Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad mini is a recommended option to house your beloved iOS device, but when it comes to keeping it in good condition, you might want to look at a more comprehensive alternative.
The most popular cases come in the form of folios, which protect the front and back of your iPad and usually fold to create a stand, ideal for watching films or typing on.
Then there are the sleeves, which are perfect as carry cases. Rugged cases are for extreme use (or to keep your iPad mini safe in the hands of children), while rear shells are for keeping the back of your mini scratch-free. Whatever your specific requirements, you'll find plenty of options to choose from here.
Folio cases - smart cases to protect both sides of your iPad mini
There's nothing particularly fancy about this case, but it's still a good all-rounder. The leather-plastic combo works well enough and the stand mechanism is suitably robust. It's basic and there's better quality around for this price, but we could easily live with the Gear4 CoverStand as our iPad mini's main case.
The iChic Gear Manhattan is one of the finest folio/stand combos in this test. In landscape orientation the stand is very stable, aided by tucking the tongue of the case's clasp into its holder at the back. The iPad mini feels sturdy in the case at all times, and we really liked the neatly recessed leather, too.
We applaud QDOS for making a portrait case stand, something that makes this model really stand out. Open the case and on the inside panel there are two kickstand options for placing your iPad mini in either orientation. However, after a promising beginning, the rest of the case is fairly average in looks and quality.
This folio case touts itself as a flexi-folding effort, where the front cover folds like a piece of origami to become the stand. Thankfully, it's nowhere near as complicated as origami to construct; however, we failed to find it a reliable stand solution. A nice try, but it's not really robust enough. The Enigma comes in pink and blue, too.
The Fit-M seems like a backward step at first. It uses two suction cups to grip the cover to the iPad's screen - where are the magnets, we hear you cry? Well, this is a stronger solution, and the overall fit of this case is wonderful. Stylewise, we also admire the leather being raised off the plastic at the rear.
The leather on this slimline case is super-grippy, but that's the only redeeming feature. The fit is quite cumbersome and really detracts from the good looks of your device. The cutaway holes for the rear features (camera, volume buttons and such like) seem like afterthoughts, and the stand is wobbly.
A very similar design to the Incipio Lexington, but with an easier tongue/loop design to hold the case in its stand position. It's solid and stylish, but our model was a little suspect when it came to the glue and stitching in some areas. A reasonable enough general purpose folio case.
This is by far the strangest iPad mini holder here - the g.2 encases your beloved iPad mini in a wooden surround. The fit is good and there's even space to store your iPhone underneath. However, it's bulky and too much of a niche design for most people - even if the customisation options are second to none.
The thick rubber housing of the Lexington Hard Shell Folio Case protects the mini, but never feels bulky. The rubberised leather that covers the case feels luxurious and it's one of the strongest stands we tried on test. Getting the tongue through the loop at the back, however, is more difficult than it should be.
This Griffin case has some of the best quality (and best smelling) leather in this roundup. The Filofax-esque feel could appeal to business travellers and suchlike, but it will probably prove too bulky for most of us. It does have a loop to keep a stylus with the case, but unfortunately, the stand is a little weak for our liking.
Get this if you want a well-padded case that will allow you to stand it in landscape or portrait. It's all done through one stand too, making it much neater than the QDOS Libris. It operates on a simple swivel mechanism and we found it became our general purpose case of choice over time.
This case uses a raised bit of rubber to lock the folding cover behind it. It's positioned to give two different stand positions; a high one for watching films, and a shallow position for when you want to do some typing. Sadly however, there's no way of locking the cover, which makes it next to useless for protection.
This case is a bit-old school in its notebook feel. The angled elastic ribbon that holds the cover shut is strong and easy to slide on and off. The inside cover has four storage pockets and comes with a padded cleaning cloth, but we're not fans of the corner straps that hold the mini in place.
This is the slightly more expensive version of the Ala case. The only real difference is the stand, which here is a more traditional three-folding version similar to Apple's Smart Cover. Thankfully, this provides much more stability, but we still can't warm to the other elements of the case.
The diamond pattern effect here probably won't be to everyone's taste, but if it does tickle your fancy, then you could do much worse than this model. The iPad mini is held perfectly in the leatherbound shell (there's no rubber anywhere) and the magnetic clip stand is superb as well.
Sleeves - four carry cases to keep your iPad mini easily accessible
The LA robe is fairly rigid for a soft sleeve, but that's no bad thing when it comes to protection. The iPad mini fits snugly into the top, although it's a bit of a struggle if you also have a Smart Cover on. At £15 though, we were hard pressed to find anything else as good as this for the price.
The Outback has a waxy exterior with a leather finish. It's both stylish and very thick, burying your iPad mini in plenty of soft padding on the inside. We also liked the decent clasp to hold your mini in place. As far as sleeves go this one's a winner - it comes highly recommended.
Similar to the other two neoprene cases here, the Gear4 NeO has a nice fit, but it's much softer than the material used for the be.ez LA robe. Frankly, the arced front - which is meant to allow getting the iPad in and out easier - is neither attractive nor ideal for protection if you drop it.
Although this neoprene case is well-made overall, the zip around the top tended to touch the iPad as we closed it each time. This is annoying and could easily damage the corners of your device. You really have to shove the iPad mini into the case with gusto to have any chance of avoiding this.
Looking for the ultimate in iPad protection? Then take the rugged option
If you get your iPad in and out of its case regularly, then the Survivor might not be for you - it's fiddly at best. When it comes to extreme protection, however, Griffin's case is hard to beat. Griffin are quoting it as high as £50, but if you shop around, you can pick it up for less than half that price.
Don't be fooled by the Gumdrop's clichéd tyre tread design; this rugged product is a fine heavy-duty case. The Griffin Survivor edges it in terms of features, but this case is much easier (and therefore quicker) to get your iPad mini into, and for a bulky concept, we think it's rather stylish, too.
You won't find many cases with rubber as thick as the Workmate's (it's actually made up of hard plastic and heavy rubber, interlaced for stronger protection). It works well as a heavy duty design, but, depending on your usage scenario, you might want the front covered, too.
We're not a fan of claw grips on any iPad case, and the Armour case doesn't do enough convince us otherwise. A shame, because the leather quality and thick padding makes this folio/rugged hybrid the ideal choice for those looking for a really tough case as well as a stand and a magnetic locking cover.
Shells - Keep the back of your iPad mini in tip top condition
As you might expect from a hard shell, the Incipio NGP is made of semi-rigid rubber. It's very good quality and easy to apply, although getting your iPad mini out again isn't always as quite as simple as it should be. The harder shell design of the other Incipio model sorts that problem, though.
The cheapest rear shell here is just as good when it comes to quality as the others. We like the hole-punched area at the bottom to form a grille above the iPad mini's speaker. The rest of the cut out sections to expose the mini's buttons are a little untidy, being all square cut, but it's still a great price.
Kensington's effort is almost identical to the Incipio NGP. There's also next to no difference in price, so ultimately, it really comes down to which colour range you prefer. We like this teal version, though for £5 less, the Cygnett is the more attractive option when it comes to semi-rigid rear shells.
The Incipio Feather is the only non-flexing rear shell in this test. The Feather series has been very popular on the iPhone because of its light, slimline design, and that design is carried through beautifully here. It's easy to apply and gives you the best access to your iPad mini's exterior controls.