The word “fun” rarely comes up in the ever-expanding universe of iPad and iPad 2 cases; most cases are utilitarian, and some look nice, but the main focus tends to be on functionality and protection. On the other hand, there’s Speck’s iGuy ($40). This kid-friendly stand and case combo in the shape of an alien has certainly evolved since the original iPod model six years ago, and after previewing the tablet-sized iteration at CES in January, we finally got our hands on one.
The basic design is simple. Picture a squat rubbery body in orange, blue, or green foam with arms and legs coming directly out of a rectangular head, and a large opening where the face would be. When we first saw this version, iGuy was designed solely for the first-generation iPad, as the iPad 2 was still a few months off. Since then, Speck has updated the original enclosure to fit both models, and doing so has created some unique compromises. All of the ports and buttons are accessible on both iPads, but when the original model iPad is in iGuy there are superfluous holes where the second generation’s microphone and camera would be located. Likewise, when the iPad 2 is being used, some of the holes are larger than necessary, and the frame is obviously tailored for a larger, thicker device. In the end, however, both devices are fully usable and fit securely inside. Plugging in accessories and pressing buttons are no problem, though iGuy’s body is on the thick side, and holes are deeper than you’d normally expect from a case.
While it does sway a little bit when it’s first set down, iGuy stands up straight on its feet. Even if it did fall, the case is so padded that there’s little fear of damaging the iPad inside. The arms are flexible but don’t have anything inside to hold different positions; they always return back to downwards positions on iGuy’s sides. We did notice some creases beginning to form, especially where the arms meet the body, something that is inevitable with the foam-rubber material and coating used here. It would take an extreme amount of force to actually tear them off, though.
While the original iGuy was a fun way to keep an iPod standing up on a desk, iGuy strikes us as particularly well-suited to parents who let their kids use iPads, due to the high level of cushioning and chunky features. Others may just like it for showing off their tablet. While it’s certainly not for everyone, it’s hard to go wrong with iGuy if you’re looking for something a little bit more fun. There are some rough edges, but none that detract significantly from the unique design. iGuy for iPad and iPad 2 is worthy of a flat B rating and our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Speck Products
Compatible: iPad, iPad 2