Protectors to suit your individual Apple tablet needs

By Lee Bell, theinquirer.net
Fri Mar 22 2013, 15:49

THERE’S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, the world of Apple peripherals is saturated with hundreds of protective cases and covers. From slim ones to rugged ones and leather ones to vinyl ones, there’s an iPad case for everyone, with keyboard docks for the business user, built-in stands for the entertainment junkie, and those that are a bit of both.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to hunt down which iPad case is the best for the type of user you are. Sifting through endless search results on Amazon is a chore in itself, and one that no-one really wants to endure. And when you do decide to buy one, it can turn out that they aren’t what you expected them to be.

ipad-cases-roundup

Over the past few weeks, we’ve tested heaps of cases and covers that fit Apple’siPad 2 up to the most recent iPad with Retina Display to find which ones are best suited to various individual needs. Whether you’re an avid explorer keen on taking your iPad on adventures with you, or you prefer something to help out with office work, we’ve tested which cases are best for how you use your iPad.

The case for the stylish: Snugg’s Ultrathin 
Snugg’s Ultrathin case is all about aesthetics. Having a simple and sleek design, the high end finish is ideal for those who care most about style. But it’s not lacking in substance, as its satin black brushed-metal effect cover is reminiscent of Apple’s Smartcover, which not only protects the screen from scratches but can be folded as a stand to offer different viewing angles depending on use.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Snugg Ultrathin case

Inside there’s a soft felt material that gives a nice touch to the overall finish, and there are holes in all the right places to allow access to the charging port, headphone socket and the camera. Its minimalistic and slick appearance is sure to complement those image conscious iPad users among us, while offering a lightweight build and a magnetic cover for all around protection, costing £35.

The case for the minimalist: Gear4’s Thin Ice
Something that often repels iPad users when it comes to protecting their device with a case is that most will drastically change the tablet’s overall appearance, weight and size. A case that looks to eliminate that concern is Gear4’s Thin Ice snap-on cover. Its transparent hard plastic construction and minimal coverage area means that it won’t change the thickness or weight of the iPad. It’s also very discreet when viewing the iPad from the front, while covering the corners so it manages to protect the tablet from hard knocks.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Gear4 Ice Thin

Costing around £25, you don’t feel like you’re getting much for your money, but it’s by far the most slim-line and minimal case out there, so worth every penny if you don’t want to disturb the shimmering facade of your beloved Apple tablet.

The case for the accident prone: Otterbox’s Defender
The defender case by Otterbox is a protective fortress, formed from four parts for three-layer defence. Though we found it can take a good few minutes to lock your iPad into, it’s a perfect companion for the accident-prone user’s pricey tablet.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Otterbox Defender

There are two hard plastic covers that come together in the first layer, offering screen protection. The second layer adds a rubber enclosure covering all buttons and ports, followed by a third hard plastic cover, which adds extra support for knocks on the iPad’s corners and has a built-in kick stand so that it can be propped up for watching movies or working at a desk without the need to remove it. That’s a good thing, as we’d probably not find the time.

The Otterbox Defender means even the most clumsy people will find it hard to damage their iPad. At £50, it’s a worthy investment for those butter fingered among us who would have to fork out much more to replace the iPad’s screen if it were to slip out of their grasp onto a hard surface, for example.

The case for the part-time professional: Belkin’s Yourtype Folio and keyboard
Not everyone who uses an iPad for business purposes will want to spend all their days writing documents, and that’s why we think that Belkin’s Yourtype Folio with a Bluetooth keyboard is a great hybrid iPad cover, offering good looks and premium construction for those that like to balance work and play.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Belkin Yourtype Folio

With built-in ridges for multiple viewing angles, it’s good for those who use the iPad for entertainment such as movie watching, but more importantly it features a Bluetooth powered keyboard that sits inside the case. In our tests we found it offers a brilliant typing experience due to decent key travel and spacing between keys. Our favourite aspect of the keyboard is that it is attached by Velcro so it can be ripped off in seconds when work has got the better of you and watching a good film is in order.

At around £70, it’s one of the most expensive cases on our list, but it’s probably one of the most high end in terms of finish. Since it includes a Bluetooth keyboard the high price seems reasonable, considering its all-around usefulness.

The case for the female professional: Logitech’s Ultrathin keyboard cover
Not only is Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover perfect for the female professional because it arrives in a girly pink flavour, but with its skinny iPad-sized profile, it also manages to squeeze into the thinnest of handbags.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard

It might be one of the priciest cases on our list at £80, but we’ve been testing it for a few weeks and we’re pretty impressed with the keyboard’s performance. Not only does it look great – boasting an aluminum case and colourful keys – its tactile buttons make it great for clipping onto an iPad for working on the go. The iPad clips easily and securely into the keyboard, which can be attached like a standard magnetic cover when it’s not in use.

We haven’t had to charge it yet, either. The Bluetooth keyboard turns itself off when it hasn’t been used for a while, preserving its battery for the next time you need to take notes on the go. That said, it’s easy enough to recharge via its microUSB port.

The case for the adventurous: Griffin’s Survivor
Those of us who like to mix nature and technology might want to have a go with Griffin’s Survivor case, which is appropriately named for its ability to withstand the environments encountered by any hardcore adventurer.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Griffin Survivor case

Explorers and extreme travellers of all types will enjoy its hard-wearing construction that can withstand shocks and drops from six feet, protection against wind-blown rain at speeds of 200 miles per hour, and sealed ports that keep out sand and dust. And you can take our word for it, as we tested it in the office, replacing a rugby ball with the iPad embraced by the Survivor case and kicking it around the office – it made it through that safe and sound.

It’s also got a built-in kick stand for viewing movies. Though we wouldn’t advise watching a film at the top of Snowdon, it might be more appropriate for film viewing in a tent after a long day of terrain-traipsing.

At just £22, you’re turning your iPad into a rugged tablet. The Survivor case might not be the most stylish looking case out there, but who cares when it means you can play Angry Birds in a blizzard?

The case for the executive: Maroo’s Pango
This protective leather case is perfect for all business types, offering a high-end professional portfolio look.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Maroo Pamgo case

Maroo says its name is adapted from the word “Maru”, which means “sheltered by power and authority” in New Zealand and “circle of perfection” in Japanese. We’d have to agree, as it does offer both protection and business-class style. On the inside there are pockets and pouches galore, making room for presentation documents and business cards so it’s ideal for those with a busy schedule who often find themselves running between important business meetings.

Maroo’s Pango is not just about looks, however. Professional as it might appear, it’s also efficiently padded and features hard plastic corner protectors that not only keep the iPad in place but protect it from bashes and bumps.

At £50, we found Maroo’s Pango a fitting accessory for those who wear a suit every day.

The case for mobile gaming fanatics: Gear4’s Angry Birds hard cover
Angry Birds took the world by storm just over three years ago when it landed on Apple’s iTunes store in December 2009. Since then, it has mustered millions of hardcore fans, many of whom love to play it on the larger screen of the iPad. It’s only right, then, that those mobile gaming enthusiasts can protect their gaming devices with a case themed on their favourite video game.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Gear4 angry birds

This Angry Birds themed snap-on cover made with a hard plastic by Gear4 features full access to all ports, and clips on and off in a second. Better still, it adds very little additional weight or bulk to the iPad, meaning hours of game playing won’t be hindered by a chunky case. It’s also made so that Apple’ssmartcover can be used in conjunction with it, ensuring that those Angry Birdsfans who have already invested in Apple’s screen protector won’t have wasted their dosh.

For just a tenner, the fun gaming-fanatic iPad case will protect the iPad’s corners from short drops and its silver finish paint job from scratches, all while featuring one on those pesky green pigs, guaranteed to out-stare onlookers as you fire off furious fowl.

The case for the movie buff: Incipio’s flagship Folio
Incipio’s flagship Folio case is a well built, sturdy case that is all about offering the best viewing angles. Suited to any movie buff of any height or age, the Folio offers eight different viewing modes via its built-in kickstand so there’ll be no neck straining during movie watching.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Belkin flagship folio

Made from carbon fibre with brushed aluminium hinges, the Folio not only feels well built, ensuring that your iPad will remain well protected, but it also looks the part as well, as on the inside there’s a micro suede lining that gives it a high-end feel.

At around £50, the Folio offers good viewing angles for movie watching on the iPad, so we think it’s great for movie buffs who also want to keep their tablet safe from knocks and drops.

The case to keep the kids quiet: Griffin’s Cinemaseat
Griffin’s Cinemaseat for the iPad is aimed towards those buying with the family in mind.

Transforming the iPad into an entertainment system on wheels, the Cinemaseat case features an adjustable Velcro strap fitted on the back so it can be attached to the back of a car seat or even coach sheet, and watched by whoever is seated behind it. It’s an ideal way to keep the kids from repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet?”. Kids can play games or watch movies – anything but complain that they’re bored.

iPad rundown - best covers and cases - Griffin cinemaseat

The case also features a small mesh pocket in the back so earphones and charge cables can be stashed away and safe from getting lost. The Cinemaseat’s velcro strap retained a strong grasp throughout our tests, which we think is important when kids are around.

The Cinemaseat retails for around £30 and is made from a soft touch leather-like material on the front and a sponge-like fabric on the back. So if it happens to drop off the seat, it will protect your Apple tablet from hard knocks. You’ll just have to make sure that the kids don’t throw it out the car window.