Quick review of Targus Vuscape w/New iPad

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by ReallyBigFeet, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. ReallyBigFeet, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

    ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    I was pretty outspoken that people should just "make do" for a few months until all the bugs get worked out with the new cases for the new iPad.

    However, like many of you, I needed/wanted something to tide me over. So I bought the new Targus Vuscape as a temporary solution.

    Let me start by saying that I am very much NOT a Targus fan. I find their products uninspiring, cheaply made and in general very consumer oriented. Nothing "pro" about their wares at all.

    Also, my use case may be somewhat unique. I work in large-scale custom woodworking remodeling, with 100% of my customers being businesses. We go into a business, pitch the on a makeover for their reception areas, board rooms, conference rooms, etc. We take some high-res digital footage of the "as-is" situation, do some rapid mockups/sketches of the "will be" vision, then overlay and morph a little video that shows them what the space looks like now versus what it will look like when we are done. The iPad plays a big role in this and we've developed some custom software to help make the sales pitch. Its a very effective tool to do so.

    So my iPads (we've several across the team) need to go from board room to construction site back to boardroom several times in one day. The case needs to be durable and tough enough to survive heavy travel and use, but also decent enough to be handed to or displayed in a boardroom setting with a customer/prospect.

    So enough about use cases, but I think its important to give you the context as you'll possibly better understand my review points.

    I picked up the Targus Vuscape via Amazon Prime. I've now used it just over 3 weeks, including 30 hours on plane rides and in a dozen meetings with clients and on construction sites.

    -Its Durable. Its vinyl but not atrocious looking vinyl. So it holds up well to dirt, grime, construction grit, etc. I just wipe it off a few times a day and its good to go between construction sites and boardrooms equally.
    -It protects reasonably well. All corners are protected and the cover is very thick/padded while the back is rigid. There's still a lot of iPad remaining exposed but nothing that will touch when lying flat on a surface.
    -It looks professional, but not 'artsy.' From the outside, it looks similar to any other black notebook. Targus even rolled the edges of the vinyl so it looks 'burnished' and the stitching is mostly even (although white, which I don't like). Clearly it contains an iPad but it doesn't draw too much attention to itself otherwise. Neither CEO's nor construction foremen have handled it like it was a fragile egg or a dirty rag. That's important to me as its a tool and I want people interacting with it as such. There's no fancy catches or awkward buckles. It is as plain as they get, nothing clever nor sophisticated.
    -Its functional. It has two very good, stable display modes. It has a third "keyboard" mode which is a major Con in my book but I'll get to that in a minute. You can leave it open flat like a book or fold over the back (almost all the way). In fact, the little semi-rigid "clip" portion of the case serves as a nice handle when the cover is folded back and you are holding the iPad/Vuscape combo one-handed.
    -Stylus loop is very handy and almost required as you'll see below.
    -Magnet works as it should. That said, I don't use this feature on my iPad.

    -The cutout in the back. I think it looks stupid and via an optical illusion the Apple logo looks off-center (maybe its not an optical illusion and is really off-center). I'm not too worried about scratching the Apple logo as I may be putting on an iCarbons skin over that part. But regardless...I think this brand-worship feature is stupid.
    -The semi-rigid clip that holds the cover closed when not in use prevents the unit from sitting perfectly flat when the cover is folded over the back. As you'll see in one of the pictures below, can't do that if you insist on a flat iPad. Some people will hate this as it makes using the iPad in the case difficult on tray tables and the like. For me, I seldom use my iPad this way so not that big of a deal.
    -The "third" display mode is supposed to be used with the soft keyboard and/or when handwriting notes on the iPad. Its not at all stable. If you leave a pen or a stylus in the loop, its mostly stable as that helps to 'catch' the iPad and keep it from slipping down flat. But if you don't keep a pen/stylus in there, the iPad will flatten out in seconds by itself, or instantly once you touch it. Very stupid design. Just flat out doesn't work. I tend to always keep two stylii with me (a Bamboo for sketches, a Jot Pro for writing) so no issues with me leaving one in the loop but its an annoyance that Targus clearly didn't reinforce the 'catch' so that it could work as intended. Its all but useless as a catch, there's no reinforcement or rigidity offered in the flap at all. Very bad design.

    This will work as a temporary case until something better comes along. It is a very functional case for someone that needs basic, everyday protection. Its a little better than the typical Targus fare in terms of fit and finish. I do not recommend it for someone who is going to use the typing feature a lot as it just flat out fails to perform properly in that position. But if you use a separate keyboard and/or don't mind leaving a pen/stylus in the loop, its serviceable in that position.

    Pictures in various positions follow:

    Attached Files:

  2. Tissie macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Thanks for your very nice review on the Vuscape case.

    I have a question: You dislike the typing position of the case due to an unstable loop that can only hold the case in this position when there is a stylus in the holder.
    But judged from your photo it seems like you are doing it wrong? I think the case is supposed to go under the small flap just before the loop holding the stylus?

    see image link:

    Any comments on that?
  3. ReallyBigFeet thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    What you can't see in my first set of pics is that the case _IS_ under that small flap. But that flap has no reinforcement so it just basically allows the iPad to "bulldozer" the small flap so that it totally flips over. There's a reason why the Targus guys show this flap in use with the stylus. If you pull it out, you'll end up with the result I'm showing in the second picture below. It basically flips the flap right over the stylus loop allowing the whole thing to fall flap on its back. Well not entirely flat as you've got half the back case still folded in half underneath. But not a usable position at any rate.

    See below for how this REALLY works in use:

    Attached Files:

  4. glen e macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ft Lauderdale
  5. Tissie macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Thanks for the clarification and the extra images.

    I am puzzled, I tried the case at my local reseller, and it didn't appear to be an issue - but I only had 2 minutes with the case.

    In this video review (see from 6.00 min) he uses the flap differently:
  6. ReallyBigFeet, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012

    ReallyBigFeet thread starter macrumors 68030


    Apr 15, 2010
    When I first got mine, it worked like he was showing in that video. Its not how Targus shows using it, which is to actually flip the tab up over the bezel of your iPad (per your first picture). I could tell right away that wasn't going to be very stable without keeping the stylus in place.

    Doing it the way the guy did in the video isn't how its supposed to work but that is what I did before I started leaving the stylus in the loop. This will work for a few minutes at a time but that tab is incredibly thin and flimsy. We have eight of these Vuscape cases here at the office, I bought them for the whole team. All of them are the same, so I don't think I got a defective one.

    But while you use the tab just "bracing" the Vuscape from underneath, you still end up pressing down on the iPad during typing. This simple movement of your fingers will cause the tab, thus braced, to press down (remember, its a padded case cover you are sitting on in this position) and go under the back case, or flip up and go between the back case and the iPad itself. In either situation, you end up with a flattened typing profile.

    So no matter how you use it, it needs some work. Personally, I think they should have created the tab with a 'holding pocket' of sorts, similar to how the original Apple iPad case (and the Yoobao) cases were built. Looks like this:



    As it is, all Targus did was literally sew the flap on the secured side to the front of the case via a double-stitch of thread. So there's no way to prevent it from 'flopping over' when used as they indicate on their website/packaging. Again....there's a good reason why they show using it this way with the stylus in place. It won't stay there without that or the method shown in the video...and even then, its not perfect. Workable, but not optimized.

    Sorry, but just not going to work the way they advertise it on their website. False advertising if you ask me.

  7. Tissie macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2012
    Once again thanks for your thorough clarification. This may very well be a dealbreaker for me - so gonna start looking for an alternative case to purchase.
  8. Eddie Bombay macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2011
    Looks good ordered one. Gotta love Prime 2nd day air.

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