G-Form is a case manufacturer that’s famous for taking expensive devices and running them over, throwing them off balconies, and dropping bowling balls on top of them. The company is so confident its cases can withstand damage of this magnitude that it’s more than happy to prove it. Its latest trick sees Apple’s latest iPod touch take a 100,000-foot free fall inside the company’s new Xtreme iPhone 5 case. It survives without a scratch.
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I have a plan for trouble. When it rears its ugly head again, I’m grabbing my all-hell-has-broken-loose list, dumping the items on the list into my trusty backpack and hauling ass. I figure there’s still the zombie apocalypse and the Mayan whatsit (which may well be the same thing) to worry about, so I might as well be prepared.
I’ve populated the list with things I would need in a disaster scenario: things like a sleeping bag, first-aid kit and rum. Of course, my iPad is also on the list. Oh, I’ll be taking my phone for sure — but the iPad’s large screen will be invaluable in any disaster situation as a navigation tool, for work (yes, even in a zombie apocalypse, blogs must be updated) or just keeping up with current news; mine’s a wifi+cellular, so I suppose wifi-only versions would be somewhat less useful in that last role.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A disaster zone, Eli, is no place for an iPad.” That’s true only if you don’t have the right gear to accompany it. The following list will show you how to turn your iPad from a liability into an asset when things go very wrong.
It’s August, which means two things. One, there’s no news to report on, which means that most of a gadget blogger’s workday is taken up with siestas and refreshing beverages. And two, it’s vacation time! That’s right: The whole northern hemisphere likes to take a break at exactly the same time, all the better to enjoy congested roads, overpriced plane tickets and overcrowded hotels.
To ease your pain, we’ve put together a list of the best travel gadgets. You may not enjoy spending a hot and stuffy month with your in-laws, but at least your tech won’t let you down.
I’m a big fan of G-Form’s protective iPad cases. I use one on bike tours to keep my iPad safe in a pannier no matter what’s going on outside, and I love the relatively thin form-factor which comes courtesy of its special-sauce material which stiffens and absorbs shock on impact.
I even like the weird, retro-futuristic designs. But for those of you who prefer something a little more understated, there are now two new G-Forms to tempt you: the Reverse Ballistic Edge and the Extreme Hydro Sleeve.
Some say that the iPad is almost unusable without a case. I actually love the feel of using mine bareback, but The Lady literally refuses to pick up an iPad if it isn’t protected in some way (she has a history of dropping the things).
But whatever your view, one thing is certain: a case can add all sorts of functionality to your iPad, or keep it safe in more dangerous situations. Here’s our pick of the best cases out there.
The Best Keyboard Case
Now also available for the iPad 3, the Zagg wins for its compact size, light weight and clever design which allows it to double as a case (complete with sleep/wake magnets). It also has a great-feeling keyboard which is as good as Apple’s own.
The Best Hard Case
The new Sure-Lock bumper system keeps Pad&Quill’s Contega ahead of the competition, and keeps the iPad safely inside the tough baltic birch and leather Moleskine-Style case, while the sleep/wake magnet and clever articulated rear cover (which turns the case into a stand) mean it’s anything but old-fashioned.
The Best Slip Case
Dicota PadCover — Amazon
I have had this slipcase since the iPad 1, and it’s still going strong. The PadCover is made from leather and wool, with a soft lining and handy pull-tab which ejects the iPad from within. If you’re using the iPad 2 or 3, you can fit in a smart cover, too. Discontinued by the manufacturer, but still available to buy in various places.
The Best Rugged Case
The impact-absorbing material of G-Form’s cases is also used to make padding for professional athletes. The Extreme Portfolio will soak up the power of a bowling ball dropped onto its face, and yet remains flexible and comfortable to use. It’s the case we turn to when we really need to protect our iPads.
The Best Folio Case
The Skech Porter offers all the protection of a fat folio case in a slim, great-looking package. A clever crease in the rear panel lets it work as a multi-position stand without adding extra bulk, an elastic handle is surprisingly handy and it packs a full compliment of magnets and camera holes.
The Best Rear Shell
This thin shell adds bulk at the corners where it’s needed, and has cutouts for everything from the camera through the speaker to the Smart Cover that it is designed to compliment. The plastic is smooth but grippy, and the little lozenge-shaped metal panel holds the Smart Cover in place when it is open.
The Best Minimal Case
The original, and in many ways still the best. Apple’s Smart Cover works in concert with the iPads 2 and 3, offering protection and a stand with minimal materials. It set the standard for every iPad case since, and is still the one to buy if you can’t bear to hide your beautiful iPad inside a heavy folio.
The Best Case To Use At Home
Our full review is waiting until we see a newly tweaked version of Thomas Fulton’s felt and leather case, but the Don’t Panic is already my favorite iPad case to use around the home. It’s light, offers some protection, and a clever arrangement of straps and magnets lets you prop it up on your bed, type, wrap it around your thigh, or just about anything you like. I think of it as my iPad’s favorite pair of slippers. It would be great out of the house, too, but the magnet in my prototype likes to zap my credit cards.
The Best Travel Case
Lacambra iPad Case — €115 ($150)
If you’re traveling around the world or to-and-from work, the Lacambra case has your iPad covered. Made to order in Spain from leather, the case zips closed and keeps the iPad safe inside. There’s a cut-out for the volume switch, pockets for business cards and boarding passes, and some extra tabs and straps to make typing or movie-watching easy. Don’t leave home without it.
What better way to test a ruggedized iPad case than an excursion outdoors? And what better way to test a heavy and bulky ruggedized iPad case than on a bike trip, where the extra ounces and inches won’t really be felt?
That’s why, when we headed out this past weekend on a bike tour to the *Delta de L’Ebre* (Ebro Delta) in southern Catalonia, I saddled up, and I zipped the iPad 3 into an a G-Form Extreme Portfolio for the iPad 3. Short answer: It was invaluable, if a little unwieldy. Long answer — read on.
Imagine cruising along in your rocket at 100,000 feet when you open the door to let out a wasp and your iPad falls out into space. It’s a situation we can all relate to. But thanks to the Extreme Edge case from G-Form, you no longer have to worry about your device shattering into a million pieces when it lands back down on Earth. What a relief, right?
The guys over at G-Form go to extreme lengths to show off the impressive capabilities of their gadget cases, like dropping a 12lb. bowling ball on the iPad, and throwing a perfectly good MacBook Pro off of a balcony.
The iPad becomes their victim again in this latest stunt, which is intended to show off the incredible strength of the company’s Extreme Edge and Extreme Portfolio cases, as they’re dropped from 1,300 feet.
Is the G-Form Extreme Sleeve for iPad ($60) really and certifiably resistant to explosive munitions? Dunno. We don’t have access to C4, and our insurance company would probably refuse to cover us if we did. Also, we didn’t run over the Extreme Sleeve with an iPad in it or drop bowling balls on it, because we’re pretty sure these aren’t use-case scenarios most (or any) iPads would encounter.
What we did do, however, is run the little monster through rugged alpine and gritty urban environments, then compared it with other extreme-environment solutions for the iPad. Here’s how it did.