If you just picked up a new iPad Air 2 or an iPad Mini, or if you're shopping for someone who has, you'll probably want a case to keep it safe on the go, in your bag, or on your desk. Whether it's a rugged case, a soft folio, or a keyboard case, you have options. Here are five of the best, based on your nominations.
Earlier this week
we asked you which iPad cases were the best to keep your tablet safe while you use it or while you travel. You had plenty of nominees, but we could only pick out the top five. Here's what you said, in no particular order:
DODOCase made the roundup the last time we ran down the best iPad cases, and they're back again this time—for good reason. Cases by DODOcase don't come cheap, but they're some of the best handmade, sharp looking cases you can put your iPad into. Prices vary depending on the design and materials you want used to make the body of the case, but almost all of DODOcase's offerings provide full folio-style protection with a wooden body that your iPad rests comfortably into and a firm board cover that flips over the screen to keep it safe when it's not in use. The cases are also flexible enough to be used in portrait or landscape mode, both standing up or resting on their back. Ideally though, this is the type of case that makes your iPad look like a book and easy to slide in and out of a bag or briefcase without damaging the tablet itself.
Apple's own iPad Smart Case makes another appearance—another repeat from the last time we looked at the best iPad cases. It brought in a number of nominations, largely because you can buy it at the same time right when you get your iPad, and because you're guaranteed a solid fit and a full-body case. The
iPad Smart Case specifically is a full-body leather case with a polycarbonate backing to protect the sides and back of your device, and an anline-dyed, leather Smart Cover-style flap that protects the screen when not in use, folds up to be an impromptu stand, and will wake your iPad from sleep or put it to sleep when the cover is opened or closed.
The rooCASE Origami only comes in one model—one that was released in 2013, but that fits (mostly) the new, slightly slimmer iPad Air 2 in addition to the original iPad Air. The case is called the Origami because of the sheer number of configurations you can bend the screen cover into and still use the iPad safely. It's made from smooth, textured polyurethane on both the back (with a firm shell for the back of your iPad) and the front cover flap, so don't expect shock or drop protection for your iPad. However, it's super thin and doesn't add a ton of thickness to your already-thin iPad Air. The Origami also supports sleep/wake when you close or open the flap, and uses the magnets in the iPad Air to secure the screen cover in place when you have it closed. Plus, there are cutouts for easy access to ports and buttons, and it's available in a number of colors.
Those of you who nominated it pointed out that the Origami's claim to fame is no joke—it can be folded into a number of different sturdy positions, so you can use your iPad vertically, horizontally, and at multiple angles without worrying that touching the screen will cause it to fall flat on your desk or table. Plus, it's an affordable case, only about $25 at Amazon in your choice of color. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
There's a place for thin, well-designed, attractive cases that make your tablet look professional but also keeps it functional and relatively safe from the dangers you'll find in your home or office. Then there's a place for serious cases that'll keep your tablet safe from real drops, shocks, dings, or—even worse—children. That's where the Survivor All-Terrain case from Griffin comes in. It's the most rugged case in the roundup. The Survivor line is actually Griffin's high-impact line of cases for multiple devices, and you can check them all out here, but the iPad Air model is the one we're most interested in. The Survivor is built out of shatter-resistant polycarbonate with shock-resistant silicone cladding. The combination of the two will protect your iPad from shocks, falls, drops, water, dirt, sand—you name it. The included, built-in screen protector seals the iPad's display from the environment as well, giving you just as much protection on the front as you get on the back.
The Survivor is built to the US military's MIL-STD-810F ruggedness standard. Hinged plugs protect your ports, buttons, and connectors, and open when you need to use them, and the Survivor comes with the display stand shown above so you can use it standing up. Those of you who nominated the Survivor called out that it's made your tablet safely usable in difficult situations, like on construction sites, or in the hands of young children. The Survivor will set you back $80 direct from Griffin, or you can catch a break and get it for $55 from Amazon. You can read more testimonials in the nomination thread here.
Devicewear's "The Ridge" slim iPad cases made an appearance the last time we looked at the best iPad cases, but this time they earned enough support to dethrone one of the original top five—and for good reason. Devicewear makes specific models for the iPad 2/3/4, the iPad Air, and the new iPad Air 2, as well as the iPad Mini—all specifically crafted to make sure that they're a perfect fit. Android fans may remember Devicewear from our best Nexus 7 cases, as well. All of Devicewear's cases are made from a premium soft-but-authentic-feeling polyurethane leather material (the company specifically markets its leather as animal-friendly, since no animal products are used in manufacturing it) that feels and wears like leather, but obviously isn't leather. The Ridge cases get their name because they can be folded and secured in six different angles—all of them usable—between 50 and 85 degrees incline, or folded over and used near-flat at 15 degrees. The backing inside the case is a firm plastic that makes sure your iPad is protected from shocks and drops.
Those of you who nominated the Ridge noted that it's exceptionally affordable for such a premium case—usually coming in around $40-$50 (but closer to $27 at Amazon) for high quality material, good protection, and solid functionality. Like any good iPad case, opening and closing the case will wake or sleep your iPad, and the magnets keep the case and cover secure while you carry it. For a case that looks good and professional, whether you're at home or in the office—and that doubles as a stand, you can't really go wrong. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
Those are your top five! Now it's time to put them to a vote to determine the community favorite:
The honorable mention this week goes out to
Pad and Quill Cases, a line of hand-crafted high-end cases for iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Macbooks, and Macbook Airs that are all bound in wood and leather. If you're looking for a high-quality case and you're also willing to pay a premium for it, check them out. Their iPad Air cases range from around $60 to $100 depending on which ones you're interested in, for example.
Another honorable mention goes out to Portenzo, a company that makes beautiful, premium hand-made cases for the iPad Air, among other devices. If you like the "book"-like style of the DODOCase above, or of Pad and Quill, or another company we should mention, TwelveSouth's BookBook cases, then you can find truly unique cases with interesting designs that look like composition notebooks, old and weathered tomes, and stylish paper notebooks. All three make premium cases, so you should be ready to pay premium prices for them, but you can't go wrong with the quality and craftsmanship of any of the three honorable mentions here.
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn't get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it's a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!