capsule review

Incase's Origami Sleeve is an attractive iPad case that folds into a stand

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At a Glance
  • Incase Origami Sleeve for iPad

Incase's $35 Origami Sleeve for iPad references the craft of origami as a term of art. Unlike genuine Origami though, there's nothing deep or complex about the folds of this combination iPad case and stand—but that's a good thing.

The sleeve itself fits both the original iPad and the iPad 2 and is is available in two colors: black and fuchsia. (I'm not into pink as a color, but this variation of a deep rose is unusually pleasing and a nice alternative to the obligatory black.) The outside is composed of water-resistant neoprene, while the inside is covered in a soft, faux-fur lining that protects the iPad while wiping dust—but not fingerprints and smudges—from its surfaces as you put it in and take it out.

Measuring 10.6 by 8.8 inches, and about half an inch thick, the sleeve's fit is snug—almost too tight, especially for the thicker original iPad—when you first try to wedge your iPad inside. The neoprene loosens up somewhat after repeated use, however, and I grew to like it better after using it for awhile. (The Origami Sleeve won't accommodate an iPad 2 with Apple's Smart Cover, but you likely won't need the Smart Cover if you're using the Origami.) Unlike most sleeves, which have an opening at one end, and perhaps a flap over that opening, the Origami Sleeve is closed on all edges but features a slit about an inch and a half from one end. You slide the iPad into this slit, and then the rest of the sleeve pulls over the end of the iPad, sort of like a hood. This design means the sleeve doesn't completely seal closed, like some cases—the slit is always there—but it also means the sleeve doesn't need a zipper or Velcro fastener to keep your iPad securely inside. The design also makes it easy to charge and sync your iPad, as you just flip the "hood" off of the end of the iPad and connect Apple's dock-connector cable.

But the Origami is more than a protective sleeve: It also doubles as a viewing stand, and that's where the folding-paper concept comes in. There are two small, plastic tabs along one edge of the sleeve. First you place this edge down (against your desk or table), and then fold out the tabs to form a lip that holds your iPad in either portrait or landscape orientation. Then you fold back the two top corners, which latch together—using a built-in elastic strap and a small plastic nub—to form a triangular base.

It's all rather ingenious, but how well does it work? While I'd prefer to have a more-flexible stand that gives me different viewing angles, if I find myself out without a stand, the Origami is a much better and safer alternative than setting your iPad down on a rough surface, and it gives you a nice, angled presentation. That said, the stand works best on a table or other hard surface—it's not very stable on your lap—and the bottom is, of course, constructed from the neoprene sleeve itself, so it's not solidly flat. The elastic-latch mechanism feels durable, but it's hard to tell how long it will last. If it breaks, that wil obviously negate some of the Origami's appeal.

Assuming you place it on a solid surface, the stand is actually steadier then some of the dedicated stands I've seen, but it's not very flexible, with only a roughly 30-degree-angle. This angle is fine for tapping and swiping, web surfing, and reading email, but it's a bit low for presentations or watching movies.

The Origami Sleeve is an attractive and functional carrier for your iPad that can double as a stand if you need it. It's just the right size and works with both iPad models, and its light weight makes it ideal for toting your iPad just about anywhere. Whether around the house, or tucked into my backpack, my iPad was safe and secure.

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At a Glance
  • InCase's Origami iPad Sleeve is an attractive and functional carrier for your iPad that doubles as a stand. It works with both iPad models, and its light weight makes it ideal for toting your iPad just about anywhere.

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