On the last MPU Live I discussed how I’ve been playing with an iPad Air 2 for the past few weeks and was struggling about whether to keep the iPad Air 2, go back to my beloved iPad Mini 2, or perhaps splurge for a new iPad mini 4. Spoiler alert…I went for the mini 4. (Come on, that was predictable wasn’t it?)
I’ll have more to say on my decision to stick with the mini in future blog posts. But today I want to talk about my choice of case. More so, my disappointment in Apple’s lack of case options. When I bought the iPad mini 2, I splurged and bought Apple’s Leather Smart Case. It cost $70 but I never regretted the decision. It offered protection for the front and back of my iPad and was a well made product that felt great in the hands.
Of course, the dimensions of the iPad mini 4 are just different enough from the iPad mini 2 and 3 that most previous generation cases won’t fit. Apple introduced two options in a variety of colors, a Smart Cover for $39, which provides protection only for the front, and a Silicone Case for $59, which provides protection only along the back and right side. If you want full body protection previously provided by the smart case, you have to buy both and that will cost you $100 US plus taxes. Ouch.
Reviews of the combo have been mixed. Either accessory on its own really only provides partial protection for an iPad. The silicone case purchased alone just looks silly, there’s a gap along the side where the smart cover is intended to connect. While the consensus seems to be the combination of products is nice, and mimics the protection offered by the previously offered Smart Cover, the $100 price is quite an Apple premium to pay considering the third party options.
While I may ultimately cave and buy the Apple combination of cases, my aversion to the new accessory lineup gave me enough pause to look elsewhere. My solution for now is a $8.99 Moko smart-shell case I bought from a third party seller on Amazon.
The $9 Moko case is available in a number of colors and is essentially a knock off of the old style Apple Smart Case. In fact if you look at it from any distance you probably couldn’t tell it’s not an Apple Smart Case. Of course, as soon as you pick it up you can instantly tell. It’s made from some rubbery/neoprene material. It’s not rich Corinthian leather, but it presents well, feels durable and fit my iPad mini well. It has the proper magnets in the cover to automatically sleep and wake the iPad and the case can be folded back on itself to adjust viewing angles, just like the Smart Case. Oh yeah, and it’s $9.
Because of the size change finding iPad mini 4 cases is difficult. I may look at different cases in the future as the usually retailers begin shipping their offerings. I may ultimately even end up with Apple’s $100 solution. But for now, I’m happy with my $9 case.
Update: Looks like the price of the case fluctuates a few dollars. I've seen some reports it's now down to $7 or $8.