastic handstrap inside the front cover offers another way to use the case.
While we can’t get excited about Axis, it offers enough to make it worthy of a limited recommendation. Our favorite feature is the rotating shell, while everything else can be found in less expensive packages that otherwise look and feel pretty much the same as this case. Folios are now so common, and so commonly better tailored than this from the outside, that you’d really need to have a specific need for the rotating functionality in order to pick a higher-priced Axis over numerous good to great rivals.