RooCase’s ORB Tablet System is a series of cases and mounts built around a shell case. All cases within the system include the shell case, which has an opening on the back to fit the ORB Button — a mechanism which allows users to snap the shell case into other parts of the system. Pinching the spring-loaded release inside the button easily releases the shell from whatever case or mount it’s in. The ORB system is similar to Otterbox’s Agility System in concept, but not necessarily in functionality. Although you really only need to buy one of the ORB cases, there are many different possible pieces to purchase separately — we’ll be reviewing the entire system as a whole, while providing our thoughts on the individual pieces. We received shells for the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini, and we’ll be concentrating on the latter two for purposes of this review.
Unlike Otterbox’s Agility System, which used a super-bulky shell, RooCase’s ORB shell case is thin — this becomes an extra bonus with the similarly thin iPad Air 2. It lacks button coverage, but otherwise provides fair protection. The shell even has two tabs built in for use as a kickstand, and a hand strap for holding the iPad, as well. But even though it’s designed to work on its own, RooCase doesn’t sell the case separately for some reason — you have to buy another case.
Those other cases, like the Exec Portfolio ($80) and Folio ($70), add a lot of bulk onto the slim shell case. Both cases might appeal to business professionals — both offer space for business cards, with the Exec model also featuring slots to store other papers — but probably few other users. The ORB Button is included on both of these cases to lock into the shell.
However, there’s also the VersaTough ($60) case. This two-piece polycarbonate-and-TPU case can work with the mounts, but stands on its own without the shell case. We really like the VersaTough case — it offers full button coverage, port protection, and screen coverage as well. It feels solid, and it’s thin to boot. Adding to the confusion, however, is that VersaTough barely fits the Exec Portfolio, and doesn’t fit the Folio well enough. You’d likely only use it with one of the two mounts. Also worth noting: VersaTough allows the ORB Button to lock into eight different positions, as opposed to four with the shell case — if you want a diagonal angle for some reason.
The other pieces in the system are the ORB Strap Car Mount ($40) and the upcoming ORB Loop ($40). We had some trouble with the car mount — though we got it to work, it wasn’t easy. The strap should be longer to fit around all vehicle headrests. ZeroChroma’s Slide-Mount Combo is a better implementation of such an idea. However, the ORB Loop is both functional and rugged. You can hang either of its circles from a hook, or use Loop as a stand. It’s a nice accessory for the price, and if we recommend it if you have interest in the ORB system.
As you might expect with a system that tries to do so much, RooCase’s ORB is a mixed bag. We like the VersaTough and the shell case — the latter not sold separately — and the ORB Loop. Buying the VersaTough and the Loop would be a decent case/stand option for $100. We’re not sold on the other pieces, however.
Overall, we can’t quite recommend RooCase’s ORB system. It’s certainly preferable to Otterbox’s Agility Tablet System, but still flawed. You might be able to find the combination that works for you, but we wouldn’t invest in the system without proper consideration of all the pieces. Note: RooCase’s website is currently being redeveloped, but all of the products listed — except for the upcoming Loop — can currently be found on Amazon.
Company and Price
Model: ORB Tablet System
Compatible: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 1/2/3