iKit Carbon Case for iPad 2
Arriving days before the launch of the iPad 2, iKit's new Carbon Case for iPad 2 ($30) was the first officially finished case for the updated device -- and it's actually pretty cool. Made from a mix of carbon fiber-styled hard plastic and grippy soft rubber sides, it has proper cutouts for the moved top microphone, the new rear camera, bottom speaker, and ports. iKit also includes a screen protector in the package, the only element we didn't receive in time for this review.*
What struck us immediately upon installing the case is that everything fits perfectly. It’s a slim case that feels great in the hand, using a lip to frame of the face of the iPad 2. Not only is the shell form-fit to the body, but each of the openings are absolutely correct: the headphone port, mic, side switch, Dock Connector port, speaker, and rear-facing camera are each directly centered in their respective holes.
The headphone port has clearance for both straight and right angle plugs, and the Dock Connector port supports both Apple’s official cable and many third party offerings. Because iKit has used rubber, the port holes have a little extra give for larger plugs. Fully covered by the outer rubber rim, the Sleep/Wake button and volume rocker are both completely usable without any resistance.
The only issue we noted when testing the Carbon Case was the flexibility of the rubber edge. Early cases we tested for the original iPad had to find the right balance of firmness and give to allow insertion and removal of the tablet without creating usability issues while the iPad was inside. Carbon Case’s rubber is just a little too soft, such that a bit of the edge will occasionally slip off as you’re using the screen or turning the iPad 2 around. Not once in our testing did an entire edge come off, nor did the rubber feel too thin, but a slightly stiffer plastic could help. iKit has come very close to getting everything right here, but this was an obvious problem that could be improved in a follow-up version.
Even if this hadn’t been the first case that arrived for testing, we would have been quite happy with iPad 2 Carbon Case; its advance arrival makes it that much more impressive. Overall, the fit is perfect while adding almost no bulk and the price is certainly fair. The inclusion of a screen protector will make it one of the most protective options available for either version of the iPad at this price, but even without it, we would gladly recommend this case to anyone looking for an affordable way to protect the iPad 2. Should the protector be problematic in any way, or particularly excellent, we’ll update this review to let you know. If you want a case that’s a little more rigid on the edges, hold off for either an update or a slightly tweaked alternative.