Incipio’s NGP line has become one of the best soft shell options for Apple devices, so it’s no surprise that the company has released an iPad mini version at $25 — $10 less than the iPad 2 version we last reviewed. Other than the shape and size, Incipio has made few changes to the single-piece case, apart from the absence of screen film. Incipio is currently listing black, purple, and translucent grey versions on its website.
NGP stands for Next Generation Polymer, referring to the kind of semi-rigid TPU-like material it is made from. Unlike rubber, the case is rather sturdy, though it does have some give. Unlike many flexible shells, it does not accidentally pull away from the sides of the screen with a light touch; once it’s wrapped around the body of the iPad mini, it stays in place until you want it to come off. We found the openings along the edges to be just shy of off-center. They’re not far enough to obscure access to the ports or block the speakers, though. The case protects the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons too, although you must apply some extra pressure to press them. This isn’t terribly surprising considering NGP shipped before the iPad mini itself, but it could be improved. Additionally, although there’s no screen coverage, the case forms a small raised lip around the perimeter of the bezel. It isn’t uncomfortable when holding the iPad mini, and provides a little protection if the mini drops on its face to the floor.
We continue to like the way NGP looks, feels, and fits around the iPad mini’s body. It’s smooth without being slippery, and protective without being bulky. The lack of screen film is a bit of a drawback, but the price seems right to us for the smaller case. Considered in the context of its iPod touch and iPad predecessors, it’s priced like the iPod touch case was, and cheaper than the iPad case, but lacks the screen film they both included. As such, it’s missing something that we’d really like to see in the package, but earns our strong general recommendation given the nice design and value that are there.
Updated November 15, 2013: Incipio has launched an updated version of NGP 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.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad mini