Cardboard iPad Case Is Way Better Than You Might Expect [Review]

Cardboard iPad Case Is Way Better Than You Might Expect [Review]

It makes a pretty good picture frame, too.

iPad Case by Guided Products
Category: Cases
Works With: iPad 2G and newer
Price: $7ish

Remember that $7 cardboard iPad case I wrote about a few weeks back? I have two here in my apartment, and I have been testing them out for the last week. The review follows, but here’s the short form: They’re surprisingly good; they’re excellent insulators; they’re good for making shopping lists.

What It Is

It’s a cardboard case, and it comes pre-assembled in natural cardboard brown or fancy white. The case comes pre-assembled (that is, it’s glued along two edges after being folded into shape) which means that it takes up more room than it should when shipping.

The case, from Guided Products, also has a couple of velcro dots to keep it closed, and there are cutouts for everything, including the front-facing FaceTime camera. The case works like Apple’s original iPad 1 case, with the tablet sliding in fro the left, and a flap tucks in keep it in place.

In short, it’s every bit as full-featured as a “normal” case, only it’s made of cardboard.

The Good

Cardboard iPad Case Is Way Better Than You Might Expect [Review]

This flap turns the case into a stand for movie-watching or typing.

It’s cheap. That might be the biggest selling point for some people, but in the end it might be cheaper to get a $30 plastic case. The reason is that cardboard wears out, and if you get it wet you’re almost done for.

You’ll get a few hard drops out of this case before the iPad inside even feels it.

Given the inherent limitations, though, the case is surprisingly robust. The cardboard is of the corrugated kind found in grocery store boxes (only thinner), and so it has a built-in air cushion in every sheet. Add to this the fact that the oversized corners will crumple on impact and you will get a few hard drops out of this case before the iPad inside even feels it. I wrote about a cardboard bike helmet a couple of years ago which is now in production, and if it’s good enough for my melon, then it’s good enough for my iPad.

The cardboard is also light. Extremely light in fact. Add to this the velcro fasteners and you have just about the perfect case to carry your iPad inside another bag.

I also like the built-in stand, which works by creasing the front cover and tucking its edge into a flap on the back. It’s simple but works surprisingly well. I’m also a fan of the cardboard itself, which makes it easy to scrawl pictures and notes onto the surface.

The case is great for modding, too. You can stick stickers, run gaffer tape slog the edges to make it last longer, or even glue or tape a magnet onto the from to trigger the iPad’s sleep/wake function. In fact, I fully expect this case to become a fixture at trade shows, a great giveaway when printed up with company logos.

The Bad

It’s cardboard. This means it gets soggy when wet, and expands when it dries out again. It is susceptible to cuts and scratches, and it is a great insulator. What?

Yes, it insulates. If you watch movies with the iPad 3 (easy to do with the sturdy built-in stand) then you’ll notice that the iPad gets pretty hot. That’s because of the pockets of air inside the cardboard sheets, which stop that heat from dissipating.

You’ll notice that the iPad gets pretty hot

The case is also a little loose, letting the iPad rattle around slightly. In practice this is no big deal as the case will get deformed after a few weeks (or days, deepening on how hard you treat it) and conform better to the iPad’s curves.

Other than that, though, there’s not much to complain about.

The Conclusion

Cardboard iPad Case Is Way Better Than You Might Expect [Review]

Still life with stand and cow-skin rug.

This case makes a great novelty gift, and is perfect if you’re the kind of sap who likes to carry his kids’ inept drawing with him everywhere. But it is also a surprisingly capable case. If you keep it away from its Kryptonite (water), then it should actually last a good long time (note: you should be keeping your iPad away from water anyway).

And finally, when you’re done you can just toss it in with the recycling. I’d recommend this case if you know what you’re getting yourself into. I just wish there was a version for the mini (although I could probably just make one). One thing to note: These come in packs of three, currently on offer for $17. That’s still cheap, and you’ll have spares.

Cardboard iPad Case Is Way Better Than You Might Expect [Review]

Product Name: : iPad Case

The Good: Light, sturdy, cool-looking, a great disguise.

The Bad: Water=Kryptonite. Insulates the iPad within a little too well.

The Verdict Actually pretty great… For a cardboard box.

Buy from: Apple Pie

Cult of Mac rating: Good

  • brantwilliams

    Thanks for the honest review Charlie! We’ll take a look at some of the comments to see if we can improve for the next rev, and the soon to be released case for the Mini. Cheers, Brant from @applepie_usa

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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