Headed off to school with iPad Air 2 goals or ready to get the latest and greatest Apple toy into the office or home?
Here’s our fall roundup of cases to protect your investment. Out of the numerous options out there, we chose a designer smart case, groovy stand and a couple of keyboard cases to check out.
CASETIFY IPAD AIR 2 SMART CASE
Our friends at Casetify continue to churn out lovely cases. You can sort through a large assortment of designs or create your own via their upload template. Take a great day on the beach or a wedding to remember and turn it into a souvenir cover for your tech.
Casetify offers cases for iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macbooks, Apple Watches (bands), Android phones and Samsung (Galaxy and Gear).
Linda McMaster’s really cool travel-inspired case is perfect for daydreaming about your next adventure. The cover has three bendy sections that mimics Apple’s smart cover, with magnetic hinge that clips right onto the iPad’s side.
Though the iPad wakes the moment you open the case, I think this case needs a bit of working in to keep it attached when using in keyboard and video-watching angles. Each time I bent the case back into a triangular position, the hinge came undone off the iPad Air 2.
The snap case back is clear plastic which I especially love for showing off the gold (or silver, space grey, rose gold). If one of Casetify’s numerous designs don’t strike your fancy, just create your own, using uploaded photos or those from your Instagram or Facebook feed!
I’m hoping to update this site with news of the above issue (I’ve contacted their support team with the problem).
Casetify’s iPad Air 2 case retails for US $49.95 (free worldwide shipping).
CLAMCASE + FOR IPAD AIR 2
The latest and greatest ClamCase from Incipio is now backlit! The ClamCase+ is perfect for using the iPad as a substitute for a laptop.
I’ve taken Logitech’s Ultra Slim Keyboard Cover with my old iPad 3 on travels, writing articles in Notes then simply emailing it myself so it’s backed up on the Macbook Pro, iPhone 6 and iPad.
ClamCase offers a similar scenario with a couple of great additions: the 360-degree adjustable hinge, LED lights with three levels of brightness and full-body coverage (many keyboard cases I’ve come across leave the iPad’s back exposed).
Out of the box, you get the ClamCase, a charging cable, microfiber cloth and quick start guide.
Just slide the iPad Air 2 into the top lid (handy directional text and arrows make this a breeze), power on the ClamCase, pair with Bluetooth and you’re ready for action. We find the keys have a sturdy tactile texture and are satisfied with the results while typing and using the function keys.
This is my first ClamCase so I’ve nothing to compare it to, however many online reviews seem to point to an updated product in the right direction.
The keyboard includes a top row of special function keys: home, on-screen keyboard, lock, three volume controls, Siri, Bluetooth®, search, media controls, brightness, caps lock and battery.
If you use the back-lit option, battery life diminishes from 100 hours to six. A full charge takes about three hours.
– Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.9 x 24.7 cm (7.3” x .75” x 9.74”); weighs 1.2 lbs.
– Built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer battery
– Three months standby time
– Battery indicator displays remaining battery life
At the moment, this case is only available in Space Grey, though it completely covers the iPad to avoid colour-clashing. The ClamCase + comes with a one-year warranty and retails for US $149.99.
LOGITECH TYPE+ KEYBOARD
One thing that sets Logitech apart from many other tech companies is their branded cables. With the sheer amount of cables bundled in my drawer, finding each device’s cable is a first-world problem.
Not only does Logitech have their logo on the cable, the orientation is right-facing so you don’t have to spend time inserting the cable into their devices each and every way until it fits.
The TYPE+ also comes with a USB cable and quick start guide.
Much like the ClamCase, the TYPE+ also has front and back protection. The plus with this case, aesthetic-wise, is the top-only clip-in portion: this allows your pretty iPad’s side and rear to show through. The magnetic area is pretty solid, this is where your iPad naturally rests for both typing and viewing modes.
The keyboard is pretty responsive and its keys are about as spaced apart as ClamCase’s. This keyboard is slightly lighter in weight (check weight). The TYPE+ has a similar range of function keys, including a handy screen grab key right above the 6 (missing with the ClamCase). The ClamCase however does have a battery level indicator (missing with the TYPE+).
As with the ClamCase, the TYPE+ also has a tiny on/off switch on its side. One thing I did notice with the TYPE+: if the case is turned on and you plug in the iPad Air 2 to charge, you won’t hear the sound indicating it’s charging. When I turned off the case and plugged the Lightning cable back into the iPad, the sound went off and it began to charge.
– Dimensions: 18.3 x 1.7 x 24.7 cm (7.23” x .67” x 9.74”); weighs 430 grams (15.2 oz.)
– Automatically turns on when iPad is installed in the case
– Three months battery life on a single charge (based on average two hours usage per day
Logitech’s TYPE+ Keyboard comes in black and dark blue, has a one-year warranty and retails for CAD $129.99.
BELKIN QODE ULTIMATE PRO KEYBOARD
Belkin’s also thought of the branded cable. Nice job! The QODE Ultimate Pro Keyboard is packed with some great features. For starters, the top section of the case detaches from the keyboard and will work with a smart cover (I tried and it works). This plastic section is where the iPad clips in.
The backing has a soft, leather-like feel to it, held together via a magnetic strip.
When opening the case, there’s two magnetic viewing angle slots. Bluetooth comes on the moment the case is connected into its slot. I like the white keys that mimic Apple’s own keyboard (the version I was sent is gold and white).
The iPad is well protected in its enclosure and as with the other two cases above, auto-wakes when the case is opened and goes back into sleep mode once shut.
Another great aspect of the QODE is the ability to change the orientation from landscape to portrait, great for Face Time, Instagram, etc. As soon as you change the orientation and choose which angle to prop the iPad into, the Bluetooth blue light comes on to confirm connectivity.
This case will also pair up to two devices at once. Belkin’s Bluetooth® Smart Keyboard pairs with other Bluetooth 4.0 devices: iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad 4th gen, iPad 3rd gen, iPhone 5/5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 4s, iPod touch 6th gen, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iMac.
– Dimensions: 24.6 x 17.7 x 2.03 cm (9.7” x 7” x 0.8”); weighs 490 grams (15.2 oz.)
– Only turns on when iPad is installed in the case and docked, to save battery time
– Three levels of backlighting
– Keyboard constructed of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum
– SoundFlow design directs your iPad’s sound toward you for clear and powerful music and movies
– Up to one year on a charge (based on fully-charged keyboard used with backlit keys turned off)
There’s even a free QODE App for added features, from multiple language keyboard and layout support to quick-launch shortcuts.
The only con I can find with this case is the need to use the function key (bottom left) every time you want to use one of the top row function keys (the other two cases contain their own dedicated row of function keys). This is a smart-looking case that feels durable and has a good tactile typing feel, very similar to Apple’s keyboard.
Belkin’s QODE Ultimate Pro retails for CDN $169.99 (USD $149.99). Colour choices include black, white/silver and white/gold.
THE BEST KEYBOARD CASE?
If you’re asking me to pick a favourite out of the three, I’d be hard-pressed to pick the ‘winner’ of the trio. I like the ClamCase for its ability to move into a variety of positions when open, though it would be great if they produced a gold version. The Logitech TYPE+ is the lightest with only one position for the iPad to sit in.
The QODE is the heaviest of the bunch but has offers viewing in both portrait and landscape, though there’s the added step of pressing that Fn key plus your chosen function.
I plan on taking each case on the road to see how well I get on with battery life and weight. Right now my money’s on the ClamCase, only because it offers the most of a keyboard case for my needs. You guys may find other features to help you decide on the case that’s just right.
TWELVE SOUTH COMPASS 2
Design geeks will love this collapsible iPad stand by Twelve South. We also own their HiRise metal pedestal for iPhone and have been happy with it since day one.
This stand is intelligently designed to avoid scratching any part of your iPad by using a soft protective silicone material in each and every spot that touches the iPad. Its legs pop forward and stand backward to create an instant easel — in both orientations.
Bring the Compass 2 into the kitchen to follow a favourite online recipe or flip it to portrait mode for FaceTime and Instagram viewing.
Fold the supporting leg in and the Compass 2 goes into typing mode (a word of warning: not recommended for heavy gaming or keyboard pounding).
When opened into easel position, the Compass 2 measures 14.5 cm (5.7”) high, 12.7 cm (5”) wide and 11.5 cm (4.5”) deep with a 59-degree display angle.
This clever-looking forged-metal stand comes with a little drawstring bag and can be used with an Apple (or similar) smart case. I like its portability and options to match all iPad Air 2 colours. This little stand is perfect for on-the-go presentations, Netflix watching or typing emails.
The Compass 2 is available on Twelve South’s website for US $35. Twelve South products can also be found in Vancouver at London Drugs, the Apple Store, Mac Station and Simply Computing.