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View Full Version : [iPad Mini] iPad mini cases: back shell + detachable front cover + sleeve




Hackfix21
Jan 16, 2013, 11:58 AM
Hereís my report back from a fairly lengthy odyssey to find the right kind of protection for my iPad mini.

These are the criteria I used to decide what to get:
1) I want protection when I'm using it around the house. I know many people like going "naked" but I'd cringe every time I would hear the ipad's bare metal go "clonk" when putting it on a glass table, etc. But it needs to be minimal protection that doesn't change the form factor. So first conclusion: a thin back shell.
2) Equally around the house I want a front cover for when I'm not actually using it. BUT I don't want it to be fixed to the case - I don't want it flapping about when I'm using the ipad or obstruct the camera. Second conclusion: no book-type case; instead a detachable front cover (something like the Apple Smart Cover).
3) Even front+back cover is not good enough when travelling - I want to be able to chuck it in my back pack, where the front cover doesn't protect sufficiently, plus the back shell would leave the ports exposed. So I need a sleeve with a bit of padding. But this is where it gets tricky: it needs to be a sleeve that's big enough to take the iPad mini including front and back cover; at the same time ideally the sleeve should be small enough so the whole combo still also fits in my jacket pocket. This one was a hard nut to crack. I'll get back to that in a moment.

First the easy bit: front and back cover.

Which is actually only easy if you're happy to splash for an Apple Smart Cover. But at £35 - they're having a laugh! I wasn't prepared to spend that. While alternative providers have put plenty of back shells on the market to compliment the Apple Smart Cover, I was really surprised to see that competing front covers are thin on the ground.

I finally found this one made by eLifeStore (never heard of): http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00AFSSTAA/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&psc=1&s=computers). It's sold with matching transparent back shells, so that problem is solved at the same time. Great combination at a great price (£12 on Amazon with free delivery) - very happy with it.

Here are some more details (see also pictures below):
ē The hinges of the cover are metal and very similar to the hinges on the full size original Apple Smart Cover. I think the Apple iPad mini Smart Cover has thinner rubber hinges. The metal hinges are fine but probably a bit bigger - a point to bear in mind where sleeves might be advertised as fitting the iPad mini including Smart Cover.
ē Itís available in various colours. The back colour is a bit lighter than the solid colour of the front, and you can still see the Apple logo.
ē The fit is very good. No problems with the back shell fit and all ports are accessible.
ē The front cover stays nicely flat on the screen and of course has the auto wake/sleep function. It provides a stable stand.
ē When folded back the front cover does not stick to the back magnetically, but then again the whole point of it is that you simply remove the front cover.
ē The front cover comes off and sticks back on easily and at the same time stays on firmly. I have seen no indication of any risk of scratch damage to the iPad from the hinges.

On to the next stage Ė fitting the whole thing into a sleeve for transport.

I limited myself to looking for sleeves that close fully. Some sleeves provide good protection but leave an opening Ė I ruled those out. There are plenty of sleeves that seemed suitable to me in principle. The problem is that itís very difficult to find information about whether they fit the iPad mini in my configuration. In most cases the only information available states that it will fit, or can be ordered to fit, the Apple Smart Cover. As noted, my front cover has bigger hinges, plus Iíve got the back cover, so that doesnít help me much. Some sleeves are also pretty expensive (£30 or £40 and upwards) which is a bit much to spend just on a guess that itíll fit.

See the picture below for the ones I didn't buy.

This is the one I finally went for:

iGadgitz Neoprene - £6

Itís available in black or blue. Not the prettiest sleeve around, but a good compromise between thin & light and enough protection; very easy to put the iPad mini in or take it out due to zippers going almost entirely around the edge. No concern about damage from the zippers Ė padded rolls around the zippers keep them clear from the iPad mini, and Iím not putting it in naked anyway.

Amazingly itís also the cheapest of all the ones I found. A no-brainer at £6 including postage from Amazon.

Most importantly, itís an excellent fit for the iPad including front and back cover. Not too tight, not too loose. As a bonus, the whole thing even still fits (just) in my jacket pocket.

Iím pretty happy with my choices as well in terms of weight:
- iPad mini: 308g
- Back cover: 50g
- Front cover: 70g
- Sleeve: 82g

Finally, the total cost all-in: £18.

Sorry this turned out to be quite verbose. I hope some of you find it useful.



RedCroissant
Jan 16, 2013, 12:23 PM
Thanks for posting this because I have had a hard time making decisions for my ipad mini as well.

poloponies
Jan 16, 2013, 12:29 PM
For my money, this is a great case. Materials are nice, excellent fit and protection at a great price:

http://www.amazon.com/Bear-Motion-Genuine-Leather-opening/dp/B008RBKWNY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1358360904&sr=8-6&keywords=ipad+mini+leather+case