Review: NutKase iExecutive for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
Not surprisingly, the release of the third-generation iPad was followed by quite a few case re-releases, including many that are exceptionally similar to those we've previously covered. A majority of the updated cases are folios, designs that start with either a hard shell or soft frame to hold the tablet, with a flip-over cover attached to the frame. Most of these folios have a lot in common with one another, and range in price from $40 to a little over $60, with one notable outlier. In order to give you a sense of what's out there now, we're publishing brief reviews of over a dozen of these folios today.
iExecutive (€50/$55) is the first case we’ve seen from Rome-based NutKase. Designed to fit both the iPad 2 and the new iPad, the basic structure is similar to that of many of the folio-style cases that are common today. The back is a reinforced shell covered in eco-leather that leaves the top and bottom edges of the tablet exposed, a design that most manufacturers have gotten away from at this point. While it does provide access to the ports and buttons, it also leaves more of the iPad’s aluminum back exposed than necessary. The camera hole is one of the tightest that we’ve seen, but in our testing, it didn’t block the lens. Notably, there’s also a hole for the Micro SIM slot at the back right corner.
Not surprisingly, iExecutive’s front cover is segmented into four columns, allowing it to transform into a stand. Embedded magnets do automatically lock and unlock the iPad, but they don’t hold the triangular shape of the stand. Rather, the triangle stays in place under the weight of the tablet itself. The novel feature with this case is the X-shaped handstrap attached to the back. Both the center and far edges are eco-leather, and they’re attached to each other with elastic bands, making the strap comfortable even for those with large hands.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a case intended to make it easier to hold onto an iPad, but it is one of the most streamlined. Many do so in ways that are less than protective, or more obtrusive than we like. NutKase’s take strikes us as closer to right. One downside is the front lid: when holding the case with your hand under the strap, the cover can’t help but get in the way. Some may be willing to put up with this, while others will find it too bothersome. The novelty and generally nice design help to balance out some of the issues, and we think a niche market will appreciate them enough to justify the purchase of iExecutive. Because of this, it earns our limited recommendation.
Updated April 27, 2012: After posting our original review on April 18, 2012, we received word from NutKase that the review unit we received was not functioning quite right. Magnets in the lid are supposed to hold the triangular stand shape, making the cover less obtrusive. Our original rating stands, although we certainly appreciate this functionality.