Designed as a professional’s accessory, the Shellstand 2 Rotatable Leather Case & Stand ($50) for iPad 2 from Macally is a play on the standard folio style case. It has what the company calls a leather exterior — indistinguishable from some of the faux leather cases we’ve seen — held shut with a magnetic clasp, and the inner lining is soft microfiber to protect the device against scratches. Holding the iPad 2 inside is the same kind of hard plastic shell the company uses for its Ecostand 2 Bamboo Viewing Stand, rather than the traditional sewn-together leather or fabric pocket. Like all of Macally’s recent offerings, Shellstand 2 does not come with any sort of extras, such as a polishing cloth or screen protector.
The inner shell is noteworthy because it covers so much of the iPad 2’s back and sides. Most such cases, including recent options from Macally, stop short at the top and bottom edges, leaving the tablet’s metal back more exposed than necessary. Shellstand 2’s case differs in that the hard translucent plastic extends to all four edges with strategic cutouts for the headphone port, microphone, Sleep/Wake button, side switch and volume rocker, speaker, and Dock Connector. As with the Ecostand 2, a thin but firm strip of plastic even extends underneath the speaker, a nice touch. Each corner has either one or two slits, which provide a little bit of give when installing or removing the case. While not terribly attractive, they are functional. The shell cannot be removed from the case.
Instead of the magnetically attractive plate featured on Ecostand 2, Shellstand 2’s plastic iPad holder connects to the leather folio with a rotating plastic circle. The left half pops out, allowing the back cover to fold at the midpoint. The case can spin 360 degrees on that axis, so it can be positioned however you see fit. Both the left and bottom sides of the shell have rubbery feet, used to hold the iPad 2 in place when positioned on the front flap. They prevent the case from moving without significant pressure—certainly not under the weight of the iPad 2 alone. The fully customizable viewing angle is nice, but we couldn’t find a great typing angle. Additionally, the only way to use the back camera is to rotate the iPad 2 into landscape orientation, which sometimes will unfortunately be an impractical position.
While Shellstand 2 is not a bad solution for using and protecting the iPad 2, it does have a few weaknesses that prevent us from being able to issue a general recommendation. The lack of a suitable typing angle and the blocked rear camera are both details that should not have been overlooked, and the price is just a bit higher than we would have expected for this model. Otherwise, we do like the look and feel of the case, which would blend right into a corporate boardroom; a few small tweaks could make it a lot better.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2