iPad 2s are cool. Smart Covers exude coolness all over the place. And Fu, the awesome New York City-based graphic artist, has created a robot-filled world called Robot 99 that is über-cool. What happens when you get these three things together? Probably one of the most unique and fun iPad 2 cases ever. Fu has teamed with Echo Creative to create a Robot 99 Special Edition iPad 2 case (US$59.99, currently on sale for $47.99), and it turns out that it's not only completely fun, but also a pretty good iPad 2 folio case as well! Read on for my review.
First, let's talk about Robot 99. It's a fun little iOS game ($0.99). The back story about Robot 99 is that "Robots live up in the clouds. Sometimes they might miss a step and accidentally fall down from the sky. Only your fingers can save them!"
The case is an Echo Creative Lettre X iPad 2 folio, which is a rather slender leather folio case with built-in cover magnets for Smart Cover-like automatic on/off. The case has a tab in the back that allows the cover to be folded back and used to prop the iPad up in several ways.
While there's nothing new about folio cases -- I know I've reviewed bazillions of them -- the one thing I like about the Lettre X is that it's not over-padded like so many of the cases are. Instead, it's very thin and doesn't add too much to the weight or thickness of the case.
The star of the show, though, is Robot 1. He's on the front of the case emblazoned in bright primary colors. His fellow cloud-inhabitants from Robot 99 are line drawings on the brown leather background, but the entire case is just covered with the doodle-like characters. It's fun, and it's sure to get the attention of everybody.
As I mentioned, the case works similarly to many of the Smart Cover / folio case mashups we've seen. I was very impressed with the build of this case, and I liked the way that the iPad 2 is held in place. There's a small slot on the top of the case into which a leather tab fits. Pull out the tab, slide in the iPad 2, and then push the tab back into the slot to hold the iPad 2 securely. That's simple, but something that a lot of folio case designers haven't figured out! Many of them use ugly and breakable elastic straps to hold things into their proper places.
The inside of the case is lined with a grey felt that compliments the grey leather holding the iPad into place. It's an altogether attractive package, and would make an excellent holiday gift.
Unfortunately, we don't get to keep any of the goodies that are sent into the TUAW Labs for testing, because I would have nabbed this case in a heartbeat. When someone makes an excellent iPad 2 folio case, sells it at a decent price (especially with the 20% off fall sale right now), and then covers it with fun and colorful graphics, it's time for serious Robot 99 love.