While many cases today expand the functionality of the iPad in some way — usually with the inclusion of a stand mechanism — there’s still a market for inexpensive, simple protective covers. That’s precisely what you get with Amzer’s Silicone Skin Jelly Case for the third-generation iPad ($20), one of the least expensive iPad cases we’ve seen. A wraparound rubber skin available in ten colors, it offers a significant amount of protection for the tablet at an affordable price. Not surprisingly, that price does come with some tradeoffs.
Unlike many plastic iPad cases we’ve tested, Silicone Skin Jelly Case covers substantial parts of the new iPad’s front edges, which introduces a slight challenge during installation—thankfully, it’s pretty easy to insert the iPad into the case by tugging a little at the corners. Once in place, almost all of the tablet is covered by the roughly textured material, with a thicker X in the center. Not only is the majority of the back protected, but the edges and even the front bezel are as well. We noticed that the top and bottom edges of our review units didn’t sit quite flat against the glass display, suggesting the case is just a bit too small for the third-generation iPad, despite claims to the contrary.
The Sleep/Wake Button and volume rocker are covered, but their use isn’t hindered at all. There are openings for the Home Button, camera, and light sensor on the front, as well as the ports around the edges. All of them are well positioned, and if not exactly centered, quite close; users may only have issues with some larger headphone and Dock Connector plugs because of the limited clearance the holes provide. There is one glaring omission to the protection, though, and that’s the Apple logo on the back. We’ve said it before, and we’ll likely have to say it again: cutting out a circle around the logo is a poor design choice that doesn’t look particularly nice and leaves too much of the iPad exposed.
Silicone Skin Jelly Case pretty much accomplishes the goals of providing simple and cheap protection. It covers most of the iPad, feels nice, and the array of colors certainly broadens its appeal. But there are two issues that must be resolved. The first is the not-quite-flat fit against the bezel; this is an issue even with the iPad 2, suggesting that tolerances need to be tightened just a bit. Of course, the second issue is the gaping hole over the Apple logo, an easy enough fix that we’d really like to see. Despite these imperfections in fit and design, this case is good enough for the $20 price to merit our general recommendation. It’s hard to find something as protective for such a low price, and the Silicone Skin Jelly Case provides a viable, less expensive alternative to rubber cases such as Simplism’s Silicone Case Set, which protect more and sell for more. You can decide for yourself whether the extra dollars are worth spending for the superior coverage you’ll get.
Company and Price
Model: Silicone Skin Jelly Case
Compatible: iPad (3rd-Gen)