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Entries in Case (23)

Video: Joby Otero's Customised Case For Creating Art on iPad

We love it when people get creative on their iPads, but we also like to see people get creative with their iPad accessories. So here's an idea for a weekend project.

Digital Artist, and ex-Creative Director at Activision(!), Joby Otero has posted this video of his modded, DIY solution to his Anker iPad case.

He says it now perfectly supports his use of the iPad for art working and even coding. It's a pretty easy and inexpensive mod of the case if you don't want/can't afford to buy a new one and a keyboard is important to you. Enjoy!

The iPad That Fell to Earth

Don't you just hate it when you accidentally drop your iPad from 100,000 feet?!

"G-Form, a company well known for delivering the most extreme electronics cases and athletic pads, launched an iPad clad solely in the company's 6oz Extreme Edge case into space and then let it free-fall back to Earth."

Further Reading: iPad Accessories

iPad Case That Thinks It's A Guitar

As expected, the iPad is featuring heavily at CES, or rather, accessories for the iPad are popping up everywhere. SlashGear and Engadget both reported this morning on the soon-to-be-released Guitar Apprentice from ION Audio (the people that brought us the iCade and Piano Apprentice for iPad).

The idea is that keys on the $99 fretboard light up, teaching you how to play guitar and perhaps also enabling guitar games. The potential is there for this accessory to be used by iPad musicians with CoreMIDI compatible apps to play an iPad synth app for example in an iBand.

We think it is a fun and creative idea for those who already have an iPad, but if you are really looking to learn guitar, we think you should get a starter electric or acoustic guitar and, if you have an iPad, get the brilliant WildChords app by Ovelin. You'll do a much better job of learning to play real guitar that way.

Adonit Writer 2 for iPad Hands-on Review

From Kickstarter to Production

The Adonit Writer (for the original iPad) was one of the first Kickstarter projects we remember seeing. There was quite a bit of excitement around the web when the first images of the prototype appeared with its compact Bluetooth keyboard integrated into a portfolio style case.

It seemed like a long time from that first glimpse until the Writer was actually made available on general release and by the time the final production versions of the Writer were available we had moved on to the iPad 2 and the different form factor meant a new version was needed.

Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too much longer for Adonit to update the Writer for the iPad 2 and it is this new version, the Writer 2, that each member of the iPad Creative team has been testing for a few weeks.

As part of the testing, this whole review has been typed up with the Adonit Writer for iPad 2, using the iA Writer and SquareSpace apps.

First Impressions

The packaging is impressive; a heavyweight end-capped box that is mostly black, with a nice product shot on the front and 'Adonit yellow' trim detail around the end-cap. This adds to the feeling of quality, a bit like an old book box.

Weighty Issue

The first thing we noticed was that the box (and its contents) was quite a bit heavier than we thought it would be.

In fact, the Writer 2 is really quite weighty in the hand. According to our kitchen scales the Writer 2 weighs in at 2.75lbs (1250gms).

We think most of this weight comes from the sturdy construction of the steel and aluminium keyboard and the magnetic panel on the inside of the case cover.

Magnetic Tilt

This magnetic panel is a lot larger than those used on other portfolio cases but there is a good reason for this. This is part of Adonit Writer's unique design.

Where other cases use a magnet as a catch and to 'sleep' the iPad 2, Adonit have included a larger magnetic panel which does both of those things, as well as its primary function of acting as a magnetic track for the adjustable keyboard.

This magnetic attraction keeps the keyboard very firmly attached to the case whether it is on your lap, a table or most other surfaces where you use your Writer 2. But it also has another very important function.

Due to the clever design of the case, moving the keyboard back and forth across the magnetic section adjusts the angle of the iPad so that the screen is tilted further back as the keyboard is slid further forward.

This arrangement means that the iPad, in horizontal mode, can be angled however you want without sticking to pre-defined positions. This adds an easy to adjust flexibility that in our opinion is a key selling point of the Writer.

Build Quality and Design

We were very impressed with the design of the Writer 2, it is obviously well thought out and easy to use once you get used to where everything is.

The materials used in construction of the Writer case give it a reassuringly robust, solid feel (they also have good environmental credentials being 98% recyclable). We think the Writer would certainly live up to daily use and never gave us cause for concern as far as build quality.

The cradle where you snap the iPad in holds your device very securely but it is really easy to pop the iPad out again for quick access if needed, just by applying pressure to the specific point. Adonit call this feature Quick Eject. It is a nice design touch and has obviously been carefully thought out to work the way you would expect it to.

Adonit's Quick Eject feature

The Keyboard

We wanted to rave about the keyboard in the Adonit Writer 2. It is, after all, the main reason why we wanted to review it in the first place. We always tell it as we see it though and unfortunately, our overall feeling is that this is a missed opportunity for Adonit.

On the positive side, in use we found the keys responsive. The scissor action design means the keys spring back well and whilst typing this review we had bursts of speed that matched other keyboards we have tried, but there was a big problem, or rather, a little one.

The keyboard, in our opinion, is just too small and cramped for everyday use. We are not the kind of chaps who have 'plates of meat' for hands but we found the spacing of the keys too restrictive. In fact, we think the keys are smaller and closer together than the iPad's own on-screen keyboard!

In practice, nearly every paragraph of this review required us to re-type words where we had hit the wrong keys or too many keys at once. We also managed to lock the screen plenty of times by accident as the 'lock' key is just above the perhaps necessarily diminutive Delete key. This may partly be due to our incompetence, but the very tight key spacing really didn't help.

We know there is limited space to work with here, and we realise that it can not of been easy to decide where to compromise in the design, but we were really disappointed with the keyboard size because we were so excited about finally getting hold of this case and it prevents us from unreservedly recommending the Adonit Writer 2.

Comparisons

We have also got a Logitech iPad 2 keyboard case by Zagg that we reviewed a few months ago and although the Logitech is not a portfolio case, the Adonit Writer 2 keyboard feels decidedly cramped in comparison. We thought you may like to see a direct comparison so we took a photo of the two together with the Adonit Writer on top of the Logitech/Zagg case.

The Logitech keyboard uses all but one of the function keys, adding Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo and Redo keys where Adonit have left them blank. Not essential by any means, but useful all the same.

Adonit do include the more essential music transport controls, volume, mute, lock, home, search, slideshow and on-screen keyboard buttons. These all worked flawlessly with no delay.

Seeing the two keyboards together we wondered if the fairly large bezel around the edge of the Writer's keyboard could be reduced to make more room for the keys? We realise it could affect the robust feel of the case but perhaps this would help open up the keyboard spacing.

Carry Case

When you are on the move, quickly folding up the Adonit Writer is a cinch. The heft of the case with iPad in place can actually help weight it down in your hand whilst it is carried.

The magnetic panel will keep the case closed if you carry it as shown in the photo above, with the keyboard closest to the palm of your hand.

Hold it the other way round though, or especially horizontally and turn it over so that the flap faces towards the floor, and the weight of the keyboard will be too much for the magnet to hold and the flap will fall open. It is probably as secure in this regard as Apple's Smart Cover.

This may not be an issue for you and it will depend on whether you put the Adonit Writer in your bag next to other items while in transit which could hook it open fairly easily.

If you use a bag that has a dedicated pocket for your iPad, like the brilliant iPad Messenger Bag we reviewed a back in July, then this won't bother you at all.

Adonit Writer 2 in Rear Pocket/Section of Messenger Bag

Power

The Adonit Writer 2's Bluetooth keyboard is powered by 3xAAA batteries. These should provide you with many hours of usage as the Writer possesses power management features that shut off the keyboard when you close the lid or after a period of inactivity.

Having to purchase replacement batteries is a pain and may or may not bother you. We know it is not very environmentally friendly to use replacement batteries and in our house the AAA batteries have a habit of disappearing into the kids' toys and appliance remotes before we have a chance to use them.

On the whole though, we would prefer a built-in rechargeable battery. Remembering to charge built-in batteries is always a hassle, but at least if it runs out 3 hours into a flight or train/car journey there may be more chance of finding a power outlet to recharge from than a shop selling AAA batteries. 

Final Thoughts

It is obvious that a lot of thought has gone in to the Adonit Writer 2's design and we were impressed with the build quality and robust feel of the case and keyboard.

With its multiple-angle positioning the Writer 2 will suit most situations where you need to use your iPad, as long as it is in the horizontal orientation. When you want to, you can very easily pop the iPad out of the case using the Quick Eject feature.

You may have issues with the size of the keyboard and we have to be honest and say that we think it is too cramped and the keys are too close together. As we said earlier, we think it is a missed opportunity for Adonit to nail the built-in-Bluetooth-portfolio-iPad-case market. You may find otherwise, but even after a couple of weeks use we still felt the same way and it really disappointed us because we so wanted to unreservedly recommend it.

As it is though, we still think the Adonit Writer 2 has many positive points and is one of the best designed cases, aside from the keyboard, that we have seen. Sadly, the keyboard is what we would be buying this case for, so we recommend you try it out first to see if it fits your hands and typing style.

The Adonit Writer is available in two versions, for the original iPad at $79.99, and the version we reviewed for the iPad 2 at $99.99.

We Love the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2

We recently received a 'Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2' as a free gift after taking out a subscription to the NY Times. So we thought we would let you know what you can expect from this mini-bluetooth-keyboard-in-a-case when partnered with your iPad. Hopefully it will help you if you are thinking about getting one of these cases yourself.

About the Case

Described as "the perfect companion for your iPad 2", this second generation Zaggmate is now known as the 'Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG' and it features the Logitech logo prominently displayed.

Our special edition seems to be a half-way step towards the new, currently available, model. We say this because this is what ours looks like:

And this is what the latest version from Zagg looks like:

The primary difference is the iPad stand. On our version we still have the fold out bit of plastic found on the original Zaggmate which is very flimsy and, in our opinion, the weakest design feature. We nearly broke it in the first 5 minutes before learning the correct amount of force to use in folding it out. It is the only thing about this case that doesn't inspire much confidence.

The new design is quite different, using some sort of rubber track to hold the iPad in place more securely, as you can see from the demo video below. You certainly would not shake your iPad with the original design, as they do in this video:

This design update means we would recommend the newest version of the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg even more highly than the version we have as this seems a vast improvement.

You will also see that the on/off and connect button plus status lights are now behind the iPad when it is in use which we are not entirely sure is better but it certainly looks cleaner. 

The Keyboard

The keyboard is, of course, the main feature of this iPad case and it is actually a pleasant surprise. Zagg have kept the 'island keys' of the original Zaggmate and this makes for a near-laptop typing experience. The keys are springy and responsive, unlike the cheaper moulded rubber keys on the iPad folio cases that are also popular.

Although the keyboard is very much a shrunk-down version, all the keys you need are there, such as Tab, Caps Lock a large left and right Shift button a Cmd, Alt and Ctrl button plus at the bottom left a Keyboard Language select button, which may or may not be of interest.

Responsive of the keys is never an issue even over Bluetooth. Once your brain and fingers have made the adjustment in spacing, we think you will be reaching speeds equivalent to those achieved on a full size keyboard.

Special Keys

What sets this apart from your normal PC keyboard is the top row of iPad specific function keys. These are also found on most other Bluetooth keyboards so not totally original but they are still very useful.

Here you find the Home, Search, Slideshow, Display Keyboard, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo & Redo, iPod (Audio) transport controls, Volume and Lock/Unlock keys.

The iPod controls are especially useful using this keyboard case. You can be typing away and at once start playing audio, or start up the iPod app first then control tracks, skip backwards and forwards and adjust volume or mute the audio, all from the keyboard and without touching the screen or using app switching. Ideal for those writing sessions in your local coffee house with a pair of sound isolating earphones.

The Case

The casing itself is robust and made from "Aircraft-grade aluminum with a bead-blasted, anodized finish that matches the iPad 2" and it offers good protection for the screen when the iPad is stowed away. The main issue for us, as we have mentioned already, is the fragility of the plastic fold-out iPad stand.

This flip stand does support the iPad well when in the proper position but we found that using this case on our lap the iPad felt a little unsecure and top heavy, as though it could tip back, away from us. As we have said though, the new version of the case which you will receive if ordered now, seems to have solved that issue and looks like a very good improvement.

Using the case on a firm surface such as a desk or table we had no such worries. We did install the four little rubber feet on the underside of the case and these hold it very firmly in place on a table top. With the case set up like that we were able to bang away on the keys and get caught up in the writing instead.

When the iPad is stowed away in the case the whole thing is very slim. We could easily slip it into the iPad pocket of a messenger back we are currently testing and, as Zagg say on their website, it "only adds about ⅛" to the iPad 2". 

You have access to the ports and buttons when it is stowed, so you could charge your iPad without removing it from the case. Putting the iPad face down into the case also sleeps it using the magnets.

Long Lasting Battery

We have had this case for two weeks now and used it most days. We have yet to charge it! It is still running on the charge that was in the battery when we received it.

When it does become time to charge the battery the Status light starts to flash when about 20% of battery is left, but this will keep you going for a day or two more anyway, so plenty of warning.

A USB 2 cable is included with the case which you can plug into your laptop/PC or even one of the Apple wall plugs like the one that came with your iPad.

Watch Your Back

This case provides no protection at all for the back of your iPad. This may seem like a sinister ploy to sell more Zagg shields or it might just be a design choice but those of us who are concerned about scratching the back of our iPad may want to consider using some sort of skin or shield protection.

We have decided to get a custom printed Gelaskin, which was a nightmare to fit, but we will talk more about that in an upcoming post. There is just enough clearance for one of these skins to be fitted without the foam padding interfering or lifting the edge of the skin.

Final Thoughts

It is probably no surprise that we are going to highly recommend the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg for iPad 2.

If you don't get on with the iPad's onscreen keyboard, or find it slow to use, we think you'll love it. We would recommend it too for those who intend to do a lot of typing on their iPad, such as bloggers, writers, students, in business at meetings and anyone else with similar needs.

The portable nature of this case, combined with good shock, and great screen, protection when stowed away will be welcome if your iPad finds itself in amongst other items in a bag or rucksack. You may just want to consider protecting the back though if you do carry it this way.

You can pick the case up for $99.99 for both the iPad 2 version and the original iPad with keyboard included.

We are always keen to hear what you think. If you have one of these cases, how do you find it? Are you regretting your purchase or do you love it? If you are thinking about getting one let us know.

Gorgeous hand-crafted iPad cases from Day of The Thread

The super creative folks at Day of The Thread have recently launched a series of iPad covers. These beautful hand-crafted covers are a real treat and should prove to be a serious temptation to anyone looking to soften the cold industrial feel of the iPad. There are currently twenty different cover designs to choose from, each with its own unique look and feel. The range should appeal to a broad spectrum of iPad owners - there's something for everyone.

These are simple cases, not a hash metal zip or an ugly plastic clip in sight! The iPad slides in from the top and fits snuggly and securely. The flap is fastened to the body of the case with a single centre button, it's all very neat.

Sure the iPad has a great industrial design, but it's all a bit cold and inorganic. When in the case the iPad takes on a totally different feel - warm and natural. The capacious back pocket has enough room to store your phone, a set of earphones, some cables or a wallet with ease.

We love these cases, they are different, practical and stylish, each one is a real work of art. Please be sure to check out our video review embedded above.

For more information or to place an order head on over to Day of The Thread on Etsy, and don't forget to follow them on Twitter too.

Handstand iPad Case - Video Review

Have you ever had problems getting to grips with your iPad? Sometimes the iPad can be a slippery little so-and-so to keep hold of. Not to mention finding the best way to hold it comfortably for extended periods of time without your arm falling off.

Hub International have come up with what they hope is the solution in the shape of the HandStand iPad case.

UK based supplier of all things mobile, including iPad Accessories, Mobile Fun have kindly supplied us with a couple of review copies of the HandStand.

We took it for a spin (sorry - couldn't resist) and recorded this video review for you. Check it out to see what we thought.

If you are an Artist, Musician, Photographer, Teacher/Tutor, Presenter, IT Professional or working in Healthcare (or anyone else) and you have any thoughts about whether the HandStand iPad case can assist you we would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below. 

Trubadour iPad Case Made For Musicians (and other awesome people)

An over the shoulder iPad case, made especially with musicians in mind, attached to a guitar strap?

It could be a reality if a new Kickstarter project gets off the ground. This video for the Trubadour iPad Case (very much a prototype at this stage) says it all and it could be yours if you pledge $40 or more.

What do you think, is this a good idea?

(via Wired Magazine)

Hanfree: Use your iPad in Bed (and everywhere else) Handsfree

Here is a new Kickstarter project that may appeal to some and reminds us of the classic 'anglepoise' iMac. Hanfree (that's not a spelling mistake) has been designed "with the goal to create a new user experience for the iPad with an emphasis on comfort and fun."

If you have watched the promotional video above you will know that the Hanfree is basically a stand for your iPad consisting of a base, an angled neck, and a case that allows you to position the iPad any way you like via a ball and socket joint.

Here's how it works: 

  1. Attach the clear plastic case to your iPad (1 or 2)
  2. Connect the stainless steel 'neck' of the Hanfree to the socket on the back of the case
  3. Enjoy!

assembly

We think it looks like a fun and very useful iPad accessory. Imagine a guitarist using Amplitube or a sheet music/tab reader and the Hanfree when playing guitar for example.

We can't be the only ones who find it a little awkward to hold the iPad when watching a video in bed (you do it too, admit it!) and the Hanfree base is specifically designed to tuck under pillows and suspend the iPad above or in front of you in that exact scenario.

user experience

There are probably many more uses for the Hanfree when you start to think about and the $50 buy in price seems fairly reasonable. If it didn't cost another $40 to ship it to the UK (plus our ridiculous import charges this side of the pond), we would probably be ordering one right now.

peggy and timmy

The project, as of writing, is just below its funding target, with 24 days to go, so we are sure this one will be in production soon enough. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter page for lots more photos plus info on the design and creative process that has gone into the Hanfree.

What do you think? Have your ordered one? Let us know in the comments. 

iPad Cases You Might Like

It's been a while since we mentioned any iPad cases, so we thought we would tell you about a few cases that have popped up on our radar recently in case you missed them:

Pantone Universe

These cases are not even out yet, but they are already causing quite a buzz in the iPad community. Perfect for blending in when you are staying at the Pantone Hotel, there are 4 iPad and 9 iPhone 4 Pantone approved coloured cases under their Pantone Universe brand in partnership with Monaco based Case Scenario.

 


(via designboom - amongst many others)

 

Zazzle Speck Hard Shell Cases

There are literally hundreds of designs on Zazzle's site that can be printed on to a special fabric backed Speck hard shell iPad case which provides access to all the controls and ports on your device. Most cases are around the $50 mark.

You can browse by category or search for something specific and if you can't find it, then you can upload your own photo or image and make a truly custom case for your iPad.

It didn't take us too long to upload our image and make this cover, to the point where it was ready to order. We quite like it! 

 

Crux 360

Still only available on pre-order at $149, the hopefully-not-vaporware iPad case from Crux that promises to be a movie stand, keyboard enabled workstation and all-round protector of your device, has a neat promotional video on the website which we have been watching over and over whilst hovering a finger over the 'pre-order now' button.

Check out the video below and let us know if you hit that pre-order button, we want to know what you think when it finally arrives.