Apple's little iPad has no shortage of ways to be protected from the elements. There are cases, waterproof cases, keyboard cases, sleeves, and more from a variety of manufacturers. However, some of the cases and sleeves leave a lot to be desired in terms of their looks and in what functionality they provide. Twelve South is now shipping the SurfacePad for iPad mini, and if you're looking for a stylish protective case that also works well as a stand, it may be just the cover and stand for you.
- Price: US$69.99
- Dimensions: 7.8" x 5.2" x 0.1" (198 x 133 x 3 mm)
- Weight: 5.9 ounces (168 grams)
- Material: Napa leather
- Colors: Black, White, Red
Twelve South makes Apple accessories that would make Jony Ive happy, and they've continued their run with the SurfacePad for iPad mini. This cover/stand features a thin leather cover that is attached to your iPad mini or mini with Retina display with an adhesive pad. That pad can be attached and detached any number of times without losing stickiness, so if you need to pop your mini into a waterproof case, just slip the SurfacePad off and go for it.
The review SurfacePad was made of a rich red leather. I'm usually not a fan of red accessories, but this just looked too good to pass up. The SurfacePad is designed in such a way that the edge of the iPad mini is still visible, nice if you like to show off the thin contoured lines of the tablet.
The SurfacePad folds easily into one of three positions as a stand. It uses a small "kickstand" that folds out to hold the iPad mini in a position for typing, or magnets hold the iPad in one of two upright positions for watching videos.
The leather gives the SurfacePad a nice grip, so your chances of dropping that slick little iPad mini are reduced. As you'd expect, there is a cutout on one corner for the back-facing camera, as well as a small hole for the noise cancellation microphone.
Installing the SurfacePad is pretty easy; you just need to wipe off the back of your iPad mini with something to make sure there's no dust, dirt or oily finger residue back there, pull a plastic protective cover off of the sticky material, and then place the SurfacePad onto the back of the mini. If you don't align the SurfacePad properly the first time, don't get worried. It can be pulled off easily and reinstalled.
For protection, you should be aware that the SurfacePad does not cover the edges of the iPad mini, so a drop onto one of the edges could result in damage. However, it does provide good protection for the screen and back of the iPad mini, and as mentioned earlier the leather surface should provide enough of a grip to keep you from dropping the tablet in the first place.
Magnets in the SurfacePad turn your iPad mini on and off, and when used as a stand they ensure that the iPad/SurfacePad is going to stay in an upright and locked position. Both of the viewing positions for video use the magnets to full advantage, and they work really well. However, in the typing position the magnet didn't seem to line up properly so that the kickstand was in place as a prop while the magnet was grabbing the edge of the iPad mini.
The kickstand apparently needs to be "broken in", as after I bent it into position a few times, it began to work the way it should. I still found on occasion that the kickstand would collapse and leave the iPad flat on its leather-wrapped back until I propped it up again.
Anyone looking for a slim, lightweight, stylish and fairly functional cover/stand for their iPad mini should consider the SurfacePad. While it doesn't offer much protection for the edges of the iPad mini, it does protect the rest of the body and works well as a stand, especially for watching videos.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible