Cult Of Mac’s Awesome 2012 Advent Calendar: Day 19 – The Speck PixelSkin HD

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One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.

This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.

Day 19 is here, and along with it, one of our favorite iPhone cases: the Speck PixelSkin HD.

The Speck CandyShell Case For iPhone 5 Is Pretty And Protective [Review]

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The Speck CandyShell is a dual-layer case with a patented design that aims to give you all-around protection for your iPhone 5. It combines a soft, rubber interior with a hard outer shell that offers plenty of impact resistance for those unfortunate yet inevitable drops.

The CandyShell also provides protection for your volume keys and sleep/wake button, while providing access to your headphone jack, Lightning connector, mute switch, and camera.

It costs $34.95 and comes in a plethora of color combinations, including black and slate, white and charcoal, raspberry and black, grape and malachite, and many more.

Speck’s PixelSkin HD For iPhone 5: Quite Possibly The Best TPU Case There Is [Review]

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Look at all those
Look at all those "pixels."

The Speck PixelSkin HD is a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) case that’s designed to give you “slim and smooth” protection for your iPhone 5, while offering “grippyness [sic] with high-contrast matte pixels.”

Its raised bezel aims to keep your iPhone’s display free from scuffs and scratches should you drop it on its face, while the rubberized covers for the volume keys and sleep/wake button prevent fluff and grime from gathering within nooks and crannies.

The PixelSkin HD comes in a variety of colors — including red, purple, blue, black, and grey, and it’s priced at just under $30. The PixelSkin HD was one of my favorite “simple” cases for iPhone 4S, so will it retain that status for the iPhone 5?

The Speck MagFolio Lounge Is An iPad Case That’s Ideal In An Armchair [Review]

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Works wonderfully on your lap.
Works wonderfully on your lap.

The Speck MagFolio Lounge is a slim-fitting iPad case that’s designed for use outside of the office. Its “lap-perfect” design promises to nestle perfectly on your thighs while you reply to your emails or catch up with your favorite shows from the comfort of your living room chair.

Like the rest of Speck’s new iPad cases, the MagFolio Lounge features sleep/wake magnets inside its front cover, and a handy magnetic tab that keeps the case closed when your iPad’s not in use.

This case combines a hard plastic cradle with a soft, “vegan leather” cover to provide you with strong impact protection and a folding stand that boasts two viewing angles. It also offers access to all of your iPad’s ports, buttons, and switches.

The MagFolio Lounge sounds like the perfect case for a couch potato, but is it worth its $50 price tag?

The Speck FabShell Luxe For iPhone 4S Isn’t So Fab [Review]

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Check out my leather bits.

The Speck FabShell Luxe is a form-fitting hard shell for the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S that aims to stand out and be unique with a genuine leather trim that coats the sides and the back of the case.

Its reinforced, one-piece construction promises to be super strong and shock absorbent, protecting your device from scratches, scuffs, and drops. It features rubber buttons for your sleep/wake button and volume rocker, and provides access to your mute switch, headphone jack, camera, and dock connector.

The FabShell Luxe comes in black, “cognac” (tan), burgundy, and “hunter green,” and offers a one-year warranty. But is it worth its $50 price tag?

The PixelSkin HD Wrap: An iPad Case That Ticks All The Right Boxes [Review]

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Pretty.
Pretty.

The PixelSkin HD Wrap ($50) is an iPad (third-generation) case from Speck that promises to be “the perfect iPad folio case for anyone looking for lightweight protection, secure grip and pixelicious style.” It’s made from a flexible TPU that’s impressively robust, and provides full-body protection to your iPad with a number of nifty features.

The Best iPhone Cases & Protectors [Best Of]

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Ideally, we’d all carry our iPhones as God intended — naked. But just as our pink and delicate human bodies need protection from the elements, so does the iPhone. Sometimes all it needs is a skimpy Speedo, other times a full suit of body armor, but you can be sure there’s a case for every occasion. Here’s our roundup of the best iPhone cases out there.

The Best iPad Cases [Best Of]

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best of ipad cases

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

Logitech ipad2 case cover 2

Logitech Zagg Keyboard Case for iPad 2$100

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

Pad and quill contega octavo 5

Pad&Quill Contega$100

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

Padcover

Dicota PadCover$20-$50

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

Rugged 1

G-Form Extreme Portfolio$90

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

Skech 7

Skech Porter$60

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

Speckshell 3

Speck Smart Shell$30

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

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Apple Smart Cover$39

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

Dont panic

Don’t Panic$99

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 1

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.