Cygnett Enigma for iPad mini
The origami-style folding cover found on Cygnett's Enigma ($40) isn't novel -- we started seeing it on full-sized iPad cases almost a year ago -- but it's the first one we've come across for the iPad mini. The folio-style case comes in blue, black, or pink, and combines that lid with an attached hard plastic shell to hold the tiny tablet. Unfortunately the execution of the case isn't as strong as the concept.
Like many full-sized iPad shells we’ve seen, Enigma is lacking protection along the top edge. Instead of using individual holes for the Sleep/Wake button, microphone, and headphone port, there is simply one long opening running all the way to the corners. We find this design to be more acceptable along the bottom, however, as the gap only runs a little past the stereo speakers. The volume buttons and side switch are exposed in much the same way. For some reason there’s also a hole on the back of the case directly beneath the microphone, suggesting that Cygnett thought there’d be a need for an extra opening on the iPad mini. On the upside, the tablet does snap securely into place without much effort.
The lid is clearly the star of this case. Its polyurethane exterior feels very comparable to that of Apple’s iPad mini Smart Cover, although the microfiber lining isn’t quite as nice. It offers a handful of useful stand positions, but omits the magnetic locking feature we’ve become accustomed to. Split into four columns, Enigma’s cover can fold into a triangular stand just like Apple’s original iPad Smart Cover and rather weak magnets hold the stand together in typing and video viewing positions. Alternatively the lid can also be folded in on itself along a Y-shaped crease for an additional viewing angle. Again the magnetic connection isn’t very strong, and needs to rely on the weight of the iPad mini to hold it down. In our testing, the lid began to show stress marks along its creases very quickly, taking away from Enigma’s aesthetic appeal. We would have also preferred a stronger connection between the front and back as the somewhat floppy polyurethane hinge allows the cover to move up and down too much.
Enigma’s not a bad choice as iPad mini folio case options go, but it’s not a great one either. It does offer acceptable protection and multiple stand capabilities, which is appreciated, but we’d like to see more thorough coverage and a slightly stronger lid with Smart Cover-style screen locking magnets. As it stands Enigma is worthy of our general recommendation. Hopefully Cygnett can take a second strike at this case now that it has the ability to test against an actual iPad mini, as the design concept is a nice one plagued only by relatively fixable technical issues.