Review: 3 Cygnet iPad mini cases for 3 different users
If there’s one thing Apple’s iPad mini commercials have tought us, it’s that there is no such thing as the “typical” iPad user. Some people use the iPad simply for email and web, some for games, some for eBooks, some for watching videos, and some for a combination of all of the above. And just as there is no one iPad user, there is really no such as thing as the perfect iPad case. How you wish to wrap your iPad depends largely on how you most often use it. Luckily, Cygnet released a slew of nice iPad mini cases late last year, and if you happen to be lucky enough to have gotten an iPad mini over the holidays, odds are they have a case for you.
A part of me (the really lazy part) dreads writing iPhone/iPod/iPad case reviews, because, let’s face it, there’s not all that much to say about them, especially if they’re good. So in the interest of laziness (both mine in writing and YOURS in reading) here’s a quick sum up of three of Cygnet’s offerings and what type of user we imagine would like them.
First up, is Cygnet’s FlexiGel, your standard silicone case. Actually, I shouldn’t say it is “standard”, as it feels a bit more rigid and durable than you may be envisioning based on your experiences with cheap silicone iPhone cases. Available in light blue and black and costing a budget-friendly $19.99, The FlexiGel is the closest thing to an “all-purpose” iPad mini case. The rubber is not all that thick, but should provide adequate protection against occasional indoor drops, it feels good in your hand, and the raised edges mean you can lay your iPad mini face-down on most surfaces without worrying about scratching the screen.
Out of all the cases we’ve reviewed, we’d rate this as the best “everyday” case of the lot, as it provides great scratch protection without adding much weight or bulk at all to the mini, and as mini owners know, the light weight is one of the best things about the mini. It’d be a shame to entomb it in a bulky prison out of fear.
Pros: Good scratch protection, very lightweight, decent shortfall protection
Cons: no screen protection to speak of, might not be enough protection from small kids
Next up we have the WorkMate , Cygnet’s tough case for the iPad mini. Coming in a noticeably bit bulkier than the FlexiGel, the WorkMate provides an extra layer of drop protection for mini users who are prone to drops, or perhaps have small children who like to play with mom and dad’s mini. While the dual layered, shock-absorbing design does indeed add some heft to the mini, I don’t want to give the impression that it weighs the device down to the point of hampering function. It is still far lighter than a naked full-sized iPad, so game playing and one-handed reading are still enjoyable.
However, coming in at around $40, its cost is twice that of the FlexiGel, and does not come with a screen protector. So unless you plan on traveling a lot with your mini, perhaps opening it up to more occasions to be dropped on hard surfaces, I’m not sure the extra cost is worth it. Still, it is a very nice case, and I love the look of it. If red is not your style, it also comes in black.
Pros: More drop protection than the FlexiGel, not too bulky for this level of protection, looks bad-ass
Cons: A bit pricey, no screen protection.
Finally, we have a case for the more sophisticated iPad mini user (read that as “girls”). It’s the Lavish, available in both purple and black and also coming in at $40. The Lavish is Cygnet’s Folio-style case, and it can be folded to facilitate video watching. This case is ideal for movie watching and for those who would like to perhaps show off a presentation for business colleagues.
Inside the case is pretty much the FlexiGel case mentioned above, but one that is fastened to the portfolio backing. The case has a nice magnetic latch, and it holds the Lavish closed quite well. However, I was not able to get the latch to lay as flat as Cygent does in their photos. In fact it sort of flips up and blocked the screen a bit. Overall I like this case for what it is, but I personally find it too bulky for everyday use, and despite kind of being designed to mimic a book’s structure, I found reading to be more enjoyable in the other two cases. I also would not choose this case for most game playing. Ironically, despite being the most sophisticated of the three cases, I think the Lavish actually would provide the best drop protection of the three.
Pros: Looks very nice, great for watching videos or looking professional, provides good drop protection as well
Cons: Latch does not lay flat, Really not a great every day case.