Substantially different in feel and functionality from the company’s earlier iPad and iPhone cases, Urban Armor Gear’s Composite Case for iPad Air ($50) is a folio-style design rather than a playthrough case this time, mixing a rubber dot grid exterior texture with matte plastic and fabric interior textures. Yet the mechanical, urban aesthetic is the same, including the faux screw heads on the back. Thus far, it’s only available in black (“Scout”) color, but additional colors may well be offered in the future. Metallic UAG branding can be seen on the front and back of the case.
Composite Case is a little bit thicker than early iPad Air folios we’ve seen, but works in pretty much the same way. Once you secure the tablet into the case, it’s protected almost everywhere, apart from stylized top, bottom, and side switch holes. The Sleep/Wake and volume buttons require a little more pressure to be properly activated than with a bare iPad or some cases, but they do work properly. In a somewhat interesting design decision, UAG went with one long opening for the dual microphones, rather than two separate ones, leaving just a bit of extra aluminum exposed.
The grippy texture on the back of the case continues along to the lid. That cover folds open to support two different stand positions, automatically locking and unlocking the iPad Air’s screen when closed and lifted. One drawback is the lack of a typing angle, as neither stand angle is low enough to support tapping away at the screen.
UAG consistently offers very good cases at fair prices, choosing polarizing designs that aren’t made to appeal to everyone. They’re not bad in any way, but more niche than most cases. Regardless, Composite Case is a strong contender, and earns a general recommendation. We wish it were a little slimmer, and that the buttons worked with just a bit less resiststance, but the level of protection and functionality are there, and there’s no question this model will stick out from the crowd of cases that look like one another.
Company and Price
Company: Urban Armor Gear
Model: Composite Case
Compatible: iPad Air