The iPad continues to make huge inroads into schools and other educational environments, but one obvious challenge faced by school administrators, particularly in grade schools, is the fact that the devices are still pretty fragile. Without a decent case, iPads need to be used under close supervision or risk frequent damage. This is where Logitech’s Rugged Case comes into play. Designed and marketed exclusively for classroom applications, the Rugged Case protects an enclosed iPad from drops as well as everyday wear and tear, surrounding it with a sturdy ribbed polymer frame that provides full button and port coverage and even extending the Lightning port, and can allow the iPad to survive drops from heights of up to 6 feet onto concrete.
It’s one of the bulkiest iPad cases we’ve seen, but it’s also definitely one of the most protective, and there’s no doubt that the iPad feels solidly protected once inside the case. The case goes on in three pieces, with the iPad sliding into an inner tray, where it docks with a Lightning plug for power, sync, and keyboard access. A top piece slides on to complete the inner tray, and then the inner piece is inserted into an outer frame that provides the extra layer of shock protection. A magnetic attachment on the left side provides a connection for either a detachable screen cover or keyboard cover; the latter connects to the iPad using a hardware connection via the case’s Lightning port connection, rather than Bluetooth, which Logitech points out is specifically designed as a secure solution for students testing and exams, but of course the other upside is that there’s no battery to charge, or Bluetooth pairing procedure to worry about.
The case also includes its own Lightning port on the bottom that passes through charging power and data to the iPad, and a kick-back stand provides a forty-degree range of tilt adjustment, so you can prop up the iPad in just about any position; it stays in place remarkably well and it’s study enough that it can also be used to stand the iPad up in portrait orientation. A transparent window on the back of the case, located under the stand, provides easy access to any asset tag attached to the iPad, while still keeping it hidden from view during normal use.
Unfortunately, while the Rugged Combo is a great case for anybody looking for a high degree of iPad protection, at this point Logitech is only making it available to educational customers via Apple’s Education program; as parents of young iPad users, it’s definitely the type of solution we’d like to see available in the normal consumer market.