Review and giveaway: a trio of iPad mini cases (updated)
After a slow start, it appears that every accessory manufacturer on the planet is now up to speed on pumping out shiploads (that is spelled correctly, BTW) of iPad mini cases. Today, for your amusement and my employment, I'll take a look at three of the cases that have come to the attention of TUAW recently and give you a chance to win one.
The three iPad mini cases of the week are:
- The Loop Attachment Mummy case for iPad mini (US$30)
- The Mapi Cases Milano Portfolio Leather Mini iPad Case ($200)
- The id America SmartFold Leatherette Portfolio for iPad mini ($39.95)
Loop Attachment Mummy Case for iPad mini
To begin with, we'll look at the Loop Attachment Mummy case for iPad mini, a larger version of the Mummy case for iPhone 4/4S/5. That means that it's a silicone case made with a "mummy-like" pattern on the back mimicking bands of cloth swathed around the mini.
The Mummy case comes in six different colors: the usual black and white, teal, red, blue and graphite. The case is easy to install and remove, and has openings for the speakers, Lightning port, mute/orientation lock switch, camera, microphone, and earphone port. There's also a trapezoidal cutout on the back that playfully frames the Apple logo on the iPad mini.
As with the Mummy cases for iPhone, the Loop Attachment iPad mini cases are inexpensive, durable, and provide a good grip on what can be a slippery device to hold. There's nothing fancy about the Mummy case, but it does exactly what it's supposed to do -- protect your iPad mini from scratches and bumps.
Update: <facepalm> time. I completely forgot to mention that the Mummy cases have two metal plates that are embedded in the silicone that provide a place for an Apple Smart Cover to stick on. Now you know!
Mapi Cases Milano Portfolio Leather Mini iPad Case
At the other end of the price spectrum from the Mummy case is the Milano Portfolio Leather Mini iPad Case from Mapi Cases. While I'm a huge fan of handmade leather cases, I can't help but think that the company is charging too much the Milano.
This leather portfolio comes in four finishes: black, brown, tan and red. Yes, it's made with "100% premium leather", but as my late father-in-law probably would have said, "I don't want to pay for the whole cow."
The case is closed with a zipper to keep your iPad mini locked away and has a fabric interior to avoid scratching the device. On the left side of the case are two slots for business or credit cards, as well as a larger pocket for travel documents or cash. The iPad mini is held into place by a leather "frame" with a tuck-under flap on one side. Don't try to take any photos with your iPad mini in the Milano, because there's no hole for the camera to peer through.
While I appreciate the excellent workmanship that went into the Milano, I do honestly think it is overpriced. It doesn't include a stand, nor are there magnets to automatically turn the device on and off. A quick look on Amazon.com showed some $25 - $40 cases made of "PU leather", which is cheaper leather covered with a layer of polyurethane. At a glance, there isn't much of a difference in terms of looks, except for the fact that the $25 case is much more functional, including a camera hole, a folding stand, an elastic hand strap, a stylus holder, and more choices in color.
If paying for "real leather" is a big thing for you, then by all means spend $200 on this case. If you're like most of our readers, though, you might want to think twice before spending that almost two-thirds of the price of an entry-level iPad mini for a case.
id America SmartFold Leatherette Portfolio for iPad mini
Finally we come to the SmartFold Leatherette Portfolio from id America. About the closest thing to compare this case to is Apple's very own iPad mini Smart Cover ($39), which is made of polyurethane rather than leatherette (a fabric made to simulate leather). So once again you have faux leather; if that is a big deal for you, then think about the Mapi case...
The SmartFold comes in black, brown, gray, orange, red and white, and is probably the most functional of all the cases listed here. Like the Smart Cover, the SmartFold features a cover that can be folded into a stand for viewing or typing on the iPad mini. It also features auto-sleep and wake using magnets in the cover.
The iPad mini is held into place by a frame of that same leatherette, and the inside surfaces are made of a felt-like material. I had no issues folding the SmartFold into the typing position, but for the life of me I couldn't get it to stand up in a viewing mode. Perhaps the cover needs to be flexed a bit more to loosen it up.
So what I've shown you today are three different iPad mini cases for three different types of people. For those who want inexpensive and fun protection, the Loop Attachment Mummy is perfect. Well-heeled iPad mini users who want real leather to match their shoes and not look out of place on the leather seats of their Tesla S, the Mapi Cases Milano Portfolio might be a good solution. And finally, someone who wants protection and functionality in an inexpensive case could not go wrong with the id America SmartFold.
Now it's time for you to enter to win one of the cases we have to give away. There are two Loop Attachment Mummy cases (one black, one blue), a black leather Mapi Cases Milano Portfolio, and a black id America SmartFold up for grabs.
Here are the rules for the giveaway:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
- To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
- The entry must be made before Day, Month Year 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- Four winners will be selected. Two will receive Loop Attachment Mummy Cases for iPad mini valued at $30, one will receive a Mapi Cases Milano Portfolio Mini iPad case valued at $200, and one will receive an id America SmartFold case valued at $39.95.
- Click Here for complete Official Rules.
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