Two companies, two suspiciously similar and awesome looking protective shells…Gumdrop and HardCandy Cases are clearly in cahoots here, but who cares?! The Gumdrop Drop Tech Series and HardCandy ShockDrop Cases for iPad Mini are almost identical destruction-proof cases with slightly different ruggedized finishes. While it’s probably not destruction-proof, it’s the closest you’ll get right now. Plus who says destruction-proof can’t look and feel bad a$$?
Talk about all around protection, because these cases have it. There’s a built in screen protector, port covers, and button overlays. There’s 10 millimeters of silicon shock absorbing protection. It’s got a tough and rugged look with a build that can surely back it up. The silicon is both comfortable and easy to get a good grip. Luckily iPad Mini is so light to start with, because the Drop Tech and Shock Drop both add some real heft. The weight is nothing you can’t handle, but it feels almost as heavy as two Minis.
To understand just how protective the Drop Tech and ShockDrop are, it’s best to understand how they work. There’s essentially an inner shell and an outer shell. The inner shell isn’t actually an all around case, but rather a frame covering the front, sides, and small portion of the back. The semi-rigid screen protector is built into this polycarbonate frame. The inner frames of both the Drop Tech and ShockDrop are identical and interchangeable. (Side note: You’ll want to make sure iPad’s screen and the underside of the screen protector are as clean as possible) This inner shell firmly attaches to iPad Mini and then the dense rubbery outer casing is stretched over the frame and tucked into all grooves.
Both of these cases were delivered to us before iPad Mini was even released, for that reason we’re giving the companies the benefit of the doubt that outer shell has since been slightly improved to better place the button overlays. The home button works fine, but the volume and lock buttons won’t line up perfectly; it’s tough to keep the buttons from permanently staying depressed. I found myself having to pull the rubberized buttons to make them register. The Drop Tech also has small gaps between the corners of the inner and outer case.
The neat thing about the Drop Tech and ShockDrop cases is that you don’t have to worry about iPad and yet you always have complete access. Take it out of your backpack or congested pocket book and start using it. Give it to the kids and let them go nuts! Portfolio type cases always require you to remove a cover and sacrifice protection to use iPad. If you’re accident prone, have kids, or just don’t want to worry about being super careful with this awesome device, the Gumdrop Drop Tech Series or HardCandy ShockDrop Case will be your iPad Mini’s best friend. Strangely enough, Gumdrop’s Drop Tech Series case for iPad Mini costs $10 more at a price of $59.95. It’s available in army green, black on red, or black on black. The HardCandy ShockDrop Case, which is just as awesome, but only available in black or red, retails for $49.95. We suggest holding off until each company refits their outer shells for better use with buttons.
The Good: Extremely Protective and Durable, Built-in Screen Protector, Button Overlays, Comfortable/Grippy, Cool Rugged Design The Bad: Button overlays don’t line up right, Gaps between inner and outer casing, Expensive