Review: Griffin Passport for iPad 2/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 Griffin's Passport ($30).
When Griffin calls the Passport a “simple folio,” it really means just that: compatible with both the iPad 2 and the new iPad, this case is devoid of all bells and whistles. What you get is material that’s made to look like leather on the outside, with microsuede lining the inside. Instead of a shell or even a frame to hold the iPad in place, there are elastic bands in the four corners; another one attached to the back keeps the case shut. A hole for the camera is the only opening, all of the other ports and buttons are exposed. And really, that’s it. There aren’t any Smart Cover-style magnets, stand features, or any other notable factors that make it interesting.
There’s only one thing keeping us from calling Passport an embarrassment for Griffin, and that’s the fact that it was clearly designed and priced as a cheap hedge against the possibility of a “new iPad” with radically different curves than were widely expected before its release; with something so shape-agnostic, virtually any device Apple released would have fit inside. However, there are literally a hundred other and better-made cases like this already available for the new iPad; Passport may look good in photos, but it feels every bit as cheap and plasticy as it is, with sub-standard edge protection, a poor closure system, and the absence of any stand functionality as major omissions relative to other folios. Opening it up and seeing elastic bands holding an expensive tablet in place gets old pretty quickly, too. The only thing keeping it from a lower rating is the price, and even for the $30 Griffin’s asking, it’s only okay.