Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review : iPad Folio Case By Snugg

I don't post many reviews on my blog, especially of the non-scrappy variety, because I don't want to turn this place into something that's just advertisement all the time. I actually turn down a fair number of the giveaways and reviews I'm offered because they either just aren't relevant, or because I don't think that my readers would really be interested.

When the people at Snugg contacted me, though, to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their iPad cases, they just happened to catch me when I was actually shopping for a new one anyway, so I took them up on it. What sealed it for me was that I was looking specifically for a folio case that also included a stand of some sort so I could prop my iPad up on my desk and stream Netflix or watch videos while scrapbooking or editing photos, and their iPad Executive Case (also available at Amazon) looked like it would fit that need perfectly. If any of my readers considering a case for the same reason, hopefully this review will help you out!

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My Snugg iPad case is their "Baby Blue" color, which is a sort of Robin's Egg blue that looks very aqua in some lights- and you know I love my aqua! There's a small loop at the top of the case that is a perfect fit for my Bamboo stylus, and small embedded magnets in the cover will turn the iPad screen on and off just like the Smart Cover from Apple. The Snugg is definitely more stylish than Apple's Smart Cover, and though it does add some weight and thickness to the iPad I didn't find either to be an issue for me. The iPad still fits in the same slot on my purse that it always has, and I haven't been bothered by the extra weight of the case in the three weeks that I've been using it.

I have the "Executive" version of the case, which simply means that there are some slots to hold credit cards on the inside of the cover along with a hand strap that is supposed to make it easier to hold the iPad while giving presentations.

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The first thing I did after slipping my iPad into the case was to take it straight back out again and remove the screen protector that I've been using on it since day 1. The material inside the case is soft, and when the cover is closed provides more than enough protection for the screen without a second protector involved. Love that I can finally use my iPad without another layer between my eyes and the screen!

Without a screen protector, though, I doubt that I'll actually use the credit card slots. While I'm comfortable having the fabric of those slots against the screen, I'm not nearly so keen on having sharp-edged credit cards there. The slots would probably be more useful if Snugg had included a small flap of fabric completely covering them.

The hand strap was kind of useless for me- the case feels a bit floppy at the hinge (the iPad side keeps trying to pull down) when I'm using it, and I think it was designed for someone with larger hands than I have. Since I don't use my iPad for presenting, though, the hand strap wasn't a big deal for me.

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Installation of the Snugg case couldn't be easier- simply slip the iPad into the holder on the right side of the case, then secure the velcro flap. It took less than 10 seconds to get everything in place, and the iPad feels completely secure. I've been using my case for about three weeks, and not once did I feel that the velcro wasn't adequate for holding the iPad in place. And, unlike other cases I've used, the openings for the charger, headphone jack, and buttons are perfectly placed and large enough to allow easy usage. Definitely no complaints there!

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Update: Thanks so much to commenter Katherine, who kindly clued me in to something I'd missed about the kickstand- you can flip the entire case over to get a much taller viewing angle! I've updated this section of the review with new photos and text to reflect that, and I'm more than a bit embarrassed that I missed it myself- for some reason it never registered in my brain that the iPad will actually rotate the screen 180 degrees to accommodate the new position!

The Snugg easily converts into an iPad stand by flipping the front cover back and slipping the side of it into a tab on the back cover. There are three available angles- two for typing and one for viewing- and you can change between them by simply adjusting the way the hinge folds under the side of the iPad when it's propped up or by flipping the iPad around.

Here's a look at the lowest typing setting:

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And here's what it looks like on the highest typing setting, taken from the side so you can see what I mean about adjusting the hinge.

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The hinge adjustment actually annoys me a bit, especially since on the highest setting it's really easy to accidentally bump it back down to the lower one while typing since there's nothing solid holding the hinge in position.

For video viewing with the kickstand, you can turn the entire case upside down and rest it on the credit card slots to get a perfect viewing angle.

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In this position if you have any cards in the card slots they'll essentially become part of the base of the stand. This might cause a problem if you have several cards causing uneven bumps along the bottom, but since I'm not planning on actually using the cards slots it won't be a problem for me. The iPad seems very stable in this position, and I don't have any worries about it accidentally falling over from here.

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One small concern I have about this case is durability. I carry my iPad in my purse constantly, and it's in its own compartment- not thrown in with my keys or anything that could damage it. I'm not rough with my electronics at all. I have no idea how it happened, but after just a few weeks of use, I already have a small gouge in the PU leather of this case.

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The soft material inside the case also seems prone to attracting dirt, and I already have a few smudges from everyday use. I'm not in the habit of using my iPad with dirty hands (eeew!), and this seems to be buildup at the points where you naturally hold the iPad while reading. I'm wondering how much worse these spots will get over time. One thing to note here is that the color of the inside fabric does match the case's exterior, so on darker colored cases this won't be an issue.

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So, in review:

Pros:
  • Looks professional and stylish.
  • Is a perfect fit for the iPad and all associated cameras, ports, and buttons are easily accessible.
  • Easy installation.
  • Great screen protection and secure hold for the iPad.
  • Good viewing angle when using the kickstand to watch videos.

Cons:
  • Credit cards placed in the slots will be directly against the iPad screen when the case is closed.
  • Hinge adjustment for highest typing angle is loose and easy to bump out of place.
  • Hand strap is uncomfortable to use/not designed for small hands
  • Leather seems to be easy to damage.
  • Interior material of the case prone to collecting dirt.

Overall, I like the look of this case and, now that I've been corrected on the video part, I love it for every use for my iPad from gaming to reading to watching videos. My overall grade? B+