Marware Swurve for iPad mini
Marware's Swurve for iPad mini ($30) is the company's first kid-friendly case, a new market for the established accessory maker. Made of a single piece of thick, foam material with significant bumpers on its sides, the case envelops the tablet in order to keep it safe from drops and bumps. Although not exactly the same, the concept and execution aren't all that different from Speck's iGuy, sans the ability to use the case as a stand.
While Swurve has a significant amount of give and is flexible enough to make installation easy, the foam material is actually sturdier than might be expected from its appearance. The swerving pattern on the back and bulging corners give it a very distinctive look, and also enhance the drop protection. No screen coverage is included, though the display is recessed significantly below the front of the case.
Once your tablet has been pushed into place, the metal body is almost completely covered, save for port, camera, and speaker openings. Strangely, the microphone port, headphone port, and iSight camera holes are lined up properly, but the speaker and Lightning port openings are just a little off center. This misalignment doesn’t doesn’t prevent you from using even the largest Lightning connectors on the market, however; it’s just more of an aesthetic oddity. We appreciate that Marware included button protection, although the foam over the Sleep/Wake Button is a little squishier than we’d prefer, and requires more pressure than the volume buttons.
Compared to iGuy, Swurve has some drawbacks but also offers some benefits. For kids, it’s generally true that the more coverage a case offers, the better; that’s why the button protection is a big deal here. You do lose the iGuy legs that offer stand functionality, but they’re not terribly sturdy in the first place. The same goes for iGuy’s arms, which can be used as handles—they’re not necessary. That’s why Swurve earns the same B rating; for the same price, it accomplishes roughly the same things, trading limbs for a better case design. It’s definitely not for the everyday user, but if you’re looking to hand off an iPad mini to a child, it’s a relatively inexpensive and protective option.