Review: Speck DuraFolio for iPad Air + iPad mini
Reportedly in development for two years, DuraFolio ($60-$70) is Speck's first genuinely new iPad case in some time. Available for both the iPad mini and the iPad Air, it's a folio-style case with multiple layers for extra protection. The core is a hard polycarbonate shell, surrounded by softer TPU plastic, and covered with a grippy faux leather material. As we've come to expect from Speck, the rubber layer includes button coverage, while leaving the ports accessible. A magnet holds part of the back panel in place; it can be lifted off to create a stand, in conjunction with the cover. Five color schemes are available.
Apart from the differences in size and one other small exception, which we’ll get to below, the iPad Air and iPad mini versions of the case are exactly the same. As we’ve come to expect from Speck with its CandyShell cases, among others, the openings around the ports are large enough to support most Lightning and headphone plugs, while the button coverage is also a strength. The TPU material protects the buttons, but allows them to retain their tactility. This part of the material bowed out a little on the iPad mini case, but not enough to be a problem.
DuraFolio’s lid has magnets built in, waking the iPad when it’s lifted away. Thankfully, the magnets are also strong enough to prevent the cover from accidentally moving up or down, and triggering the feature. The lid also serves as a stand, a common feature of folios that happens to be particularly well-executed here. It’s attached to the material on the back of the case, with a truncated triangular shape held down with a magnet. It lifts away, allowing the tablet’s left edge to become the bottom, and rest against the inside of the front over. Here’s where there’s a difference between the mini and Air cases: the former has 13 shallow ridges running across the lid, while the latter does not. Both hold a wide variety of positions well, so the change might be due to the iPad mini’s weight or another factor. The case can also be transformed into a sturdy typing stand when tucked underneath the tablet.
Speck has once again made a very nice-looking case with great materials and a pleasant texture. It’s certainly a premium product compared to so many of the me-too folios on the market, a fact that’s reflected in the price. That rather high cost is the biggest strike against the case, and the primary reason it earns our strong general recommendation, rather than a high recommendation. Something like SwitchEasy’s Canvas comes in at a lower price, and while it may not be quite as refined, offers a very similar quantity and quality of protection, plus extras such as screen film. Those who purchase DuraFolio won’t be disappointed by the decision, but it’s a little more expensive than it should be given its features.