Over the years, Incipio has designed some very cool looking cases. Though it shares a name with a completely different full-sized iPad case, Tek-nical for iPad mini ($40) is the company’s only totally new design in its iPad mini case lineup, and it stands out from the crowd. The folio-style design isn’t new, but the textures and materials make this option worth checking out — apart from one rather serious problem.
As with many folios, including Incipio’s own Lexington and LGND, Tek-nical’s shell is made from form-fitting hard plastic. Rather than being covered in faux leather or other material, though, it’s nicely designed to evoke the look of carbon fiber with small dots all over the glossy black surface. The quantity of protection the shell offers is good, but not great. There’s no button protection, but the openings are properly sized to allow for a wide range of accessory compatibility without leaving too much aluminum exposed.
The lid is made of microsuede, and it’s the weakest element of the case. It looks nice at first, but under normal use, our review unit quickly began to show scratches and other marks. To turn Tek-nical into a stand, you tuck the lid into a metal tab on the back of the shell. While the metal is a really cool visual element, pushing the lid inside it can cause the lid’s edge to tear. Finally, the cover exhibits the same problem as many others for the iPad mini: there are issues with its magnetic locking mechanism, such that even small nudges can accidentally wake the tablet up. This could potentially lead to battery drain issues.
Were it not for the issues with the lid, we’d be pretty enthusiastic about Tek-nical. In a time when so many cases look alike, Incipio’s designers took a unique approach that’s eye-catching at the very least. Unfortunately, the fact that the lid becomes disfigured so rapidly is disconcerting, and an even bigger problem than the magnet issues. This case was very close to receiving a higher rating, but the lid issues dropped it down to a C+. Tweaks to the material and metal clasp could really improve on an otherwise cool design.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad mini