Review: Us+U Swivel ProFolio for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
Billed by the company as the "world's only rotating portfolio style iPad case" -- which might not be accurate any more, though Us+U pioneered the concept nearly two years ago -- Swivel ProFolio ($70) fits both the second and third generations of Apple's tablet. It provides a fair level of functionality and protection, offering iPad users both extra grip and stand options, while compromising on bulkiness.
Although Us+U notes that Swivel ProFolio is thinner than its predecessor, it’s still more than an inch thick. Unlike most iPad folios, which are entirely made from faux or genuine leather, the exterior of Swivel ProFolio is made from ballistic nylon that feels resilient but coarse to the touch. A pocket runs vertically down the height of the cover, and is just large enough for a few sheets of folded paper or a small notepad. Additionally, an elastic pen or stylus holder is sewn onto the back.
The iPad is supported in a faux leather frame with cutouts for the ports and buttons alongside four exposed corners. Velcro along the left side prevents the tablet from moving around, which is important as the device must be pushed all the way over to properly line up with the holes. Once the iPad’s in place, the openings are well positioned, but the combination of the size of the holes and the material will prevent some accessories—especially large-plugged headphones—from connecting.
Swivel ProFolio’s main attractions are all located inside the front cover. Notably, the lid doesn’t include magnets to lock and unlock the iPad or hold itself shut. What you’ll find there is a fold-out stand—which happens to be held down with magnets—plus a rotating hand strap right in the center. When folded out, the former creates a typing angle that is surprisingly sturdy, although steeper and closer to a video viewing angle than many competitors. The case also supports proper video viewing angles when you pull the faux leather holder away from the ballistic nylon back and prop it up against the inside of the lid.
Us+U’s hand strap is impressive, though you do have to prepare the folio-style case before you can use it. Elastic bands at the corners of the front lid hold the case shut when your iPad’s not in use, and bind the front and rear sides together to convert the case into an open-faced, playthrough-style design with a strap on the back. Covered in microsuede, the strap spins through 360° of freedom with no friction, but there’s enough tension to keep it in place when stopped. As long as you’re willing to put up with the bands across the iPad’s right corners, it works as well as any other hand strap-equipped case, and is particularly well-suited for use when you’re standing.
Swivel ProFolio has nice features, but lacks elegance, which detracts from its appeal. It’s more protective than the other hand strap cases out there because the lid covers the tablet’s front and not just its back—arguably a positive for some users, though it comes at the cost of thickness, and the ballistic nylon feels like it’s trading comfort for resilience. Given its stand positions and rotating strap, there’s enough here to be worthy of our general recommendation, but we’d like to see a streamlined version in the near future.