Company: Pelican Products
Compatible: iPad, iPad 2, iPad (3rd-Gen)
Pelican i1075 Hardback Case for iPad
Unlike most of the iPad cases we've covered, Pelican's i1075 ($80) isn't designed solely for one iPad model or to be used as a full-time case -- instead, it's a miniature briefcase with enough space inside of its foam-molded interior for the first-, second-, or third-generation iPad plus an Apple Wireless Keyboard and several accessories. Of course it's not for everyone: Pelican focuses mostly on military and other heavy-duty users. But for those deeply concerned about the safety of their devices, it's a surprisingly practical option. And at 11.4" x 8.2" x 1.6", it's comparable to the size of softer iPad carrying bags.
Outside, the case is made entirely of hard plastic, so it feels quite sturdy, with very little give. A latch on the front holds it securely shut, but can be easily lifted when necessary. Beneath that is a pressure release valve. Pelican claims its case can withstand three feet of submersion, as well as drops from the same height. Included with the holder is a nylon shoulder strap with an arm pad—not the fanciest thing in the world, but an easy way to tote the case around.
Opening i1075 reveals several depressions in the cushioned interior, designed specifically for different accessories. In the center are three rectangular divots best suited for cables or headphones, just a little too shallow for most other accessories. Behind them is a scoop that is the inverse of Apple’s Wireless Keyboard’s battery compartment, allowing it to rest on top of the cords. Below that is a hole for the iPad 10W USB Power Adapter’s brick. Finally, raised above all of those holders, is a space for the iPad. Because it’s not precisely molded for any one generation of the tablet, it can also hold iPad 2s or new iPads with slim cases such as shells, Smart Covers, or both.
Pelican went one step further with this case, allowing it to become somewhat akin to a little laptop. Behind the keyboard holder is another small ravine, designed to passively hold your tablet on a recline. Other than the fact that you need space to lay down the top half of the shell, or at least something to prop it against, this is a smart little addition to a case that could’ve otherwise offered much more limited functionality. The iPad can stand in either landscape or portrait orientation.
Upon its arrival, we really didn’t know what to think about i1075. but we ended up liking it more than we expected to. It’s certainly not a solution that will appeal to everyone, yet it’s clear that Pelican put a lot of thought into the molded insert, resulting in a truly useful—and pretty cool—case. The price also strikes us as fair given the build quality and drop/waterproof functionality. i1075 merits our general recommendation, and is definitely one of the most useful iPad bags we’ve tested; it will thrill its intended audience.