Company: Uniq Creation
Compatible: iPad mini
Uniq Creation Essensual for iPad mini
Uniq Creation's Essensual ($39) is among the early iPad mini cases to incorporate a hard shell and Smart Cover-style lid into one unit; it's also the first to replicate the iPad mini Smart Cover's three-column design. Available with a red, blue, or black faux leather lid, the case is slim and useful. And unlike the comparable Odoyo AirCoat, this one doesn't have issues with the cover unintentionally locking or unlocking the iPad's display.
Essensual holds the iPad mini in a very plain black plastic shell, which runs all the way to the edge with the side switch and volume buttons, but leaves a sliver of the top and bottom edges exposed. In addition to one long opening exposing the speakers and Lightning port on the bottom, there are individual holes for the headphone port, microphone, and Sleep/Wake Button. It’s really as basic as it gets.
The lid is a little bit more interesting. It feels just slightly thinner than the Smart Cover, and the faux leather clearly looks different than the polyurethane material Apple uses. Otherwise, the cover is very similar; it folds along the same lines and can be turned into a viewing or typing stand. Uniq Creation did leave out magnets to hold the shape, so the stand instead relies on the weight of the tablet to stay in place. The company did include magnets to automatically wake and sleep the iPad mini. Thankfully the cover can move around a fair amount without triggering the system inadvertently.
Essensual isn’t terribly exciting, but it does its job and it does it well, much like many of Uniq Creation’s accessories. It’s certainly more economical than purchasing a Smart Cover for pretty much the same price, only to then add on a rear shell at additional expense. The slim size is appreciated too. Ultimately, Essensual is a very good option, and deserves our strong general recommendation.