Review: Modulr Mini Mobility Pack for iPad mini
Modulr makes cases designed specifically to work with a wide range of accessories — its own, of course — and the Mini Mobility Pack for iPad mini ($60) is no different. The core of the pack is a plastic and rubber case, which shows a definite improvement over the original model for the very first iPad, and subsequent releases in 2011 and 2012. Billed as "the world's thinnest shock proof case," it includes button and side switch protection. Also packed in are a cover, which can be positioned over the front or back of the iPad mini, and detachable hand, shoulder, and wrist straps. Mini Mobility Pack is available in black or white, and was tested with a first-generation iPad mini.
Unlike most cases, which match the curved edges of Apple’s tablet, Mini Mobility Pack is squared off. Inside, the molding matches the shape of the tablet, but the back is a completely flat sheet of plastic, with the edges at 90° angles. It feels boxy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but rather is unique among mini cases. Running down the height of the left and right edges is a layer of rubber over the plastic to increase drop protection. It’s only slightly thicker than the main body of the case, and includes button coverage. A clever ridged plastic slider moves the side switch up and down without leaving it exposed, while the headphone port, microphone, rear camera, and Lightning port are fully open. They fire through pinpoint holes in the plastic, and notably, there’s no hole on the back of the case for the upcoming Retina-equipped iPad mini’s second microphone, which may prove to be an issue under some circumstances.
While it’s clear that a lot of thought went into the case itself, that’s only part of the equation here: the lid is a big part of it, too. A thin sheet of plastic, it’s also augmented with rubber: there’s a 7 x 11 grid of raised dots on the outside, and seven columns of rubber on the inside. The case’s shape, with the rubber raised above the plastic, allows the cover to clip onto both the front and back, depending on how you want to use it. The hold is secure, but it’s not difficult to pry off when needed, and the lid doesn’t really add any bulk. It leaves openings for the Lightning port and speaker on the bottom edge.
To attach any of the three included accessories (or new ones that will be released), pegs are positioned at each corner of the dot array on the lid. You simply fit the strap onto the pegs, and snap it into place. Of the accessories, we found the hand strap to be the most practical, and useful. It makes the already easy-to-hold iPad mini even more secure. Having wrist and shoulder bands isn’t a negative, but we can’t see as many people using their iPads in this way.
Available for an extra $20, Storage Stand is currently the only additional accessory for Mini Mobility Pack that Modulr is offering. The hard plastic extruded triangle serves double duty: by snapping onto the back of the case, it works as a stand for viewing or typing. There’s also room to hold a 5W charger and Lightning cable, making it convenient to carry the first-generation mini’s accessories around, though the Retina mini will include a larger charger that can’t fit inside Storage Stand. While we like the functionality, the size and shape might or might not work for you; it won’t fit well in slender bags.
In any modular system such as this one, it’s important for the case to perform well as a standalone protector, and here, it does—we’d recommend using it on its own. The ability to add accessories is a welcome benefit. For someone who uses an iPad mini in a way that is aided by some sort of strap, most likely in the workplace, it could be valuable. The biggest question is, does all this justify the price? For the most part, yes it does, at least enough to merit our strong general recommendation. We’re excited to see what accessories Modulr introduces in the future to increase the overall appeal of the design.