We’ve seen a few iterations of Griffin’s CinemaSeat; now it’s available for the iPad mini ($40). This one is almost identical to CinemaSeat 2, except, of course, much smaller. In the past we’ve praised this car mounting solution’s ease of use, but taken issue with the price and unitasking nature. Griffin chose to maintain its asking price, an unfortunate move considering the smaller size of the accessory.
As with earlier versions, the soft faux leather and neoprene case is designed to hold the tablet, and then hook onto the back of a car seat’s headrest for video viewing on the go. A nylon band lined with Velcro wraps around the posts and can be adjusted as needed. CinemaSeat covers most of the iPad mini’s bezel, but leaves access to the Home button and FaceTime camera. On the back are openings for the headphone port, microphone, Sleep/Wake button, plus one opening along the bottom for the Lightning port and speakers. They’re mostly well-centered, although the Sleep/Wake button is partially covered by the case no matter how far you push the tablet in. Gone from this edition is the mesh pocket, which in the past could be used for earbuds and other small accessories.
Like before, CinemaSeat is designed to remain in your vehicle; it doesn’t make a great case for on the go. The one long opening along the edge allows you to slip an unencased iPad mini in and out, leaving the right side exposed. It completely covers the tablet’s rear camera. We found the $40 price tag objectionable for the larger CinemaSeat with the arguably useful pocket. The build quality and materials are just as nice, but comparatively, this smaller, less featured version is a letdown. At half the price it would make more sense. Really good—and even great—cases that can be used at all times can be had for the same cost or less. We don’t recommend this one.
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPad mini