Pelican is a company that deserves a spot on the top list as a brand that makes some of the most durable cases on the market. And while the company is best known for its dedication to photography equipment protection, it has dabbled in mobile device cases for a while, and it’s been better for it, making a handful of different cases for all sorts of smartphones and tablets.
The newly-updated Pelican Vault is an iPad case that retails for $80, and I got to try it out on my iPad mini. Simply put, it makes most basic iPad cases look ridiculously insignificant.
The Vault comes with a two-tone color scheme of black & gray or gray & white, and its design blocks out water and dust, and it even has a cover that allows you to seal up the iPad completely when you’re not using it. All of the ports are covered up as well with rubber seals, but can easily be removed whenever you need to plug something in, like a USB cable or headphones.
The hinge is made out of an aircraft-grade aluminum that’s extremely sturdy and can hold any position with ease, allowing you to use the case as a stand of sorts for your iPad.
Of course, it’s not completely water-proof, but it can stand being dunked in water for a certain amount of time, which should be enough to recover your iPad if it ever happens to accidentally drop in a puddle or in the toilet (hey, it could happen).
Obviously, it does add a significant amount of bulk and weight to your iPad. The case itself weighs around 10 ounces, which when added onto your iPad mini will essentially double the weight and add more than twice the thickness.
However, if you buy this case, you’re not getting it for its streamlined looks and minimalistic design. Instead, it’s meant for those that do more with their iPads than just take it with them on their commute. The Pelican Vault is really meant for those that use their iPads in rugged scenarios, like constructions, hiking, camping, etc. where it will be subjected to the elements.
Perhaps the nice benefit of a chunkier case like this is that it does make the iPad mini way easier to grip. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost dropped my iPad due to butter fingers, but the Pelican Vault makes the thin iPad way easier hold.
The installation and removal process of the case is surprisingly easy. I’ve tried out many durable and rugged cases that were a pain to install, but the Vault is probably the easiest case I’ve used. Simply pry up the front cover using a coin in the bottom slits and then lay your iPad inside. After that, just snap the front cover back on. It literally takes about 30 seconds.
One issue that I came across is that the volume buttons and power buttons are fairly difficult to press down, and when you do, you don’t get the satisfying *click* sound it makes. Instead, it feels more like a soft button, and you’re not sure if you actually pressed down on it unless you look at the screen to see if it did anything.
Overall, I couldn’t see myself using this case all the time based on my current usage habits, but I could easily see myself using it if I was going to work out in the garage while I have my iPad set up for DIY video tutorials. I usually don’t take my electronics out to the garage with me, but the Pelican Vault case has me at least rethinking that.