iPad mini: Summary of Case Reviews [UPDATED]
1. Speck FitFolio Case for iPad mini is Workaday, 16 Nov 2012, rated 3/5 (Solid), US$34.95. This folio case is solid, but suffers from some minor problems. It isn’t real leather, doesn’t have a magnet for sleep/wake, the cover doen’t easily lay flat. However, it has a microsuede interior, a clasp to keep the cover secure (but gets in the way), and there are nine color choices. As the title suggests, it’s a workaday folio case with the pros and cons to be evaluated by the customer needs.
2. Incipio Polymer Shell Case for iPad mini is Superb, 28 Nov 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), US$24.95. This is a polymer shell case that fits around the back of the iPad mini to protect it from surfaces. But it also includes a screen protector. The case is easy to remove quickly. It’s strong, rigid, durable, and it doesn’t pick up debris and lint. It always looks great. That alone makes this case great. Comes in black, gray, indigo and pink.
3. OtterBox Defender Case for iPad mini: an Elegant Fortress, 10 Dec 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), US$69.95. The OtterBox Defender case is designed to protect the iPad mini in extreme conditions. A polycarbonate interior with padding, a tough silicone back, a built-in screen protector and an outer polycarbonate shield — which doubles as a versatile stand — all combine to create a case for a seriously rugged environment. Plus the materials are first-rate, and it looks great. Comes in black, blushed (red), and crevasse (grey).
4. The Marware C.E.O. Hybrid Case for iPad Mini is Solid But Flawed, 2 January 2013, rated 3.5/5 (Solid), $42.99. The case is made out of high quality leather on the outside. On the inside is soft gray microfiber. There are three cut-outs in the microfiber that the screen rests on giving three viewing positions. When closed these three cut-outs cushion the screen that create lines on the iPad mini screen that are easy to clean off. The reviewer noted some design flaws and a nuisance strap. Comes in carbon black, black, pink, red and purple.
5. The iGearUnlimited iPad Mini Portfolio Case Is a Poor Choice [Updated], 3 January 2013, rated 2/5 (Disappointing), $39.99. This case suffered from poor materials and workmanship plus hard to access controls and misalligned ports. The developer is liquidating inventory and has discontinued the product.
6. Trek Folio Case for iPad Mini: Elegant Simplicity, 21 January 2013, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $34.95. According to the reviewer, this Brenthaven case is a sterling example of quality, simplicity and excellence of construction. Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some other cases, the customer gets a lot for the money … and more. The inside is faux suede that cushions the iPad while giving it a degree of scratch protection and doesn’t leave the screen with dust lines as with some other cases. Includes screen protector but no magnet for sleep/wake. Comes in black, red, blue, purple and white.
7. The Axis iPad mini Case Offers Something New, 28 January 2013, rated 4/5 (Great), $44.95. The Axis iPad mini case by Marware comes close to being an excellent case for the mini and then misses on a number of counts. As it stands, it’s among the top tier of cases on the market so far. It’s the only case we reviewed that allows the iPad mini to also stand up in portrait mode. Has magnet for sleep/wake, but there were some annoyances, including an ungainly strap to keep the cover closed and engage sleep/wake. Comes in black, blue, cream, red and purple.
8. NewerTech Pad Protector for iPad mini: Luxurious Leather, 4 February 2013, rated 4/5 (Great), $33.99. This folio case is a lot of case for the money. It has high quality real leather, excellent stitching, a magnet for sleep/wake, a screen protector, and a generous microfiber cloth is included. It stands up in two landscape positions: viewing and typing. The stiff leather, out of the box, however, needs a break-in period to achieve full functionality for its most upright position and to consistently activate sleep/wake. Comes in black, red and cognac (tan).
9. Booq’s iPad mini Agenda Case is Work Ready, 11 February 2013, rated 4/5 (Great), $39.95. In this combination case, an iPad mini is on one side and notepad on the other. The iPad mini slides into the case rather than snapping into a solid back piece. The case comes in black leatherette or grey jute and is lined with a soft, suede-like fabric. It can be set up for right or left handers. Included is a 50 page, unlined notepad. Underneath the notepad are two card slots that can each hold several cards. The notepad measures 4 x 7-in, and replacement notepads can be ordered from the Booq website. The reviewer noted an overall sense of quality but also noted that, unlike many other cases for the iPad, it’s not desiged to stand the iPad upright for viewing.
10. ZooGue’s Prodigy iPad & iPad mini Cases Are Well Crafted, 26 February 2013, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $59.99 (iPad), $49.99 (iPad mini). The Prodigy case is the only iPad case on the market with a magnetic kick stand that stays exactly where you put it. The iPad version has six placement options and the iPad mini has five. The exterior is Vegan leather and the inside is microfiber. Also has magnetic sleep/wake function.
11. IGearUnlimited’s iPad mini Case: Expensive But Not Perfect, 28 February 2013, rated 3.5/5 (Solid), $79.99. The inside of the case is soft felt-like material that protects the glass very well. When installing, everything snaps right into the correct places and all the controls, including the speaker grill, are unexposed but set back enough for excellent protection. Three viewing positions (landscape). The design is excellent throughout. The only problem was the qauality of the image transfer to the outside of the case. The reviewer was disappointed by the color and sharpness of the image transfer. There was a fuzziness to the edges that were originally sharp and the color had a strong orange tint overall.
John Martellaro was born at an early age and began writing about computers soon after that. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer and has worked for NASA, White Sands Missile Range, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Apple. At Apple he worked as a Senior Marketing Manager, a Federal Account Executive and a High Performance Computing manager. His interests include skiing, chess, science fiction and astronomy. You can follow John on Twitter at twitter.com/jmartellaro.