Review: Gumdrop Cases Drop Tech Hideaway for iPad 2, iPad (3rd/4th-Gen)
In many ways, Gumdrop Cases's Drop Tech Hideaway for the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPads ($80) looks a lot like the company's earlier Drop Tech Series Case. In fact, it's almost identical to the ridged-rubber and plastic design, with a big exception: a stand is built into the back, allowing the tablet to be propped up in landscape or portrait orientation. Otherwise, you can expect the same thorough button and port coverage, plus overall ruggedness, as before. The screen protector is notably removable from the rest of the iPad-supporting hard plastic frame, attaching inside with a reassuring sturdiness that likely helps reduce moisture intrusion. Because of the similarities to the prior case, this review is based heavily on that original piece.
Rather than including a full hard shell inside, Drop Tech Hideaway attaches hard plastic solely to the front of the tablet, curling over the edges while leaving exposed the Sleep/Wake Button, rear camera, and volume rocker. It snaps into place around the iPad’s sides, insuring that it won’t move. Like Griffin’s Survivor, Drop Tech Hideaway has a screen protector that creates a similar prismatic effect on the iPad’s screen. Thankfully, however, this protector is removable, giving users a choice of screen coverage without having to forego the case altogether.
The rubber outer layer wraps around the plastic and exposed aluminum back, and considering the components, it’s a rather thin case. It has a tire-tread like texture that adds some character and also makes it a bit easier to hold. The headphone port, side switch, and Dock Connector/Lightning port all have flip-open covers and the four buttons are covered, but the camera and microphone are left totally exposed, and the speaker is covered by a rubber grate. For some these openings may be perfectly acceptable, although there’s certainly less coverage compared to some other cases.
Again, it’s the stand that’s the big change here, and Gumdrop Cases deserves credit for executing it well. When not in use, the stand folds flat, blending in with the back of the case save for some outlines of black plastic. A small divot allows you to reach your finger in along the right side to lift the stand, and then a piece folds down from the center, attaching to a magnet next to the finger hole. This creates a surprisingly sturdy support for both viewing and typing, although there’s only one angle for each.
We awarded Drop Tech Series Case an A- rating for its combination of style, protection, and price compared to competitors. In building in the stand, Drop Tech Hideaway certainly adds value, but it’s not quite worthy of a $20 premium. It’s still a very good option, and earns our strong general recommendation, but we’d rather see Gumdrop Cases include this functionality within its standard case at a more affordable price point.