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Seven Cases: Made for iPad
iPad is thin, beautiful and according to some owners sexy. The tablet has one and quite serious shortcoming in the shape of its apparent fragility. Some are afraid to scratch it, while others are terrified by the prospects that they can drop it. Frankly speaking, I am a bit scared it will be crushed in yet another crowd you can into get during the day. The device is in the bag and I try to handle it with care, but nobody has immunity to accidents. Protection from negative adventures can be partially provided by such an accessory as the case.
Protective Cover for iPad by Incase
The first representative of the magnificent seven doesn't make me glad even before the cover is off. To understand the problem of the unpacked case you have to take it in hand and you will understand everything. If you don't have any desire or chance to have your own experience I can tell you that the case is very heavy, at least 200-300 g. In this outfit iPad will weigh up to a kilo or more.
After physical examination and weighing it's time to take the model out of the bag. I'm not impressed with the way it feels. During my first encounter with the case I thought it was covered with dirt and I had the urge to clean the silicone, which should be smooth. I must admit, the first touch was not that pleasant. And the next was not much better either. It feels like dust from rubber sticks to your fingers. Every time when I put aside this smelly piece of green rubber I thought of soap and water for my hands.
To my mind the type of silicone used in the Protective Cover is not the best option for this accessory. The main issue here is that it doesn't stretch and fit the frame of iPad tight. It's not the second skin. Thick sides of the case complicate the access to the switch responsible for the change between horizontal and vertical orientation of the screen and back. The most frightening are the openings below for 30 pin connector and the loudspeaker, which can easily catch an object and the tablet may slip from your hands. It cannot happen very often, but the opportunity is there and instead of protection Incase happily provides us with one more risk factor.
Now a quick word about the creation of this masterpiece. Judging by its looks it must have been done hastily and without thorough preparation. The seam between the two parts of the case is not hidden and in thick rubber sides there are some tiny cracks, which in future will definitely become visible. This clumsy looking case increases not only the weight of iPad, but its thickness as well. As you know this Apple tablet has the uneven back cover which becomes thicker near the center (11 mm according to the specifications) and reaches only 5 mm near the edges. Protective Cover makes up for this "drawback" by turning the 5 mm tablet into the 17 mm brick of pale green color. Unlike the device itself, the sides of the case have maximum thickness near the edges, which made it so heavy, and minimum around the center where you can even see Apple logo. If to speak about associations it reminds me of the Star Wars episode when the brave Han Solo was soiled with some rubbish and sent to Jabba to explain himself.
I would like to mention a strange leg from the box, which can transform Protective Cover into a stand. This weird gutta-percha device must be stable at least on even surfaces and theoretically the users should benefit from such transformation. It could have happened had iPad retained its original weight or gained no more than 100 g. Believe me, if you set a dangerously inclined kilo of weight against the short, flexible and unreliable plastic tool, it will be like having a walk in the middle of the tornado hit region.
Finally, let's mention the colors, the form and the price. Apart from pale green Protective Cover can be scarlet pink, black and violet. Surprisingly, but on the manufacturer's website you can see the pictures of properly shaped (form fitting instead of bricklike) cases without the extra slice of silicone. Either my sample was a flagrant fake or it came from some trial consignment. The offered colors and separate details support my second assumption. The case is available for $39.95.
It is made of soft and dry neoprene. Feels solid and its edges are decorated with the margins. It resembles a pocket and urges you to put there your hands instead of iPad. I like this feeling, particularly because I wanted to write a positive review. The only disadvantage of this sample is its closed type, which at the same time can count as the virtue. But it gives me no chance by spoiling everything on numerous occasions.
This case (and the following one) is closed because the screen is hidden and you have to take the gadget out when you want to use it. Some will say it is a disadvantage, but others will consider it as the main plus. I cannot join any group without reservations, but at the moment I favor the second one.
Griffin Jumper represents a big pocket as if ripped off from the trousers. As other textile products from this manufacturer the case is made with diligence, but lacks passion. Distinct lines of stitches around the edges, typical and ideal threads, traditional «G» at the back and a funny label with the logo and textual reference to the manufacturer on its front. There is a small ruggedness near the stitches at the bottom, but you can tolerate this. Moreover, as I have already mentioned, when you get tired of this case or it becomes annoying you can put your hand into it and you will regain composure. This pacifying feeling is created by the velvet fabric of the Jumper's inside.
The first inconvenience in use is in its upper part, which covers iPad as a pocket lap. Such pockets are usually found on the trousers' back. Jumper's lap is so tight that every time you put the tablet in you have to suffer. And when you take it out I am afraid this protective device will slip off and allow iPad to fly in any direction.
Furthermore, when I was figuring out how to put the gadget in the case and then take it out, I understood that all manipulations result in pressing the volume decrease button, which negatively affects the listening of music or any other audio. The case also covers 30 pin slot and the loudspeaker. If you can forgive the first weakness, the second one makes it difficult to listen to the music without the headphones. The sound becomes subdued. The worst thing is the blocked headset jack. Over all Griffin Jumper is quite good, but only for long trips where you will use the device very rarely.
The offered color is confined to one: black and grey outside and purely white inside. The price indicated on the manufacturer's website is even below the earlier reviewed "rubber" – $29.99. Jumper has slightly fewer drawbacks than Incase product, but they are still too numerous. So far we have not found the ultimate case. Let's move on.
Griffin Elan Sleeve
As iPad resembles flattened iPhone or iPod (choose what you like more), so Elan Sleeve is very close to the Strap series from BeyzaCases. First of all it is claimed that Griffin is made of leather. It is soft on the outside and pleasant to touch. It is harder inside, but it gives the accessory its permanent form. On the front side below we see the proprietary embossing and the latch at the top. The bolt of the latch is also used to take iPad out of the case. It is not a copy of the previous models as it was slightly altered. In Griffin accessory it is fastened with elastic, so it is not loose when the gadget is out of the case.
The next unquestionable advantage of the case is in the manner of its execution. The designers from Griffin tried hard and managed to break away from the neoprene model reviewed before. First, if you don't take into account the latch and its bolt, Elan Sleeve is made of just two stripes of leather, which represent the inner and the outer layers. The stitching is only around the edges and is similar to the first Griffin, but it is somehow more attractive. The bottom is formed with the folded elements of both sides. All in all it looks better and more appropriate. The convenience of putting iPad in and taking it out, its appearance, the model with the unpretentious embossing and some sort of composure make me wish to buy this case. It is just too good. The only color is black with light brown seams. The hues are classical. It has a wonderful price of $49.99.
The first model from Macally is called METROBPAD. We will also review METROMPAD and METROLPAD, but so far we will concentrate on a pleasant piece of light plastic, which can protect the back cover of iPad from scratches and strikes.
METROBPAD is fixed at four corners and fits the gadget perfectly well. iPad cannot possibly slip out by chance. You can take it out, they way you put it in – just pull at the edges. They are not easily seized, which is a big advantage.
The back side features Macally logo and four tiny pins to make the tablet stable on even surfaces and avoid the "swing effect". If you don't understand what I mean, put iPad on the table, press one of its edges to raise the opposite one and let it go. The only disadvantage was the absence of protection for iPad sides. It is available in black (the transparent version is called METROCPAD) with the price on the manufacturer's website set at $30.
This case is different from the previous one, although the difference is quite insignificant. Its main feature is the protection of the gadget's sides. All sides are covered with quite hard plastic and it is difficult to take iPad out even when you need it. As always it can be considered either as the positive or the negative factor. It is good that the case and the tablet almost merge, but the required power to take the device out is definitely counts as the disadvantage. iPad must leave the case only in case of necessity and it should be made above some soft surface to keep the tablet away from danger.
The bottom of the black frame has holes for 30 pins slot and the loudspeaker, the top and the side host a slot for the headset and microphone and the so-called Screen Rotation Lock. The access to the latter is extremely difficult. I can get there only with my little finger and still I have to count myself lucky. I mentioned the similar problem in the review of the pale glass Incase. Either the designers in both companies have thin fingers or all of them are women.
Due to some reason the buttons of volume control and volume "on" are closed. In this place there is a ridiculous imitation, which reacts only if you have long nails or press it as hard as you can. While the screens become capacitive and do not appreciate the pressure, the cases seem to develop in the opposite direction. After 5 minute use I felt like making the holes for the abovementioned buttons myself.
The back side of the case is half transparent and you can easily see Apple logo and other information from iPad cover. The front side has slightly protruding edges, which resembles the screen of Unibody MacBook Pro. This structure allows the owners of the tablet to put the gadget with its screen to the surface without thinking about scratches and other trifles. The price of METROLPAD also reaches $30.
It is a twin brother of METROBPAD in terms of the approach to fixing it on iPad and the absence of protection for the device's sides. After that the differences begin.
For the first time I am ready to review the sample without unpacking it. I am afraid to scratch METROMPAD more than to damage iPad. Some may like its pseudo mirror surface, but do not rush to buy. Imagine how this "magic mirror" will look in a month or two. The only advantage of such a purchase will be an opportunity not to go to a house of mirrors in an amusement park. You will always have it with you if METROMPAD is in your bag.
The absence of pins on the outside of the case is also a disadvantage. Obviously, they could not have been used because the case mimics the mirror. They would probably make it difficult to use make up or check the hairdo, but you cannot do without them. Before putting your iPad on any hard surface think twice. The price remains the same - $30 and I can give it only the lowest possible grade.
MSUITPAD is made of a solid piece of rubber with slots for main iPad controls. There is no imitation of buttons here, though METROLPAD would have just benefited from such a solution.
When you put the case on you cannot get away from associations with a condom. It is difficult at the beginning, but afterwards you will always be afraid it can slip off at the worst possible moment. You can take it off with ease – pull any edge and you are done.
The weak point of MSUITPAD is the side holes for slots and buttons. It is believed that the silicone does not stretch and regains its original form if you do not touch it for some time. It is not really so. At the beginning the case does not fit well and I am afraid of what can happen after some time.
The rubber adhesion with the surface of the table will be considered as plus. Unlike the previous outfits iPad does not slide on the surface. The opportunity to put the gadget with its screen to the table will go as the plus as well. The obvious disadvantage is the ability of silicone to gather all dust it contacts with. According to the manufacturer's website MSUITPAD costs $20 or $10 cheaper than hard shelled accessories from Macally.
We have seen seven cases for iPad or rather seven different cases for iPad, which can be classified into closed and open, practical solutions and poor ones. In the first group the ratio will be 2:5 and in the second we will see a real landslide (1:6) victory for leather Griffin Elan Sleeve. Cheap rubber of Incases and Macally did not prove its value and silicone is a good solution only for the phones and other small gadgets. Griffin Jumper is good, but the case should fit the tablet and not our hands. METROPAD models can be recommended if you need open ones, but the "magic mirror" is too unpractical to be supported.
The author would like to thank the shop iCult.ru for the cases presented for review.
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Published 29 June 2010
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