Made from durable thermoplastic polyurethane, the Ballistic Smooth Series case for iPad mini aims to provide even the clumsiest of owners with all the protection they’ll need for their beloved tablet. And it does so without adding too much bulk.
Works With: iPad mini
“Your new iPad mini is a sleek and sexy piece of technology, we want to make sure you can keep it that way,” Ballistic says. “We developed the Ballistic Smooth Series case for the iPad mini. This case offers the best of both worlds, it is slim but still offers a lot of protection from the hazards of daily use.”
The Smooth Series comes in four colors — black, hot pink, charcoal, and purple — all of which include four sets of replaceable corner bumpers in a variety of different colors, so you can customize its look to suit you. It’s priced at $39.99, so let’s find out whether it’s worth it.
Ballistic clearly made protection a priority with the Smooth Series case, and that shows. It has thick edges and corners that’ll prevent your iPad mini from getting damaged when you drop it, and there’s a generous lip around the front edge that’ll protect its display.
These things add bulk, but not too much; Ballistic has found a good balance. While there’s plenty of material here to absorb impact from even the nastiest of falls, it’s nowhere near as big or as heavy as some protective cases.
The Smooth Series leaves you headphone jack, Lightning port, cameras, and speakers exposed for easy access, but it covers your sleep/wake and volume buttons. Although the case is thick and sturdy, those buttons are surprisingly easy to press, and you won’t need to apply any more force than you would to naked buttons.
There’s plenty of room for your iPad mini’s mute switch, so you can get your index finger or thumb in to flick it back and forth quite easily. Ballistic has also left a lot of room around the Lightning port, which means you can use thicker, third-party Lightning cables without any problems.
The Smooth Series feels nice in the hand. It’s smooth, as its name suggests, while the grooves in its back add grip. I also found the thick corners comfortable to hold while gaming — far more comfortable than a naked iPad, which can cut into your hands after long periods.
The Smooth Series’ design isn’t the prettiest, and although it attempts to preserve the iPad mini’s sleek and sexy form factor, its thick plastic and bulky corners prevent that. Unfortunately, this is a sacrifice you make with protection-focused cases — they’re always going to be a little bigger than basic gel or snap-on cases.
With that said, it’s up to you to decide whether looks or impact protection are most important to you. But as I mentioned above, the Smooth Series is one of thinner and prettier protective cases you’ll find.
The other downside with the Smooth Series is that it does not accommodate Apple’s Smart Cover. It does protect your display somewhat, but it’s always nice when you can use cases like this in conjunction with the Smart Cover.
If you’re not very good at holding onto your iPad mini and you need a good case that’s going to protect it from all the drops, then the Smooth Series from Ballistic is certainly worth checking out.
Its thick corners will provide better protection than basic iPad mini cases, and it’s not as big or as ugly as other cases of its kind.
Product Name: Smooth Series
The Good: Offers good protection without adding too much bulk.
The Bad: Not compatible with Smart Cover.
The Verdict: Great for those who want a protective case that isn’t too big and bulky.
Buy from: Ballistic