Open and Shut Cases
A good case can turn an iPad into a notebook or a desktop computer while protecting it from the daily abuse that being deployed in a school entails. The best add a built-in keyboard, pull-out stand or just make it look better.
As is seen with the six cases here, to get the right case for the right task, you’ll have to shop carefully because there’s a multitude of designs and no two cases are alike.
For many schools the default decision is to get Apple’s Smart Cover. It covers the pad’s front and back, feels nice in the hand and looks sharp. It, however, only works with the newer iPad 2. It may not have a mechanical keyboard, but Smart Cover provides a comfy typing stand for the on-screen keyboard or sits up taller for video conferences. It comes in leather ($69) or polyurethane ($39) in your choice of 10 different colors and the iPad 2 wakes up when you open the case.
Protection is what Otter’s iPad 2 Reflex Case is all about. Made of tough polycarbonate plastic with soft rubber bumpers, the Reflex case can prevent damage from drops and spills. Still, it weighs only 10 ounces and has a pull out leg for turning the case into a handy desktop stand. Happily, it can be set up at two different angles for typing and touch work, but only works with the iPad 2.
By contrast, Solid Line’s $99 RightShift case can be ordered for either iPad and includes a real mechanical keyboard. It measures 9.8 by 8.0 by 1.0 inches, can hold the pad up and has a Bluetooth keyboard inside that can run for 90 hours on its lithium battery. It’s available in black, white and red and the company can put your school’s logo or mascot on the case.
It might seem a tad speculative, but Kickstarter’s LillyPad solar case can turn an iPad into a green machine. The case has a solar cell on its back to help trickle charge the iPad’s battery as it is being used or when it’s just sitting around waiting for class to start. According to the company, most pads only need to be plugged in for charging every two weeks. The snag? Production of the case is only starting just now.
M-Edge’s SuperShell is a minimalist case that is perfect for iPads that stay at school. It may lack the fold over cover, but its closed-cell foam construction can absorb the impact of being dropped. It weighs less than 10 ounces and its surface is textured to assure a good grip, but it’s for the newer iPad 2 model. SuperShell is a bargain at $30 and is only available in what the company calls atomic green.
Finally, August Accessories’ Recon Messenger bag fits the iPad like a glove, yet the screen is available for use by opening Recon’s outer flap. It works with both generations if iPad hardware and protects as well as providing ample space for books, pads and pencils. Made of washed canvas, the bag has a single over the shoulder strap for between class hallway sprints. The $80 bag comes in Khaki or charcoal material.