I’m a huge fan of Speck’s extensive range of accessories that compliment Apple’s iOS devices. I’ve had a number of Speck cases since the original iPhone, in addition to products for my MacBooks and iPads, and one thing that’s consistently good about these things is their build quality and design. They all fit well, do the job they were intended to do, and cope with whatever you throw at them.
I was delighted, then, to get my hands on the new Speck CandyShell Wrap ($55) for the iPad 2.
The CandyShell Wrap is a seamless hard shall case with a soft, rubberized interior that is designed to offer shock absorption and protection. As you’d expect, the front cover folds back and locks into place to create a stand for typing, or for watching movies — just like Apple’s Smart Cover. However, there are a number of things that make the CandyShell Wrap unique.
Firstly, just like Griffin’s IntelliCase announced earlier this week, one thing that instantly makes this case better than the Smart Cover is that it protects the back of your iPad — and for me, that’s a must. And it’s some pretty substantial protection, too. Thanks to its rubberized interior and button covers, this case will take a good old beating before it allows your precious iPad to concede any damage.
One of my favorite things about the CandyShell Wrap is its ‘flip-back panel’ on the rear of the case that allows you to slip your iPad into its dock without having to remove it from the case first. This is a big problem with the majority of third-party cases that prevent you from using your dock and keyboard.
When you slip your iPad into its dock, however, you don’t want the CandyShell Wrap’s front cover to get in your way. Thankfully, Speck considered that, too: The front cover of this case can be easy removed simply by sliding it out at the side.
The front cover folds over and locks into place allowing you to securely elevate or stand your device for typing or watching movies — a feature I think every iPad case should boast.
Lastly, this case looks really good. Just like most of Speck’s products, it’s been designed to look good when slapped on your Apple gadget. Its shiny black plastic looks smart, stylish and sophisticated, and right at home on your iPad.
In order for any case to be super protective and so shock absorbent, it has to be pretty bulky — and the CandyShell Wrap is just that. While it may have the looks, it’s not quite as slim as I like my iPad cases to be. It doubles the thickness of your device and adds a small amount of weight. Certainly not enough to be an issue if you’re carrying this device around in your bag, but if you have it in your hands all day, you’ll notice it.
One other problem for me was that the front cover on this case doesn’t feature magnets. That means it won’t cling to your iPad when it’s not in use, and it won’t automatically wake your device or put it to sleep when you open and close it. This is by no means a big issue, because instead, this case has its own unique fastening strip keeps the front cover closed when not in use.
Apart from its size, its only other issue is that the shiny black plastic on this case scratches incredibly easily. After just two days of having it on my iPad, I noticed that the back of the case especially had quite a good number of scratches. They were only minor, and they’re not easily noticeable at a glance, but it’s certainly something you should be aware of.
Though I may moan about the CandyShell Wrap’s bulky body, if it wasn’t this thick it wouldn’t be this protective, so you have to consider what’s most important to you. This is a common problem with the majority of iPhone and iPad cases: you either go for a slim, lightweight form factor and sacrifice that extra protection, or you go for extra protection and sacrifice a slim, lightweight form factor. It’s all about what’s most important to you.
Having said that, just because this case is bulky, doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good. If you want to ensure your iPad 2 is protected — extensively — the CandyShell Wrap will keep your tablet free from bumps, scraps and scratches without cramping your style.
[xrr rating = 80%]