I think there’s far more reason to put the iPad mini in a case than there ever has been for the full-sized 9.7″ iPad. That reason has everything to do with weight and how I handle iPads. I’m far less likely to need any kind of drop protection because I don’t walk around or go on any kind of active duty with the iPad. It’s a reading device as I sit on a train, a gaming device on the couch, and a writing device at a desk. Aside from the bag of Cheetos I may consume during these activities, there’s nothing I need to protect the iPad from because my Smart Cover already keeps scratches at bay.
So what I look for in a case is an accessory that adds a different dynamic; a new way to hold the device or keep it standing on my desk. I’ve been looking over the first round of iPad mini cases — many of which use a mis-matched black-and-silver iPad mini that we now know doesn’t exist — and here are my favourites:
Incipio Lexington – $35 – This case would look a lot like your standard folio case, but for the cool distinction of elevating the iPad slightly when the case is folded into a stand. It’s a nice touch, especially given that iPad screens are smaller and lower than standard laptop screens — and the iPad mini’s is even more so.
Moshi iGlaze for iPad mini – coming soon – This product is still “coming soon” but the 9.7″ version still shows off the potential of having a slim case with multiple stands built into the cover. I also really like the magnet on the rear so you can fold the VersaCover right back and have it stay that way.
Marware C.E.O. Hybrid Case – $43 – I’ve never used a Marware case, but I’ve heard good things about them from my colleague Patrick. The carbon fiber looks sharp, multiple stands are a plus, and the hand strap looks genuinely useful — especially since the iPad mini is light enough to comfortably hold in one hand.
ZAGG Solo – $70 – I know, I know, this isn’t a case at all, but I love keyboards too much to ignore it. The Solo isn’t iPad mini specific, but it should hold the mini nicely for portrait and landscape typing, on the couch or at a desk. The Solo is also a relatively safe “future-proof” buy, simply because a lot of thin tablets will fit into the groove nicely, so it could likely fit an iPad mini 2 or an iPad 5.
ZAGG Mini 9 – $90 – I’d recommend the ZAGG mini 9 – an all-in-one keyboard folio case – over its Mini 7 counterpart simply because I think that a hardware keyboard sized to fit the iPad mini’s small frame will simply be too small to use comfortably. I used the original adonit Writer 2, and that keyboard felt significantly more cramped than the Writer Plus I prefer to use today.
Sena Jornal – $80 – Sena leather always feels great in hand, and I really like the look of the iPad mini as a bound leather journal. I think the leather should also increase the thickness of the device enough to make the whole thing easier to hold.
Sena Folio – $70 – This case should also increase the thickness of the mini for holding, but includes a set of three stands, including one for portrait. I really liked this case when I reviewed it on the iPad 2, but it was simply too heavy to enjoy on a daily basis. I think this design could really shine on the lighter iPad mini.
BookBook for iPad mini – coming soon – I have used the BookBook for iPhone extensively, and I really like the zippered look of the latest BookBook v2 for iPad. I’m not partial to the look of other “fake book” cases (like the ones from Dodo) but something about TwelveSouth’s style really works for me. There likely won’t be a camera hole in the iPad mini version as there is on the BookBook for iPhone 5, but pictures are not a priority for my tablet usage.
Gelaskins for iPad mini – $20 – I love Gelaskins. They stick very well to all of the devices I put them on, they can be re-applied multiple times, and they’re very easy and forgiving to install. I also love how they add a little extra grip to Apple’s patented Extra Slippery Aluminum. What’s more, Gelaskins are currently 20% off for Black Friday, so pick one up now.
These are all of the iPad cases and covers that have caught my eye. If you’ve got a case with an interesting angle to share, hit us up with a link in the comments.