The Week in iPad Cases: Say hello to my iPad mini

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The wait is over! Well, actually, it’s just begun: Apple’s new iPad mini won’t be available for order until next week, and it won’t start shipping until a couple weeks after that. But we’ve already seen lots of new cases and protective accessories for Apple’s smaller tablet. This installment of our iPad-case roundup goes small, and it’s a big one.

Hard Candy's ShockDrop

Hard Candy: The ShockDrop (iPad mini; $50) features ten millimeters of shock-absorbing silicone at the edges to provide superior protection for your mobile device. Its semi-rigid screen protection is designed to take serious abuse so that your glass doesn’t have to, and the rip-proof port and button covers keep dust and dirt out of your device’s openings without having to worry about inadvertently damaging the case when you want to access them. The ShockDrop comes in black/black or black/red.

iGear Unlimited's iPad Mini Portfolio Case

iGear Unlimited: The iPad Mini Portfolio Case (iPad mini; $40) is a well-padded, portfolio-style case made of PU leather. Its magnetic cover keeps the iPad safe during transport and doubles as a stand when flipped over, allowing to prop up your tablet at multiple angles for viewing and typing in landscape orientation.

i-Luv's Snoopy Folio

i-Luv: The CEO Folio (iPad mini; $65) is designed for professionals on the go. In addition to protecting your iPad mini from the vagaries of everyday life, it includes a built-in viewing stand, room for a pen or stylus, and a generous supply of pockets and slots for paper and plastic cards.

The Snoopy Folio (iPad mini; $55) features your favourite beagle from one of the best-known comic strips of all time. Delusional canines aside, it’s also a portfolio-style case that features multiple viewing angles and access to all ports, buttons, and cameras. If you like portfolios but prefer a more serious look, the Epicarp (iPad mini; 40) may be for you. It features a foldable cover and is available in black, green, pink, or grey.

i-Luv’s iPad mini line is rounded out by the Beligique (iPad mini; $30), which comes with extra padding and a special three-dimensional design. It’s available in black, pink, red, or aqua, and—for all you multi-tablet owners out there—will also fit a Kindle Fire.

Otterbox's Defender Series

Otterbox: The Defender Series (iPad mini; $70) brings Otterbox’s popular serious-protection solution to Apple’s new tablet. Like the version for the full-size iPad, the iPad mini Defender features a polycarbonate inner shell with a built-in screen protector, along with an outer shield that provides added grip and can be used as a stand for viewing or typing. The case comes in black.

Padacs's Rubata Mini

Padacs: The Rubata Mini (iPad mini; $40) is a portfolio-style case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard with 59 keys, including special ones designed to allow you direct access to your iPad mini’s volume, brightness, and search. The case also includes a handy built-in stand that you can use for propping up your tablet in landscape orientation. The Rubata comes in black and includes a convenient strap that keeps everything safe and closed during transport.

Scosche's Folio M1

Scosche: The Folio M1 (iPad mini; $45) is a carbon fiber-style case whose ultra low profile ensures maximum protection with the addition of minimum bulk. Its focus is on simplicity: It simply snaps on to your iPad and provides protection with only two moving parts; special groves built into its interior allow you to prop up your device for viewing in landscape orientation at multiple angles. The Folio M1 is available in black or white.

STM's Grip

STM: The Skinny (iPad mini; price unavailable) is a portfolio-style case that combines a hardshell back with a foldable cover that’s compatible with the iPad mini’s magnetic sleep/wake feature and also doubles as a viewing or typing stand. The Skinny comes in red, blue, black, or pink. If you prefer a textured surface, the Grip (iPad mini; price unavailable) features similar construction, but offers a better grip thanks to its contoured surfaces. The Grip comes in black, blue, orange, and burgundy.

X-Doria's SleeveStand

X-Doria: The SmartStyle (iPad mini; $40) is a portfolio-style cover that can be used to prop up your iPad mini for viewing at various angles in landscape orientation. It features one of several subtle 3-D patterns that, in addition to adding a splash of color, make maintaining a grip on your case easier. The case’s cover is also compatible with the iPad mini’s magnetic sleep/wake feature.

Similar to the SmartStyle, the Dash Folio (iPad mini; $40) features a leather-like material available in black or brown, and a full-body enclosure that safely protects your tablet, edge-to-edge.

If you prefer a case that gets out of the way when you’re using your iPad mini, look no further than the SleeveStand (iPad mini; $30). In addition to an padded construction, this case features a zippered closure and an extra pocket for carrying your accessories. When not in use as a carrying case, it doubles as a convenient viewing stand. It comes in aqua/grey, pink/grey, black/blue, or red/black.

The SmartJacket (iPad mini; $35) is somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s own Smart Cover, and, like it, features a foldable front cover that can be used as a stand for typing or view in landscape orientation. Unlike its Cupertino-made counterpart, however, the SmartJacket also comes with a snap-on back shell that protects the back of your iPad mini. The case comes in transparent, black, aqua, or pink.

Finally, the Engage (iPad mini; $20) is as simple as covers can get: a thin, transparent-polycarbonate shell that fits the back of your tablet like a glove, protecting it from scratches and dents. The Engage is designed to coexist with Apple’s Smart Cover for the iPad mini.

Zagg's Merge

Zagg: The Breeze (iPad mini; $30) is a simple but cute snap-on back cover that features a perforated construction that helps your iPad mini dissipate heat and improves your grip on the device. The Breeze comes in blue, pink, or black.

The Merge (iPad mini; $50) is a portfolio-style case whose front cover can be flipped around and folded to provide a viewing or typing stand in landscape orientation. The Merge comes in a scuffed-leather finish and is available in black.

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At a Glance
  • Don't confuse the "mini" in "iPad mini" with "lite"--with the exception of a Retina display, this slimmed down iPad gives you the full iPad experience, including access to over 275,000 iPad-optimized apps, in a device that's about half the overall size and weight of the standard iPad. Retina-display purists will (justifiably) balk at the 1024-by-768-pixel screen, but I suspect that most people will be wowed enough by the iPad mini's other features, performance, design, and build quality to accept the screen for what it is--very good, but not Retina.


    • Most of the full-size-iPad experience in a smaller, lighter package
    • All existing iPad apps run natively
    • Wireless capabilities and cameras on par with fourth-generation iPad
    • Very good performance
    • Incredibly solid construction and beautiful design


    • No Retina display
    • Some apps and websites feel a little cramped on the smaller screen
    • Landscape keyboard is too small for easy touch-typing
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