Review: SwitchEasy B’Spoke for iPad Air
B’Spoke ($50) for iPad Air is an incredibly thin folio case -- developer Switcheasy claims that it's the worlds thinnest kickstand case for iPad Air, as it measures only 2.2mm thick. Made from a plastic "alloy" and a very convincing faux leather, B’Spoke looks elegant, but imprecise hole cutting from unit to unit may reduce a given case's appeal.
The thinness of B’Spoke is noticeable the moment your iPad is covered—by folio standards, it’s fantastically lightweight and trim. Despite this, the case is surprisingly rigid, covering the front and back of the iPad Air with no issue. However, the B’Spoke does not cover the iPad’s corners, which are exposed. Since iPads often fall on their corners if accidentally dropped, this is a protection omission that may matter to some users.
B’Spoke’s front tab enables you to securely close the cover, which magnetically locks and unlocks the screen; the tab runs over the edge of the iPad Air and holds in place without any additional security. We went through the paces and walked around with the B’Spoke in hand and in a bag; as expected, the case never came undone, and remained secure.
The folio-styled lid folds into a trapezoidal kickstand. Initially, we had some concern that the thin case would flounder while in horizontal mode, but the B’Spoke holds its position quite well. We typed out a few notes and emails while in kickstand mode and the B’Spoke didn’t collapse like kickstand cases sometimes do.
We were disappointed by holes cut into the cases we tested. On the brown case, the iPad Air’s camera hole is off-center, though it doesn’t hinder the camera’s performance; similarly, the microphone holes were off-center, and the bottom of the B’Spoke is even worse. The hole for the Lightning connector worked, but was so far off center that the port was nearly covered by part of the case, and the speakers looked awkwardly covered, as well. But on the black and red case, the bottom holes were perfectly aligned, the camera hole was pretty close, and only the microphone holes were a little off. The fact that the holes may vary between cases is the single biggest issue lowering B’Spoke’s rating.
Generally, the Switcheasy B’Spoke is a very rigid and stylish folio for users looking for a low profile case. Secure to the touch and usable for actual work, it has a solid structure that we really appreciated, and the $50 price tag is right on target—aggressive, even. Only the alignment of the holes and lack of corner protection drop this from what would otherwise have been a great recommendation down to a good one.