Review: Tuff-Luv Tri-Axis Stasis + Multi-View Stasis Cases for iPad 2
One of the cooler features of the iPad 2 is the magnetic sleep and wake feature, which was most famously incorporated into Apple's iPad Smart Cover. We were not huge fans of the Smart Cover because of its lack of protection, but third parties are thankfully starting to develop their own alternatives. Tuff-Luv has shipped its Tri-Axis Stasis (£29-£70, $47-$112) and Multi-View Stasis (£35-£39, $56-63), which are both unique takes on the folio with integrated stand style of case, fully integrating an iPad 2-ready magnet system. All of the models are currently available for pre-order, and come in deliberately minimalist and eco-friendly cardboard packaging.
Tri-Axis Stasis is available in a variety of faux and real leathers, including what the company calls “veggie leather.” Based on the samples we received, the quality of both materials is pretty good—we liked the faux leather and are particularly fans of the distressed Saddleback leather. On any all of the models, you slide the iPad 2 in from the right side, secure it with the Velcro strap, and then a series of buttons, Velcro tabs, and folding corners allow the iPad 2 to stand in a variety of angles and positions, both landscape and portrait.
Setting Tri-Axis in the landscape orientation is not immediately intuitive, and the instructions provided with our review unit showed buttons rather than Velcro, which confuses the process as there are other buttons on the case. Along the front cover is a spine of five fasteners. To stand the case up in a landscape orientation, you unbutton the triangular stand from the back, lift up the Velcro tab on that stand as well as the tab that you would like on the front cover, and attach the two. Once you know what you are doing, it is less complicated than it sounds, and quite sturdy. For the portrait orientation, the front cover is folded around to the back and the bottom corner folds to become a stand. We found this to be much less robust than the landscape orientation.
The Multi-View is quite similar to the Tri-Axis, only with snaps replacing Velcro on the front, the removal of foldable corners leaving the case unable to stand in portrait orientation, and the addition of a pocket on the inner left hand side of the folio. This version is available in either hemp or faux leather—we tested the former. The process for standing Multi-View in landscape orientation is the same as for Tri-Axis, simply replacing the Velcro with buttons.
We were very happy to see that the magnetic sleep and wake feature works in exactly the same way as it does with the Smart Cover. Upon opening either folio, the iPad 2 automatically wakes up without the traditional slide to unlock gesture. Close the front cover and you will here the familiar locking sound as the device enters sleep mode. It is great to see Tuff-Luv utilizing this technology in a significantly more protective solution than what Apple has to offer.
While there is full access to all of the iPad 2’s ports and buttons, both Tri-Axis and Multi-View have the same fault that we have seen with most other folios for the iPad 2; the flat back does not complement the tapered edges of the tablet. All of the controls can still be accessed but they are recessed a bit, making them a bit more difficult to use. While it is not a deal breaker, it will be interesting to see how case manufacturers tackle this issue in the future. The camera is fully exposed, and any standard headphones or Dock Connectors can be used without any issue.
While a bit over designed, we like both of these models quite a bit. They provide a unique design, significant coverage, and true utility. Combine that with the magnetic sleep and wake feature, and these are some of the best folios we have seen so far for the iPad 2. The less expensive models of both Tri-Axis and Multi-View are certainly a great value, and we recommend them. On the other hand, while we really like the design of the Saddleback version of Tri-Axis, the £70 price is a bit prohibitive, and it thus earns only our limited recommendation.
Updated May 3, 2011: Tuff-Luv has released updated versions of Multi-View Stasis in its Marrakesh series. Both “Souk” brown and “Medina” red finishes are now available, both in faux leather with cloth fronts.