Review: Case-Mate Textured Tuxedo Case for iPad (3rd-Gen)
Folios have become the most common style of iPad case over the past two years, and depending on what you're looking for, one of the dozens of new designs might be an ideal fit for your tablet. A folio places your iPad inside of a fabric, leather, or plastic enclosure that looks like a folder, generally opening to reveal a holder for the iPad on one side, and screen-covering lid with a stand or stand support on the other. Today, we're separately rounding up three different categories of folios for the third-generation iPad -- updates to past iPad 2 models we've covered, "new" options that are highly similar to ones we've covered before, and then truly new models that are distinctive in at least a couple of ways. This review is part of the "new but highly similar" case roundup, looking at Case-Mate's Textured Tuxedo Case ($60).
Initially somewhat exciting based on its distinctive feel, Textured Tuxedo Case turns out to be a less than complete folio-style design with an unimpressive technique for holding an iPad. Think of Textured Tuxedo as an oversized iPad Smart Cover, merely adding additional material to one of the Smart Cover’s edges along with a piece of double-sided adhesive to keep the third-generation iPad attached inside. Because of this underwhelming design choice, no plastic frame is used to hold or cover the iPad’s metal back, so the case leaves three of the tablet’s sides entirely exposed even when closed; you need to properly align the rear camera with Textured Tuxedo’s rear hole to make the case work properly. On more positive notes, the materials Case-Mate selected for the case’s five colors are interestingly textured fabric and good faux leathers, and the Smart Cover-style lid does fold up into the expected triangular positions for typing and video viewing.
On balance, we see Textured Tuxedo Case as a better but regrettably more expensive alternative to Apple’s Smart Covers—the faux leather actually feels like real leather, and also looks nicer inside the lid than we’d expected, but neither version justifies an asking price $20 higher than Apple’s basic Smart Cover. The adhesive attachment to the iPad works, and the flat back does offer more protection than Apple’s front-only design, even though the edges remain exposed; apart from its derivative design, the only issue with the magnetic lid is that it can slide around on the iPad’s face, accidentally unlocking the screen when left inside a bag. In short, while this isn’t a bad option overall, it would have had barnstorming potential at a $40 or perhaps even $50 price; for $60, it’s obvious that there are more impressively sculpted, fully protective cases with identical and near-identical functionality.