First released for the third-generation iPad, Incipio has now brought the Lexington ($35) design to the iPad mini. The plastic and “vegan leather” case is essentially the same as its larger counterpart; that is, it’s a straightforward folio covered in faux leather. You currently have a choice of obsidian black, scarlet red/light gray, slate blue/dark gray, or charcoal gray/light gray color combinations, the last of which is shown here.
At Lexington’s core is a soft touch rubber-coated plastic shell. Unlike the larger version, which continued all the way to all four edges, this one stops a bit short at the top and bottom, leaving more of the aluminum body exposed than necessary. It’s a small fault, but we expect at least that much coverage from shells. Otherwise the expected openings are all present, and leave room for any accessories you may be using.
Covering most of the back of the shell and continuing around to form the lid is the faux leather. Whereas Incipio previously used material that at least resembled leather, here it went with something different—actually more comparable to the polyurethane Apple uses for its Smart Covers, and cheaper-feeling. The lid is somewhat thicker than many other covers because it has a second layer, made of microsuede, sewn on the inside.
The cover on our review unit curled up at the corners and didn’t sit flat along the top and bottom edges; while this is primarily unappealing aesthetically, it also impacts functionality to a lesser degree. Incipio continues to use the tab closure mechanism, which doubles as a way to hold Lexington in a stand position for viewing and typing. It also helps keep the lid shut when not in use, and because the cover doesn’t site quite flat, prevents the auto-locking magnets from waking the iPad unintentionally.
Incipio’s original Lexington earned our strong general recommendation. Although the smaller version is $5 less expensive, it’s also taken some steps back in terms of quality. The materials have been cut down, resulting in a less impressive case. Overall, it’s a good option, and therefore worthy of our general recommendation, rather than as great as a smaller, less expensive Lexington might have been.
Updated April 15, 2013: Incipio has added Printed Lexington ($40) to its lineup. The case itself is the same, but comes in a number of colorful patterns.
Updated November 15, 2013: Incipio has launched an updated version of Lexington for iPad mini with Retina display. Essentially the same as the original, this one adds a hole on the back for the new tablet’s second microphone, and offers slightly less protection at the top and bottom edges.
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Compatible: iPad mini