Review: Simplism Silicone for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen) + Flip Silicone Cases for iPad 2
We have seen too many mediocre silicone cases for Apple's products to count over the years, so we're glad that Simplism did a pretty good job with its rubber cases for the iPad 2, the simply named Silicone Case ($30) and Flip Silicone Case ($35). As their titles imply, the cases are quite similar: both are soft and rubbery, covering about half an inch of the bezel all the way around the tablet's glass display. The big difference is that "Flip" -- the more expensive version -- has a front flap and strap built in, which is unusual for a rubber case. The only other real distinction between the two is their pack-ins; Flip Silicone Case comes with only a foldable viewing stand, whereas the more basic model also comes with a screen protector film, bubble removing squeegee, cleaning cloth, and dust-removing tape. Each is available in blue, black, pink, or white.
Both cases are quite easy to put on. The silicone is totally flexible and can be pulled and positioned in any way necessary. As is commonly an issue with rubber cases though, the edges pull away without much force when you’re using the iPad 2. Once in place, the Silicone Cases lie flat against the metal back of the iPad 2; there are cutouts on the front for the Home Button and ambient light sensor. Along the back and edges, openings for the rear camera, side switch, and speaker are all precise. Both the Sleep/Wake button and volume rocker are covered, and since the material is so soft, they’re not any more difficult to press; they remain fully tactile. A simple flap covers the Dock Connector, providing a little extra security that you won’t find in most iPad 2 cases. There’s also a protector over the headphone port, including a rubber plug to help keep it in place and prevent foreign objects from entering. Although both models purportedly have an anti-dust coating, they do tend to pick up dust and hair during normal use. The included video stand is flat, simple, and feels rather cheap, but users will have to make the most of it, as there is no viewing stand built into either model.
Flip Silicone Case’s cover is attached to the body of the case by a narrow strip along the left side. Made of the same silicone as the case, it is just as flexible and actually rather floppy. Because there is nothing rigid inside of it, it curls up around the edges when lying on the screen. The strap works quite well; although it has a little bit less give than a traditional elastic band, it is flexible enough to be positioned easily and provides the added benefit of covering the rear camera when the case is closed. As with many folio-style cases, the lid can be wrapped underneath the case and used as a typing stand; here, it’s curled.
Overall, both Silicone Case and Flip Silicone Case are pretty good options for protecting the iPad 2. For $5 more, the addition of the cover makes Flip marginally more protective—although it doesn’t include the screen film or associated accessories, and can get in the way a bit when the tablet is in use. We appreciate the high level of protection and that neither of the cases feel cheap like so many similar models. For that reason, we offer a general recommendation and flat B rating for both versions. These may not be the right choice for those who live with pets however, as animal fur will most certainly find a home on the iPad 2’s new silicone-covered body; the pliability of the front bezel shield relative to other options we’ve tested may turn off other people. Hard or TPU plastic cases will be a superior option for those users, and available for around the same prices.
Updated March 20, 2012: Simplism has released an updated version of Silicone Case for the third-generation iPad ($30). Although the basic structure is the same, this one includes a sound boosting edge that directs the audio from the rear speaker towards the user. Although we appreciate the new feature, it doesn’t effect our general recommendation.