Relatively few iPad Air 2 cases have hit the market early in the device’s lifespan, as companies likely had a short time to adjust to the design changes in Apple’s thinner full-sized iPad. Griffin has released a few options, though, including the Slim Folio ($30) and Survivor All-Terrain ($80). Slim Folio is a very thin fabric case that actually fits both the iPad Air 2 and original iPad Air — it has holes for the camera and microphone locations on both devices. Survivor All-Terrain is a beefy rubber-and-plastic case solely for iPad Air 2, similar to the other products in Griffin’s Survivor line. The case offers complete button coverage, as well as screen and port protection. A multi-layer case, Survivor All-Terrain is weather-resistant and military spec-tested to be safe from two-meter drops onto concrete. The case also comes with a detachable stand.
Slim Folio is similar to Griffin’s earlier Elan Folio Plus, though this new version has more minor build quality issues than the prior, troubled case. We found the fit to be a bit off in certain areas here — the side mic hole isn’t perfect, the speaker grille holes don’t attempt to match up with the device, and the camera hole for the iPad Air 2 is strangely asymmetrical.
Moreover, protection is minimal in Slim Folio, to say the least. It also might bother some users that there are extra holes which don’t match the device, due to Griffin making the case compatible with both iPad Air models. A notch on the back of the case lets users insert the flap to form a two-position stand, which works better in the lower position; the upper position feels a bit unstable and flimsy, much like the case itself.
Survivor All-Terrain is a thick case that adds plenty of protection — and lots of bulk — to a thin iPad Air 2, which may limit its appeal to many users. The thick rubber and plastic combo certainly makes a user feel safe, though, as do the front screen protector and fully covered buttons and ports. It’s very similar to the previous Survivor for iPad Air, with a thin layer of plastic added to cover the Touch ID button.
Unfortunately, this time around, Survivor misses the mark in one specific area — the feel of the volume controls. While the decrease volume button is nice and responsive, trying to increase the volume of the iPad Air 2 can be an exercise in frustration, as the button’s feel is floaty at best and completely unresponsive, at worst. This is the sort of thing Griffin may address in a subsequent revision of the case, but for now, it’s not quite right.
Griffin’s latest cases represent opposite sides of the spectrum — the thin, slight, cheap Slim Folio, and the thick, protective, expensive Survivor All-Terrain. Both cases have their issues. Slim Folio doesn’t have much going for it: the case feels flimsy and a bit thrown together, and doesn’t offer enough to justify a purchase, even at such a low price. It’s just barely acceptable enough to consider as an option while you wait for something better to come along. Survivor All-Terrain would be a good choice for those who want a protective iPad Air case, but we can’t overlook the volume control issues, especially for an $80 case. It earns our limited recommendation, but if Griffin fixes that problem, only its bulkiness relative to the slim iPad Air 2 will be a problem for some people.
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPad Air 2