Note: We're fixing an issue with the giveaway form and will have it back around 2pm EST.
As we begin the new year, a lot of people wound up receiving an iPad mini as part of their holiday celebrations. Case makers are looking to make outfitting your iPad mini much easier, and we've gotten so many that TUAW Labs head mad scientist Steve Sande had to ship some of them out to the newly created iPad mini satellite office for us to then try to pass on to you guys! Celebrate your new year with a new case for your new iPad mini!
BookBook for iPad mini
We reviewed the revised BookBook in June, and BookBook for the iPad mini ($69.95) is a smaller version of its bigger sibling. Like Steve, I wasn't a fan of the straps that secured the iPad to the original BookBook, and it's what turned me away from buying one when I had a full-sized iPad. The leather enclosure protects your entire iPad mini, and you can unsnap it from the back to position it in a comfortable typing mode and viewing angle. It has the look and feel of a real book, and as you can see in the picture, I can easily shelve my iPad mini among my regular books if I want. It's the case I kept on my iPad mini the longest out of all the review cases to date, and the one I'm most likely going to buy for myself.
The Speck FitFolio ($34.95) is a competitor for the Belkin cases you can find at most retail locations. The draw to the Speck for me is the colors, which I like better than Apple's selection and Belkin's. I like the viewing angle standing position for watching video, but not so much the typing position when you fold the case behind itself. If you don't do it just right, typing isn't comfortable at all. The fit was a bit so-so. The plastic case wasn't flush with my iPad around the earphone in the review case I received, but it doesn't impede with the protection. If you can live without the sleep/wake function and like the colors, give the Speck case a try.
Gumdrop Drop Tech
Putting the Gumdrop Drop Tech ($59.95) on my iPad was like encasing it in a tire, a sentiment that Steve shared when reviewing the iPhone 5 case. Like Otterbox cases, there is a rugged silicone exterior that surrounds a thin plastic case with a screen protector. Your iPad is sandwiched in between. Silicone covers all the ports, and you can flip the Lightning connector, earplug and side switch. The fit over the ports is good. Everything aligns perfectly, and the buttons you press through the silicone (home, power and volume) work like normal.
I worry about the quality of the plastic frame and can see it easily breaking if you make a habit of inserting and removing the mini from this case. Also, if you're not careful in putting on the silicone cover, the four corners of the case can bulge out. If the case is put on correctly, it's a good one to use if you're carrying your iPad mini outdoors a lot.
X-Doria Smart Jacket
When it comes to looks, the X-Doria Smart Jacket ($34.99) comes fairly close to the Apple Smart Cover, but with a plastic, 3D-texturized back. It boasts the same viewing angles as the Smart Cover, but the built-in stand doesn't work at all. The cover doesn't hold its shape when you fold it into the viewing angle or the typing angle, so the iPad mini keeps falling over. If you want just a very basic cover with sleep/wake function, then the Smart Jacket is OK. If you want to do anything else with your iPad mini, spend your money on another case.
However, I liked X-Doria's SleeveStand ($29.99) far better than the Smart Jacket. It does what it says on the tin -- provides a plush home for your iPad mini with tabs in the opening of the jacket to hold your iPad mini in portrait or landscape mode. It's a sturdy viewing stand, but it's not good for typing. It comes with a carrying handle tucked into the front pocket, but I don't see the need for it. If you're swinging your iPad mini from your wrist, you're asking for someone to come rip it off.
Now it's time for these cases to go from my home into yours! Here's your chance to enter to win one of five different cases from TUAW and the manufacturers discussed in this review. Keep in mind, these cases are all for the iPad mini, so if you don't have one (or don't know someone who does), please don't enter! 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 January 5, 2013, 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
- You may enter only once.
- Five will be selected and will receive an iPad mini case (value of case varies, please see descriptions above)
- Click here for official rules