Apple’s new iPad mini 4 is too tall for older iPad mini cases, so we’ll be seeing a whole new slew of cases for the device. The first is Apple’s own iPad mini 4 Silicone Case ($59). Unlike the company’s past Smart Case for iPad mini, Silicone Case is a more basic case. Users can add the sold-separately Smart Cover ($39) to add sleep/wake cover functionality and a stand for multiple viewing angles. The case leaves the left side of the new mini mostly exposed to accommodate the Smart Cover. (Smart Cover can still be used on its own, too, of course.) Both case and cover come in 10 different colors — users can get the same color or mix and match. Our rating will be primarily for the Silicone Case, but with the added functionality of the Smart Cover kept in mind.
Apple’s Silicone Case is a thin soft-touch case that provides proper coverage of the sleep/wake button and volume controls. As one one would expect, the cutouts for the camera and microphones are spot-on, and the fit is secure — though not as absolutely perfect as you might expect, as the case seems to hug the left corners of the iPad mini slightly snugger than it holds the right corners. We also found that our blue version of the case got dirty quite easily — it picked up black smudges right away somehow, so care must be taken to keep Silicone Case clean.
The biggest issue with Silicone Case is that you’re paying nearly $60 for a case that leaves the whole left side of the iPad mini exposed to drops. Apple clearly wants users to spring for the Smart Cover. Though the Smart Cover works as well as it always has — attaching itself with ease to the side of the device — users have to wonder if spending almost $100 for the total package is worth it, considering other less expensive cases are sure to be on the way.
Silicone Case and Smart Cover are a fine combo when it comes to fit and functionality, but the price gives us pause, especially when considering that Apple’s iPad Air 2 Smart Case includes a folio cover for a much lower price. We also don’t see the point on spending $59 for Silicone Case on its own when more protective playthrough cases will surely be available soon. If you feel you need the versatility of removing the iPad mini 4 folio cover at any time, or you like the look and familiar soft-touch silicone/inner microfiber feel of the accessories, Silicone Case and Smart Cover are worth a look. Otherwise, we’d wait for other options.
Company and Price
MSRP: $39 (Smart Cover), $59 (Silicone Case)
Compatibility: iPad mini 4