Kubxlab’s iPad AmpJacket, The Essential Utility Case For Your iPad Mini [Review]


AmpJacket by Kubxlab
Category: Cases, speakers
Works With: iPad mini
Price: $39

Remember the AmpJacket for the iPhone? It’s an awesome little rubbery case which uses passive horn-speaker tech to amplify the iPhone’s already-capable speaker, making it louder and clearer.

The AmpJacket for iPad mini is the same thing, only bigger and designed for the iPad’s stereo speakers. It’s also great, but for different reasons.

What It Is

The AmpJacket is a stiff rubber rear case which clips onto the back of the mini, offering protection to its edges whilst adding a big air-stretching speaker to the back. Its sculpted soft-shell TPU shape also makes the iPad easier to grip, and a cutout on the left edge lets you fit a Smart Cover.

The Good

<a href=”https://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/IMG2036-1.jpg”>IMG_2036-1 The sound channel, seen from the side.

The AmpJacket does what it says it does, boosting the volume of the iPad mini to make it loud enough for movie watching, and even for sparsely-attended outdoor parties (parties where nobody gets rowdy or raises their voice are best). The difference is actually quite amazing: While cranking music on my mini is fairly likely to annoy The Lady while she works, cranking the same music on with the AmpJacket fitted is almost certain to bring her running from the office and telling me to turn it down my sister’s still sleeping my GOD why don’t you think about someone else for a change. Etc.

The Case also makes it easy to hold the iPad. In two-handed landscape “steering-wheel” mode it’s super comfortable, but it’s in one-handed use that it really shines: The ridges on the back give ample purchase to fingers big or small. In fact, so good are the multiple grip positions that if you were considering a standalone iPad gripping accessory then you should probably put this at the top of your list.

<a href=”https://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/IMG2037-1.jpg”>IMG_2037-1 Face down? No worries.

Finally, protection. The mini is pretty tough as it is. Mine has dived off the fridge onto a tiled floor at least once, and been banged and dinged countless other times (I shall conveniently forget about these accidents when I come to sell it, though…), and is in great shape apart from a few dents and scratches to the bodywork. The AmpJacket is generously padded at the corners, and has a small lip that lets you place it face-down without the screen touching anything, which is probably as much protection as you’ll need.

Finally, the case holds the iPad up off a table’s surface, providing some protection in the case of watery spills.

The Bad

<a href=”https://cdn.cultofmac.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/IMG2038-1.jpg”>IMG_2038-1 From the front, you’d hardly know it was there.

Although the AmpJacket works with the Smart Cover, it’s not a very good partnership. The shape of the case means that the Smart Cover no longer works as a good stand (it’ll prop the iPad up, but the angle is worryingly steep), and also gets in the way however you try to fold the cover around the back when open.

The best thing to do is just pull the cover off when you’re using the case, and put it back on again when you’re done. Technically the Smart Cover will slip into a slot on the back of the case but I found it kept falling out.

The AmpJacket is also a little bulky if you’re used to just slipping the mini into a purse or a pocket, but that’s unavoidable thanks to the need for a chamber to amplify the speaker.

That’s about it for bad points.

The Verdict

I’d say that Kubxlab’s big AmpJacket is totally worth the $40 asking price. It can replace a speaker in many instances (movies, some music, podcasts and audiobooks are perfectly fine), and also works as a great round-the-house protective skin. Add to this the surprising extra feature of one-handed grabbiness and you have a great all-round accessory. It even works with my beloved PadPivot iPad stand.

ipad-mini-landscape-back-white-grey_1024x1024Product Name: AmpJacket

The Good: Really makes a difference to the sound level; protects; makes iPad way easier to grip.

The Bad: Hates the Smart Cover

The Verdict The ideal case for the home; a bit bulky for carrying outdoors.

Buy from: Kubxlab