By Todd Bernhard on Fri, 06/03/2011
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am preparing for my trip to Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference in San Francisco, so I am trying to decide on which gadgets will make the cut to travel with me. Right now, I am choosing a case for my iPad 2. Here are my requirements: The case should offer protection for the heavy use expected over the next week. Since literally thousands of fellow developers will be there with their iPads, it should be distinctive so I don't lose my iPad in a crowd. It should have a stand so I can use my Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard for extended typing sessions. And finally it shouldn't add too much bulk or weight as I'm trying to travel light.
The first contender is the SmartFit2 from The Joy Factory. I like this snap on hard case for a number of reasons. It allows me to use Apple's Smart Cover while the case is on my iPad 2. The case is thin and light, yet made of a strong polycarbonate and is backed up by a one year warranty. Their well done packaging looks like it was designed to be in an Apple store. This could be a great everyday case (and it's on my iPad now, as I type this.). However, it doesn't have a stand (not counting a Smart Cover) and it doesn't help distinguish my iPad from others, so it doesn't meet all of my criteria.
Trident makes some nice rugged multi-part cases for the iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad. I have their Aegis case for my iPad 2 and it will certainly keep it safe. There is a silicone part plus a polycarbonate backing that adds more protection, and color (pink, in this case) to the package. They even include a screen protector! Yes, the color will help me stand out... but in the end, I think I will save the pink case for when my wife uses the iPad! The Aegis case does have a fold out stand but it's a little tricky to assemble, and is designed to work in portrait mode. It's also a bit difficult to get the iPad in and out of the case.
The Handstand from www.TheHandstand.com is a very well made silicone case that also has a built-in hand grip that rotates easily in 360 degrees. I really like the hand grip mechanism and the quality of this case. If I was demonstrating my product at a tradeshow or operating an app on a shop floor or an emergency room, this would be the case I would reach for. The case can act as a stand but only at a very low angle. And there is no protection for the screen.
I also have a custom folio case from M-Edge, screenprinted with a mock image of an issue of iPhone Life Magazine on it. This certainly fits the bill for distinctiveness and it protects the screen nicely. But it adds too much bulk and doesn't really offer a stand to prop up the iPad. But it's a great case and surprisingly affordable.
Sena makes some of the nicest leather cases available for your gadgets. As attractive as the iPad is to thieves, putting one in a supple leather case from Sena might be asking for trouble. I love my Sena Collega case. It's made of a pebbled, buttery leather and keeps mhy iPad 2 snug and the interior even helps clean the screen when I insert and remove it! There is a separate compartment on the exterior for chargers and cables, and perhaps room for a stylus as well. Finally, the handles are a nice touch that make it look like a briefcase not a man purse! When I'm going to a business meeting, I will definitely use my Sena Collega case but for this trip, where I'll be in large crowds, taking BART (The Bay Area's transit system), in several airports, etc., I think I'll leave the Sena at home!
Next in my Goldilocks-like journey for the perfect case, I tried one from Speck. While Speck is a dominant player, my iPad can still be distinctive because Speck makes so many cases, in so many designs with so many colors! In this case (pun intended) I have a royal blue PixelSkin HD Wrap silicone case. It offers a lot of protection, including a fold over screen, similar to Apple's Smart Cover. There is a strip that looks like it should be a magnet to activate the auto lock/unlock feature, but it doesn't do that. Instead, it helps to essentially seal the case when closed. There is a way to roll up the case to form a stand, again similar to Apple, but they have a notch to keep it rolled up instead of using magnets. Ultimately, I'm going with the Speck PixelSkin case. It's lightweight yet offers protection including the screen. It has a stand, covers the screen, and is fairly easy to add or remove. And with a great selection from Speck, it's pretty distinctive as well.
If you're going to WWDC look for me and my royal blue Speck-enclosed iPad 2!