There aren’t many playthrough-style iPad Air cases with built-in stands at this point, so Macally’s Hardshell Case with Flexible Grip ($25, aka TOPOPA5) immediately demands some attention from those who desire stand functionality without needing a lid or external accessory. While it doesn’t have the same level of elegance as a case from ZeroChroma, it’s a more durable option, thanks to a thick rubber core. The stand provides three different angles. Coming only in black, it’s not the coolest looking case, but it’s more affordable than most options of its kind.
Although you don’t absolutely have to remove the cross-shaped piece of hard plastic on the back of the case when you install the iPad, doing so helps ensure a proper fit. The rubber is sized without any wiggle room, and perhaps a hair too small, so if the plastic is left on, the rubber may not curl over the edges correctly. If forms a short lip over the screen, while protecting the corners of the tablet with extra material.
We found that most of the port and button openings were a bit off-center, which doesn’t affect functionality, but also doesn’t look great. Because it’s deep within the raised corner, the headphone port is limited to use with only straight and narrow plugs, such as the one on Apple’s EarPods. The design also affects the Sleep/Wake button, which is covered with rubber, but more difficult to press than it should be; it requires extra pressure and doesn’t provide great tactile feedback. Down along the botto
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Compatible: iPad Air