Review: Kensington’s SecureBack Security Case for iPad

If you’ve been to any type of trade show lately, you’ve probably noticed that the iPad has
quickly become the budget-minded exhibitor’s best friend when it comes to providing a (relatively) low cost, eye-catching and somewhat interactive kiosk. And odds are if you’re anything like me, you’ve also looked at the those iPads sitting somewhat unmonitored on the tabletop edge, ignored by a distracted exhibitor, and wondered if you could make it to the door with one of them without being captured. (Oh come on. Like I’M the only horrible person here…)

Well, if you’re looking to be on the OTHER side of the exhibitor table from folks like me, you’re going to want to invest in some sort of secure, locking iPad case with a security cable, similar to those that Apple uses in its stores. The Kensington SecureBack Security Case with Clicksafe Lock for iPad 2 ($50.93 Amazon) is an affordable and effective way to display your iPad without worrying TOO much about it walking away.

The case consists of two plastic halves that fit EXTREMELY snugly on either edge of the iPad (seriously, it’s so tight you sort of have to wiggle them on). These two sections are held together by a third piece, a gray slat, which you slide between them and which joins them together (see video below). When this piece is inserted, the “female” end of a locking mechanism pokes through the top of the case. When you connect the male end of the included security lock/cable, the case becomes completely unremovable (well, short of a hammer or hack saw or the like).

Securing the case to a heavy stationary object is relatively simple. The far end of the cable has a built-in loop which you can thread the other end of the cable through (BEFORE attaching the lock to the iPad case of course), in the process looping it around a table support or bar – anything that the cable cannot simply be slipped off of (for example, a table LEG would be a bad idea, as a thief could simply lift the table up a bit and pull the unhook the cable.

Design

Kensington’s SecureBack Security Case for iPad is made of a fairly light and thin-feeling plastic, but when the case is secured around your iPad, it feels quite sturdy. The only questionable build-quality issue we ran into was that the built-in kick stand feels a bit flimsy, so if you intend to let strangers pick up and put down your iPad repeatedly, there’s a chance you could run into a problem there.

The case itself, while certainly taking a LOT away from the iPad’s sleek design, is actually not TOO unwieldy when not connected to the cable, so if you did not feel like taking the case off every time you went home, you could conceivably leave it on and use it as you normally would, although the bulge at the top for the lock could become awkward depending on the app you’re using.

While the smooth plastic of the case feels pleasing int he hands, we DID run into a bit of an issue with “slippage” (see ISSUES below) caused by the smooth texture of the case. The cable is about 5 feet long, which is probably long enough for most people’s needs, and feels like a thin version of a bike lock cable, although not quite as flexible.

The lock itself is quite heavy and feels well-made, as does the security cable. While the case MAY be able to be thwarted by a determined thief who came prepared with bolt cutters or something, it certainly seems within reason to think this case will keep your iPad from walking away in a busy office or trade show environment.

Issues

In general the SecureBack case seems like an ideal solution for displaying an iPad in a location where you do not necessarily trust those around you, however there are some things to look out for when using it. First, you need to plan out what you will be attaching it to. It should be something sturdy, or at least something that cannot be thwarted simply by someone sliding the cable off. An ideal table would be one like those found in the Apple store or at many offices where there is a hole drilled in the center of the table that the cable can wind through, and then loop around a connected bar underneath. While not a GREAT table to lug to a trade show, something like our patio table (pictured) with the umbrella hole in the center would be ideal, as there is a horizontal support bar underneath for the cable to be attached to.

The center hole is a great idea for another reason. When we fastened the cable and had it come around over the side edge of the table as opposed to through a hole, we found it was very easy to imagine someone snagging themselves on the cable and pulling it to the ground. And this brings us to one of the bigger design issues we found with the case, namely that it really needs to have SOME sort of gripable rubber along the edges of the case to help keep the iPad from sliding across a smooth surface. When the case is displayed in the upright position, using the built-in kickstand, we found the weight of the cable itself could actually pull it towards the edge sometimes. I would imagine a careless person could easily place it too close to an edge and have it slide off if they were not careful. Rubber around the edges would also help aid the case in protecting the iPad if it SHOULD fall from a table, as right now the case would not really get much cushioning.

Conclusion

Kensington’s SecureBack Security Case for iPad is a great solution for protecting your iPad from being stolen in situations where you may be away from your desk for small periods of time. It can also be used to help add some peace of mind when using the iPad as a display device at a trade show or such, so long as you keep our caveats above in mind. Proper cable placement is a must, and a little rubber padding would have made this an easier recommendation, but the price is great and the build quality instills confidence in the security provided.

Price: $50.93 (Amazon)
Pros: Light weight, nice design, should provide decent theft protection under most situations, affordable
Cons: Kick stand is a bit flimsy-feeling, cord can pull iPad toward a table edge, no rubber drop protection or anti-skid material

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