The Griffin AirStrap ($30) is another iPad 2 case that’s designed to help you maintain a secure grip on your precious tablet while you’re using it. It features a molded frame with contoured grips on each side, which are structured to protect the edges of your device.
On the back, there’s a neoprene safety strap under which you slip your hand to ensure you have a good grip on your iPad while you’re using. As you’d expect, the AirStrap also provides access to your device’s dock connector, speaker, headphone jack, volume rocker and mute switch, microphone, and the sleep/wake button.
As a case alone, the AirStrap is pretty darn neat. It’s not too bulky, yet it’s designed in such a way that it has plenty of protection for each corner, and for the back of your device. The moulded frame is incredibly robust, and there’s no chance the material is going to damage or tear.
The lip of the case that surrounds your iPad’s display is minimal, and it doesn’t intrude the front of your device too much. That may sound like a minor point to you, but this is a pet hate for me: if that lip around the edge of the device protrudes too far onto the front of the device, or if it’s too fat, it gets to me.
As you’d expect from a Griffin product, the AirStrap is incredibly well built. I’ve given that neoprene strap a good tugging over the past few weeks, and I had no concerns that it would tear.
The neoprene strap isn’t very comfortable at all. It’s incredibly tight, and although it does stretch a little over time, it’ll continue to be uncomfortable if your hands are any bigger than a toddler’s. It’s bearable for short periods of time, but using the strap extensively is out of the question. After a while your finger tips begin to go cold because they’re just not getting enough blood.
Because the strap remains in one position, it’s difficult to use your iPad in landscape mode. While its okay to use in portrait if you get the angle of your hand just right, landscape makes the case even more uncomfortable to use. I previously reviewed the HandStand case for iPad 2, and although this was big and bulky, the rotating strap on the rear allowed you to easily turn the device between to any orientation.
My final niggle is that the AirStrap doesn’t provide any protection to your device’s display, and it doesn’t accommodate your Smart Cover. This one isn’t necessarily a big issue, because a lot of cases don’t provide protection to the front of the device, and we choose to buy them that way. Also, if the AirStrap did accommodate the Smart Cover, it would have to leave one edge of your device exposed, which would likely be the edge that it falls on when you drop it.
I like the Griffin AirStrap… as a simple case. If you simply want to protect the back of your device with a sturdy, protective, and well-made case, the AirStrap is ideal. But if you want a case for the sole purpose of using a hand strap, the AirStrap will just frustrate you.
[xrr rating = 60%]