Grablet The Grablet for iPad 2
Even at the iPad's introduction in early 2010, it was clear that it isn't easy to use the device while holding it in one hand -- remember that fancy chair Steve Jobs sat in to demo it? Since then, there has been no shortage of cases designed to actually make one-handed operation practical and easy. The most recent we've seen -- Grablet's The Grablet ($40) --doesn't quite qualify as a case, but has the same idea in mind. Available in 12 colors and even in customized versions with speciality logos and designs, the company is clearly trying to appeal to as many users as possible.
The Grablet’s body is made out of rubberized plastic, and instead of covering the entire aluminum back, it wraps around the four corners in an X shape. We found installation and removal to be very easy, yet the hold is quite secure. Large portions of the iPad 2 are left exposed, as is the Apple logo. There are holes for the Sleep/Wake button, camera, and headphone port, and three over the speaker; this looks kind of strange, as the grate extends past the frame. The shape also allows for Smart Cover-compatibility. Even though this feature is appreciated, the Smart Cover can get in the way when you’re using The Grablet and we found it more convenient to simply remove it.
Included as standard pack-ins with The Grablet are a “hand wrap” and “hand pad,” as well as nylon straps and plastic strap retainers. You string the straps through the wrap or pad and hook them into tri-lobe shaped openings at each of the corners. The system works well and it’s almost effortless to attach or remove the straps. From there, you just slide your hand in and get to work. Additional strap sets will be available shortly, allowing you to strap the device to your leg, for example. While those sort of options may not be practical for everybody, more choice is usually better.
Here’s the thing with The Grablet: if it were a full case, we’d probably really like it. The materials are nice, installation is a snap, it’s comfortable to hold on your hand. Grablet got a lot right. Had the company had gone the extra step and made it into a real case with full coverage—including the Apple logo—we’d have no qualms about recommending it. But we see too much value in full protection to be able to say this is a great or good option, especially when similar concepts cost about the same and are actually full cases. Because of this, The Grablet is worthy of a C+ rating. We’d really like to see an improved version in the future.