Review: Griffin CinemaSeat 2 for iPad 2
Griffin was one of the first big companies to launch a legitimate car mounting solution for the original iPad, CinemaSeat. Its sequel for the iPad 2 is almost identical in both name and design: CinemaSeat 2 ($40) is a bit thinner and has a hole for the front-facing camera, but is otherwise almost indistinguishable from its predecessor. Griffin clearly had to compromise between the "case" and "mount" categories, ending up with a solution that isn't great, but gets the job done.
CinemaSeat 2 is a light-gray faux leather and fabric frame that attaches to the metal poles of a head rest with with a foldable, adjustable Velcro strap. The right side of the case has one long opening running all the way down; this is where the iPad 2 is inserted and should be oriented towards the top so the tablet doesn’t fall out. There are openings for the Sleep/Wake switch, microphone, and headphone port along the top edge, although not one for the rear-facing camera. Considering how this accessory is made to be used, that shouldn’t really be a problem, although it does limit use as a case. One large hole on the bottom provides access to the Dock Connector port and speaker. Almost all of the front bezel is covered, right up to the edge of the glass touchscreen. There are scoops at the top and bottom edges for the front camera and the Home button. A small pocket on the back is the right size for small accessories like a stylus or earbuds.
While it could be carried as case outside of a vehicle, the overall design doesn’t lend itself very well to that use. Most users won’t be willing to put up with the bulk and and wide unprotected areas. The blockage of the rear camera is also a problem. Rather, it will be a better solution for those who are willing to leave it in the car and slip the iPad 2 in and out for trips. This will be most convenient for those who don’t use a case on their tablet, or simply use Apple’s iPad Smart Cover.
As an easy way to mount an iPad 2 in a car, CinemaSeat 2 is close to being on target, but the price is simply too high. We would have preferred that Griffin’s solution either cost about half as much, or be better suited for use outside of the car. As it is, the mount is worthy of a C+ rating; it’s simply OK. Users looking for alternatives may want to check out some of the modular options that have mounting add-ons, such as ModulR and Vogel’s Ringo Mounting System.