While overall protective quality is at the top of our list of a case’s most important features, appearance isn’t far behind. At first sight, Unusual Studio’s new VIP cases for iPad 2 ($50) and iPhone 4 ($26) certainly draw attention for their distinctive looks: both are covered in a padded, quilt-like, shiny faux leather that reflect their surroundings like a bug’s eyes. The cases are packaged with a piece of screen film, and are available in red, brown, black, ash, and gold.
The iPhone 4 version of the case is virtually identical to Speck’s Fitted case from last Fall, with the only exception being the material on the back. They share the same matte-finished black plastic shell, which splits down the middle and offers no button coverage, but does have adequate room to use accessories and connect to Universal Docks. Overall, as unusual as it might be, we like the look—it’s a hip, glam design that doesn’t look just like everything else on the market.
VIP for iPad 2 is pretty straightforward as far as folio-style cases go. The outside is fully covered in the shiny material. Opening the case reveals a flat, soft fabric panel on the left—with magnets to activate the iPad 2’s automatic locking feature—and a faux leather frame for holding the tablet on the right. As with many similarly-styled cases, all four of the iPad 2’s corners are exposed, as are all of the ports, buttons, and rather significant portions of the left edge. The frame does provide some bezel coverage, although there is a lot of open room for the camera and Home button. An elastic strap on the back holds the case shut, and an included strap can attach to the top left corner and be worn around the wrist.
As do many folio-style cases, VIP converts into a stand. The frame separates from the back of the case a little bit more than halfway from the left side. Along that edge is a strip of Velcro, which can attach anywhere on the inside of the left cover. This freedom allows for a wide away of viewing angles and not just a set few, although there isn’t a great typing position.
Both of these cases have more going for them in the looks department than overall protection, but the looks will really appeal to some people. At $4 below the price of Fitted with a screen protector film included—something Speck doesn’t offer— the iPhone 4 version is a reasonable deal, and worthy of the same B rating Fitted received in the past; it earns our general recommendation. Despite its very different and somewhat basic folio design, the iPad 2 model merits the same rating. The stand features work well, it looks good, and the price isn’t crazy by iPad 2 folio standards. While it could stand to have additional protection on its sides, VIP for iPad 2 is a nice case, and also merits a B and general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Unusual Studio
Compatible: iPad 2, iPhone 4