Made to fit both the second- and third-generation iPads, PPC Techs’ SlateShield ($55) is like a handful of other cases we’ve seen over the past few years, combining body protection with a hand strap and a stand. Cases like this are designed to make it easier to hold an iPad in one hand while using it with the other, with the added benefit of easier desktop viewing and typing. PPC Techs chose a somewhat strange design for the case itself, but the keynote features work surprisingly well, and a number of accessories are included: screen protector film, screen cleaning wipes, a polishing cloth, and a stylus all come packed in. They’re all generic OEM-quality, but help justify the value.
Like most similar strap-assisted cases, SlateShield is a playthrough-style design, but instead of the iPad fitting between pieces that snap together, the tablet is inserted through an open top edge. The case is pretty tight, especially when used with the new iPad, but a soft velvet lining prevents your device from getting scratched. PPC Techs relies on that pressure—plus a simple Velcro strap with a microphone hole in the center—to hold the tablet in place. There’s about 3/8” of bezel coverage, with small scoops for the light sensor and the Home button. Along the sides you’ll find openings for the side switch and volume rocker, speaker, and Dock Connector port.
SlateShield has one of the better implementations of a hand strap we’ve seen so far. Located on a 360 degree rotating disc on the case’s back, it’s made of an adjustable elastic band strung through a soft rubber pad. We found the fit to be both comfortable and tight; many competing cases fall short of one of those marks. The stand is also integrated into that disc: it slides out flat from the side and a tab folds down from the center, sliding into a groove that holds the position. SlateShield can then be used in assorted viewing or typing angles depending on how you stand it up, although there’s no ratcheting system to hold the positions. Each position was sturdier than expected, although the viewing angles are almost precariously steep.
Taken as a whole, SlateShield is one of the better hand grip-equipped cases we’ve seen. The strap and stand work better than expected, offering more functionally than many cases. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing case though, and the insertion method PPC Techs chose has its consequences, compromising the iPad’s top protection. That being said, SlateShield does a lot, and it does it well. Users who are looking for a case that provides more than just protection and comes with plenty of extras will likely be quite happy with this one; it’s worthy of our strong general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: PPC Techs
Compatible: iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)