Play-through iPad cases are still amongst our favorites, so we were glad to see Philips enter the iPad 2 case market this week with its first such entry: the ShockStop Soft-Shell Case for iPad 2 ($30). Available in clear, translucent black, or translucent purple, this case takes a classic design from past iPods, iPhones, and iPads, executed with confidence on the slenderized second iPad. A simple soft shell, ShockStop provides full protection for the back and sides of the iPad 2 without interfering with the screen at all, and adding almost no bulk.
ShockStop is made of a glossy, flexible TPU rubber-like plastic that feels smooth and a little grippy—not so much that it would be difficult to remove from a bag or sleeve, nor enough to stick to lint and dirt.
Inside the rear of the case is a raised crystalline pattern that offers shock protection without much bulk, nicely accenting the silver metal back of the iPad. Installation is quite easy, and the case fits perfectly, with precision-tailored holes for all of the expected parts, plus integrated button protectors on the top and side. While the iPad 2’s rear-mounted speaker is substantially exposed, we’d expect that a month or two may pass before developers of plastic cases figure out how to cover it properly without interfering with its sound output.
While the buttons click quite well through the case, there is no touchable separation between the top and bottom halves of the volume rocker, which makes changing the sound level a little bit more difficult when you are not looking at the iPad 2.
Another small downside is that the edges are thin enough around the front bezel that you might accidentally dislodge one or more of the front sides—not the whole case—during typical use, a problem we also saw in iKit’s Carbon Case for iPad 2. While it’s easy just to pop them back into place, the next generation of iPad 2 cases will likely be built just a little bit better to withstand that issue.
Although it has small faults, ShockStop is one of the better early cases for the iPad 2. Its simple, clean design offers the kind of protection that most users need, and the $30 price is certainly fair—low enough to let you buy a separate screen protector of your choice to almost complete the iPad 2’s body coverage.