Matching the design aesthetics of its iPhone 5c counterpart, Tylt’s Ruggd for iPad Air ($50) is one of the first playthrough cases we’ve received for the tablet. Made of co-molded plastic and rubber, it’s ruggedized as the name suggests, with extended portions of material to help absorb shocks. This means it’s not quite as sleek as we’d usually prefer, but it is interesting nonetheless.
There are two variations of Ruggd, both with shiny black plastic backs: one has a gray rubber lining and accents, while the other is bright lime green. The rubber runs all the way around the case’s outer edge, allowing it to form a protective over the bezel. In all four corners, the material extends up about an eighth of an inch, adding an some extra buffer. It’s the same on the back; the shock protection is appreciated, but it increases the overall thickness of the case by at least 1/4”.
Although it’s not as heavy duty as it could be, Tylt’s case does offer a very reasonable quantity of protection. This includes button coverage, with rubber that doesn’t take away from the clicky feeling, and rubber lined openings for each of the ports, including the rear microphone. Instead of taking the easy route and leaving one hole on the bottom edge for the speakers and Lightning port, there are three. One factor that sets Ruggd apart from most other playthrough cases is the built-in portrait orientation kickstand. Three inches wide at the bottom, it tapers down two inches at the top, where a rubber hinge keeps it in place. It snaps securely into the body of the case when not in use.
While the design isn’t going to be for everyone, Ruggd is a very good iPad Air case, and worthy of our general recommendation. The same money can buy you folio-style cases with all-around protection, but we understand the appeal of playthroughs, and this one is a strong contender. We’d be interested to see if Tylt brings its Band case to the tablet as well, as it may be an even better option.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad Air