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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.


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.



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