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Entries in Protection (3)

Already have a Smart Cover? Marware Microshell Covers Your Back

Earlier we posted about Marware's alternative to the Apple Smart Cover which also protected the back of the iPad. But what if you already have a Smart Cover and want to keep it but are worried about scratching the back of your iPad 2?

Marware is one of the accessory manufacturers beginning to release (for pre-order) covers just for the back of your iPad 2.

The Microshell iPad 2 Case is basically the back part of the Microshell Folio cover we mentioned earlier today with camera, buttons and port cutouts as you would expect. But notably this is designed to be used in conjunction with Apple's Smart Cover. It has a specially designed cut-out for the magnetic hinge of the Smart Cover as you can see on the left side of the picture below. 

A Mismatch?

The big problem we can see is that the colours do not match the Smart Covers. The Black is probably acceptable and perhaps the Silver but the Red and Pink definitely do not look like they are going to match and there isn't even a White Smart Cover available, maybe this one is meant to complement your White iPad 2?

What about the other colours that the Smart Cover comes in? Maybe Marware meant the colours to 'complement' a different coloured Smart Cover so that you can make a statement, we're not convinced though.

If you have an Apple Smart Cover already, what do you think? Does this kind of back protection appeal to you? And what about the colours? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Power User iPad Cases

We haven't mentioned iPad cases for a while here at iPad Creative, but two have popped up on our radar today that have something in common, Protection and Power.

We are talking about Kensington's PowerBack and IvySkin's SmartCase.

Kensington PowerBack

Kensington's not so pretty PowerBack is very functional but has some interesting features, most notably a 5 hour battery pack and integrated Kickstand for road warriors and travellers who need comfortable viewing angles and extra long battery life.

Here are the main features from Kensington's website:

  • ´╗┐Battery fuel gauge LED
  • Micro USB charge and sync port lets you charge and sync without removing the PowerBack(TM)
  • Built-in speaker deflectors for clear, crisp sound
  • 3-position steel kickstand holds your iPad handsfree in typing, portrait or landscape modes
  • Built-in 4400mAh battery provides up to 5 extra hours of power for app use, web surfing, movie watching and more
  • Soft touch finish case protects your iPad from bumps and bruises 

27302_w600_h600.jpgYou may have noticed that kickstand works in Portrait and Landscape modes which is useful as some stands only work effectively in one or the other orientation, although it remains to be seen how sturdy the iPad is in Portrait mode with the stand engaged.

To prevent having to remove the PowerBack to dock your iPad, Kensington have gone with a micro USB port which is an unusual but useful feature, although it might mean another cable to carry and potentially lose.

Remaining battery power is indicated by some nice blue LEDs and the case seems to offer quite a bit of protection but strangely leaves the top (in Portrait orientation) of the iPad exposed around the edges.  Presumably this is for accessing the hardware buttons but it seems odd that such a substantial case in other areas leaves your iPad open to knocks and scratching at one end.

Do check out the link if you want to know more about the PowerBack but if you like it you will have to part with a whopping $129.99 (~£84).

 

IvySkin SmartCase

     

The new SmartCase from IvySkin is big on Protection for your iPad with a 4 layer design (based on their popular Quattro T-4 iPhone case) with Xylo Glass Technology providing screen protection and Touch-Thru design. IvySkin guarantee that you will be able to use the touch screen without any noticeable difference through this case.

The Touch-Thru glass is marketed as 'Drop-proof', though we would like to test that out in a real world 'Gadget Show' style, or just lend the SmartCase to Phil for the weekend and let nature take its course, for a drop test will certainly happen that way.

The Power comes from a battery pack on the back of the case (operated via an on/off switch) which also has an integrated kickstand, this one featuring not 3 positions, as in the Kensington case, but 12 clickable viewing positions. However, this battery pack can be removed for when you don't need the extra battery life or bulk on your iPad.

We thought this was a nice feature, and because the SmartCase is based on the Quattro T-5 frame you can insert a back piece to continue protecting your iPad fully when the battery is not attached.

The SmartCase also offers all round complete coverage of your iPad so nothing will be scratching up your expensive gadget. Like the Kensington PowerBack you can leave the case on when syncing the iPad by using the supplied USB cable.

This kind of protection and power will still cost you though, the SmartCase is $99.99 (~£64) on Pre-Order at the moment.

So there you have it, two new Power and Protection cases for those serious about running their iPads for long periods of time whilst using them (mostly) protected and free-standing.

If you get your hands on either of these cases, or if you hear about some good alternatives, please let us know in the comments below. 

iPad Case Roundup - Skins and Shields

For general every day use of the iPad you could just 'go naked' as Apple intended out of the box. If you want a bit more protection however for your expensive piece of kit from bumps and scrapes without going the full on leather Portfolio route we covered yesterday, an iPad Skin or Shield might be what you need.

We have included in this category protective covers that you put on and leave on your iPad.

There are so many of these out there that it is actually very difficult to recommend just three, but below are the ones that caught our eye and that you may want to check out for yourself:

Case-Mate Gelli Checkmate and Kaleidoscope Cases

These two covers from Case-Mate provide good protection for the back and sides of your iPad, whilst offering some tactile grip similar to silicone cases. Case-Mate use a thermoplastic, flexible material to protect your iPad and we liked these cases because they are very close fitting possibly close enough to use a slipcase as well (which we will talk about tomorrow), but we also liked the unique approach to the design of these two types of cases with the checkered effect in the Checkmate cases and the circles on circles design of the Kaleidoscope cases.

The different coloured cases may not all be to your liking, but the Checkmate comes in Gray, Blue or Green, whilst the Kaleidoscope is available in Pink, Tomato (um, Red) and Aurora (Yellow). Thankfully you can visit Case-Mate's site and select each of the colours to see what they will look from several different angles.

Here are the features listed on Case-Mate's site:

  • High performing, flexible, plastic-like material protects your iPad from minor impact and scratches

  • Unique patterns and colors

  • Lighter, softer and more resilient than silicone and rubber cases

  • Access to all ports and controls

 

Macally Metrolpad

If you like the way your iPad looks and want to keep it that way, but do not want pretty colours or designs spoiling its look, then you could consider the clear protective case from Macally they call Metrolpad. Sounding a bit like a 1920's classic, this case looks nice, and has a few interesting features.

Here's the description from their site:

  • Durable Lightweight Construction

  • Hardshell Back Panel With Silicon Edge For Protection And Grip

  • Open To All Connections And Controls

  • Form Fitting Silicon Edge For Quick And Easy Removal Of iPad

  • Clear Case To Display Your iPad In Its Original Appearance
We like the look and idea of this case, but just be careful if you plan to use your iPad with the dock or keyboard dock, it probably will not fit with the case still attached, so you should bear this in mind before you buy.If you want some basic scratch protection without adding any bulk to your iPad, you might want to check out the next recommendation.

 

Gelaskins / MusicSkins

We could not decide between these two purveyors of very nice and beautiful vinyls for the iPad, so we thought it best to tell you about both, and yes we know they are not the only two companies doing this, but we think the quality from these two is of a very high standard.

Both companies claim that the adhesives used for their vinyls will not leave a residue, and in our past experience on other devices that has been true mostly, except sometimes for some gunk trapped around the edges, but it was always easy to wipe off.

These skins allow you to make a really strong statement and express some individuality in amongst a rapidly growing throng of iPad owners.

gelaskins_JazzTrio_500-white.jpgGelaskins

Some of the designs at the Gelaskins site have really impressed us when we see the originality and richness of the colour renditions. We have bought a few of them for our iPhones in the past and we can back up Gelaskins reputation for good quality images and materials used in their vinyls.

If you haven't been there before, or if you haven't been there since they have started doing iPad versions, we would really recommend you have a browse around their site and see if anything takes your fancy.

Gelaskins also provide a vinyl for the front of your iPad if you want to use it, and you can download a matching wallpaper from their site too that matches up with the front decal, very nice if you want that kind of effect.

There are some very talented and original artists creating designs for them, and you can even become one of these artists yourself if your talent leans that way. You can always design your own if you cannot find something you like.

JL-NYC-DP-iPAD.jpg

MusicSkins

If you like the idea of using a fancy vinyl design but really love your music and want to show this off on your iPad, then you may be more tempted by the latest releases from MusicSkins.

Like Gelaskins, the MusicSkins site says it uses a special adhesive from 3M to leave no residue, also using high quality materials to create some scratch proofing for your device.

The FAQs even state that air bubbles will not be a problem on installation because "it has patented 3M air release technology which allows you to simply push the air bubbles out".

We are very tempted to spend quite a bit on the MusicSkins site, so browse at your peril, but really, it is worth a look and they say that iPad designs are available for any of the artists featured on the site.

We hope we have given you a few ideas for how you can provide fairly minimal, leave on protection for your iPad, and if you have any suggestions for Skins or Shields of your own then please, leave them in the comments.

Don't miss the other posts in this iPad Case Roundup series:

iPad Portfolio Style Cases

iPad Slip Cases and Pouches

iPad Bags

iPad Wooden case, Book style case and a DIY book option