The Week in iPad Cases: All about the mini

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The iPad mini is front and center in this week’s roundup of protective accessories for Apple’s tablets. And why not? The new form factor gives manufacturers something different to sink their teeth into, and they've come up with exciting new design ideas that will, no doubt, eventually expand to fit the mini’s larger cousins.

Ballistic's Smooth Series

Ballistic: The Smooth Series (iPad mini; $40) is a slim snap-on shell case made of durable TPU material that offers excellent protection while adding minimal bulk. It features a stay-flat construction that protects the iPad mini’s screen by raising from its resting surface, and comes with four interchangeable “ballistic corner” bumpers. It’s available in black, purple, pink, or charcoal grey.

BoxWave's Swivel Stand

BoxWave: The Swivel Stand (iPad mini; $30) is a jack-of-all trades. As a case, it keeps your iPad mini safe from bumps and scratches, covering it in its entirety during transport. Once you open it, though, the back swivels around, allowing you to prop your tablet up in both landscape and portrait orientation, while the grooves built into its interior cover support multiple viewing angles.

Cygnett's Workmate

Cygnett: The Workmate (iPad mini; $40) was designed to provide heavy duty protection against bumps and drops. The dual-material case helps absorb shocks without adding any significant bulk to your tablet, and is a perfect companion for both work and play. The case features all the appropriate openings for cameras and ports, and comes in slate grey or red.

Griffin Technology's Survivor

Griffin Technology: The Survivor (iPad mini; $60) is, in the company’s words, “the most protective case” they’ve ever built. It’s based on a rigid, shatter-resistant polycarbonate frame clad in shock-absorbing silicone rubber, providing end-to-end protection from falls and bumps. A built-in screen protector keeps the front of your tablet safe as well, and is sealed to prevent dust and humidity from wreaking havoc on your device. The case, which is available in black, yellow, or blue, also features a kickstand for viewing or typing in landscape orientation.

Grove's Wool Sleeve

Grove: The Wool Sleeve (iPad mini; $60) is made of premium thick wool felt imported from Germany and also sports Grove’s trademark bamboo veneer, which is stitched right into the cloth, which provides the case with heft and rigidity. The sleeve fits your iPad like a glove, protecting it from the vagaries of everyday life in a cocoon made from rich and luxurious all-natural materials. Like all of Grove’s products, it is handmade on demand, and takes between five and seven weeks to arrive.

Macally's Leather Case & Stand

Macally: The Leather Case & Stand (iPad mini; $50) incorporates a rigid shell case and a foldable cover into a single folio-style case that can be used to prop up your tablet for viewing and typing in landscape orientation. The case is made from premium leather, with a soft interior that protects your screen while not in use. A convenient strap, available in black, blue, or pink, holds everything close during transport.

Mujjo's iPad mini Sleeve

Mujjo: The iPad mini Sleeve (iPad mini; $57) is handcrafted from fine leather and German wool felt to provide a luxurious carrying case for your iPad mini. A leather strap, held in place with two rivets, keeps the sleeve closed during transport, and the soft wool felt helps protect your tablet from bumps and scratches. The Sleeve is available in black, with brown or white leather accents.

SwitchEasy's CoverBuddy

SwitchEasy: The company’s popular CoverBuddy (iPad mini; $20) has been updated to support Apple’s most recent tablet offering. It’s a shockproof back cover made of tough polycarbonate, with press through overlays for the iPad’s buttons and a special slot for compatibility with Apple’s Smart Cover. It comes in black or clear, with the latter also sporting a special UV- and scratch-resistant coating that helps prolong its life.

UNIEA's Colorama

UNIEA: The Colorama (iPad mini; $40) is a folio-style case made from fine PU leather, with a soft inner microber lining that keeps your screen safe and clean. It features a holding loop for a stylus and a front cover that folds to provide support for propping up your tablet for typing or viewing in landscape orientation. The case comes in orange, white, pink, green, or 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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