Provides: Back and screen protection for iPad 2 and the new iPad Developer:Hard Candy Cases Minimum Requirements: iPad 2 or the new iPad Price: $59.95 Availability: Now
With the Chrome Bezel case, Hard Candy has put together an attractive, sturdy, thorough case for the iPad 2 or the new iPad. It offers complete protection with a design that can be flashy or somewhat more subdued, based on the single design decision you’re allowed to make. But there are two problems that prevent me from giving it a full recommendation.
The Chrome Bezel case comes in three parts. The smooth, black, polycarbonate back plate is soft to touch and comfortable to hold, and offers solid protection from scratches and scuffs. The matte finish does a good job of repelling fingerprint smudges, too, which is always a plus. Considering most of Hard Candy’s designs tend to be pretty shiny, I’m pleased they went with a more subdued look here.
Of course, that may be to give the chrome bezel all the attention. You can select gold to turn your iPad into a slick looking fashion accessory, or you can go with silver to keep things a bit more subdued. Either way, you get a somewhat wide, bumpy texture that frames your iPad like a chrome bumper, altering the way it feels when you hold it. This was a bit odd at first, but I got used to it.
Both the bumper and the back plate offer full access to the iPad’s ports and such, either via somewhat widely cut openings (camera, dock port, etc.) or in case buttons (volume, sleep/wake buttons) colored to accent your chrome color choice. These buttons are perfectly aligned and easy to locate by touch.
But perhaps the most unique feature is the integrated screen protection that rests within the chrome frame. It’s not an adhesive like most screen protectors, and is therefore bubble-free and requires no difficult application process. It also provides less friction than the iPad glass itself, so it’s actually easier to use for swiping. However, it does cause some picture distortion on the Retina display of the new iPad. It’s not terribly distracting; just some sharpening that will be noticeable to most users.
That’s my first problem. The second is that the case is a bit difficult to put in place and very difficult to remove. It involves snapping the bezel and screen protector into the back plate, and this requires some force (the instructions even point this out). There has to be a way to make this easier, or at least less worrisome. I applied and removed my test unit numerous times, and although it never damaged my new iPad, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would. It’s worth noting, however, that although I bent the frame pretty heavily to get the iPad out, the case never snapped or cracked.
You should also know that the fit is quite tight. If you’re using an iPad skin, this may be enough to force the screen protector to pop out of its frame, as happened to me. I ended up having to test the Chrome Bezel on a different iPad without a skin in order to get a proper fit.
Hard Candy has done a great job here with the design and functionality of the Chrome Bezel case. With a little more time in the engineering department spent on application and removal, it’d be easier to recommend. But if you really like its style, don’t let this put you off…or just don’t take it off once you have it on.