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When I got my shiny new iPad, my next most essential purchase had to be some sort of protective case. As Mrs SWSt will testify, I'm not the most careful monkey in the jungle only afterwards do I stop and think that perhaps it's not a good idea to drop a £400 piece of equipment from the branches of a tree or to throw it at annoying neighbouring monkeys who are making too much noise . As such, I needed a case that was going to be reasonably light, durable and monkey-proof. The Tecknet iPad 3 cover fits the bill perfectly.
It is available in a wide range of colours although (as predicted by Mrs SWSt) I went for the safe black option. If you're image conscious, the case looks stylish and fits nicely with the design of the iPad. When fitted, it makes it look a little like an A4 sized black diary - handy if you don't want to draw attention to the fact that you are carrying an iPad around with you.
The design of the case is very well thought out. The iPad slips easily into a middle section, which has a padded border but leaves the full width of the iPad screen completely visible. A further piece of padded leather-style material covers the front and back to provide protection for the whole unit. Effectively, it's the padded equivalent of a dust jacket on hardback book - providing protection to the iPad inside it whilst still looking good.
The clever design also means that the whole thing can be folded over and tucked in so that it forms a mini stand, allowing you to place the iPad in front of you so that it is raised, rather than lying flat on a surface. Whilst this is easy to set up, in practice I have found that it's not quite as good as it sounds. The surface you place it on needs to be very firm and level, otherwise it can lean at an odd angle or be a little wobbly. Personally, I find it easier to type when the iPad is lying flat anyway, so rarely use this feature.
The front cover has a magnetic clasp which helps to keep the whole thing shut and there is even a clever little device which triggers the iPad's sleep mode when the case is shut - handy if you want to preserve the battery but not power your iPad down completely.
The material used is surprisingly strong and durable, slightly padded to provide a little bit of extra protection. I can comment on the effectiveness of this since I've already dropped my iPad a couple of times (don't tell Mrs SWSt!) and it has suffered no ill effects. I guess over time, the case will start to become a little tatty and scuffed as a result of being dropped and slung into a bag but it's probably better for this to happen to an £11 case than a £400 piece of equipment!
One thing that did surprise me (and is a bit of a disadvantage) was how much the case actually weighs with the iPad inside it. Although the case doesn't increase the overall size of the iPad that much, it does significantly add to the weight. Having said that, it's still no heavier than carrying around a hardback book, so you're not going to have to take up weightlifting or anything!
I have experienced a couple of other slight issues. Although the case is designed to make sure that the various ports and buttons are accessible, the snug design of the case means that this is not always successful. Since the case is slightly bigger than the iPad (effectively creating a "lip" all the way around it) I do occasionally find it a little troublesome accessing the power button or finding the volume controls quickly. Similarly, when charging the iPad, it's all too easy to think that you have fitted the cable successfully, only to later find that you have actually inserted it in the small gap between the bottom of the iPad and the case, not into the device itself.
The case comes with a cleaning cloth and two plastic adhesive screen covers to protect the screen from dust and greasy fingers. This was actually the trickiest part of the case to fit (hence why this operation was handed over to Mrs SWSt!) First of all, it's essential to clean the screen thoroughly before you try and fit the screen cover. If there are any specks of dust or other marks on the screen, these will appear as unsightly blotches on the screen. Even with careful cleaning, it's almost impossible to remove every single trace of dust or grease so unfortunately, your iPad screen does end up looking like it has measles. Fortunately, this is only really obvious when the iPad is switched off (or when working with apps that use light coloured backgrounds). Most of the time it's not as much of an issue as we first feared.
The second issue is that the adhesive on the screen protector is really strong stuff and it's crucial to make sure it is in the right position before you stick it down. If you don't, you could well find that the protector is stuck to the screen at all the wrong angles, giving you no choice but to forcibly rip it off and start again with the spare one. Get it right, though, and this super-stickiness is a good thing, as you can fix it and then forget about it, confident in the knowledge that it's not about to come peeling off.
The best thing of all about the case is the price: it can be bought from Amazon for just £11. It looks good, works well and protects my shiny new iPad from the all the monkey related hazards it might encounter, such as falling out of trees or getting hit by flying bananas. Suitable for the iPad 2 or 3, it is particularly good value for money when you consider that equivalent cases by higher profile manufacturers cost around three times as much.
© Copyright SWSt 2012