This review concludes why we feel Spigen IPad Pro Rugged Case is a better design in the following category of cases with these features:
- A folding protective cover with magnetic catch, which acts a support when folded.
- A back casing to protect the IPad from damage when dropped.
- No keyboard
Finally after hours of searching and reviewing various design, we managed to build-up the requirements based on the available design options in the market. So far we have used ESR IPad covers with a tri-fold magnetic cover and soft shell, but without any pencil holder. The advantage of this basic design is that it is the lightest at just over 313 grams, protects the IPad from scratches, and provides two stable viewing position. The biggest issue is the lack of Apple pencil holder.
We also reviewed the STM Rugged Case Plus, which was quite good in terms of drop test qualification, and also comes with a pencil holder with charging ability. However, we find the cover folding is not as good as the traditional 3-fold design. It is around 33% heavier than the ESR cover at 466 grams, which should due to the additional material required to support for drop test. It will be a good cover for those who are in situations that the IPad can easily dropped.
Basing on past 10 years of usage experience. we feel that drop test is only good-to-have, as we are not expected to drop a tablet very often.
In fact, I have yet to drop any notebook that is 10.5″ or larger in my entire working life. On the other hand, I do drop phones more often, because we tend to use a phone while walking, or doing something on the move and even running. Most users seldom do that with a tablet of any size.
So I reviewed my needs and came up with the following requirements that were all met by Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case.
Tri-Fold Magnetic Cover
The Tri-fold (3-fold) magnetic cover may be the widely used design by many brands, but it is also one of the best provided it is manufactured properly, with good quality magnets and cover material.
Firstly, the magnets are used to turn on/off the screen.
Secondly, the folded cover becomes a triangle stand that provides two stable viewing positions, i.e. one for viewing, and another for screen typing. Furthermore, it stays in shape even if you lift the IPad up, which is very useful if you need to move around between workspaces.
Say you are typing on the IPad and drinking coffee at the dining table, and then you need to move over to another table and continue with the typing. You only need to lift up the IPAD with one hand and do not need to worry about the triangle base falling apart. The other hand is free to grab the coffee or your notes. You walk over to the other table, put the IPad down with the triangle stand falling into place by itself. There is no need to meddle with the triangle stand on the Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case in the entire process because it retains its shape.
My opinion to any designers who are making new IPad covers, is that it is OK to stay with the traditional tri-fold design. There is no need to re-invent the wheels, as this design is simple, light, reliable, and stable.
Apple Pencil Holder
This pencil holder on the Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case stands out from most other design because it does not have big permanent “pencil” slot, which takes up unnecessary space if the pencil is absent. From the photo below, only a small catch is left when the pencil is removed. Such space saving design is useful in some scenario and it also makes the IPad feel less bulky.
The pencil holder on Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case does not “clip” the pencil, as it relies on the magnet to stick as usual. However, the holder is designed such that it only allows the pencil to be removed by pulling upwards from the screen. This prevents the pencil from unintentional “push over” or falling out. When the cover is closed, the magnetic flap goes over the top around the pencil to prevent it from falling out. It is also not possible to slide the pencil out of the position as it sits inside a groove. The pencil is secured with a minimalist design with significantly less plastic than other brands, which we feel is a very good design.
Protection and Weight
The reason we put protection and weight together is because one will affect the other, most of the time. There is is always least amount of protection when naked, and adding protection usually means putting on weight. This is common sense.
The corners of the back cover of the Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case comes with Spigen’s trademarked Air Cushion Technology which is stated by their website to offer military grade protection.
We feel the amount of protection on the Spigen is just right. It offers the protection at the right places which are the corners, and the overall design is about 420 grams, which is 100 grams more than ESR but still lighter than STM’s rugger case. I have also been using Spigen’s casing for my Galaxy Note, accidentally dropped the phone a couple of times, and it is still working fine with no visible damages.
As the IPad is almost a Notebook size, I do not think the risk of dropping is high. We do not often see any protective covers for Macbook Air or those lightweight notebooks. However, there are users who need good protection for their IPad because of the environment they worked in. Weight becomes a relatively lesser issue when compared to the risk of damage due to accidental drop, knocks, etc.
The design of Spigen’s IPad Pro Rugged Case feels like the perfect cover for my needs. The design and manufacturing quality is good, and we do not have anything to add to improve the design at this time. We hope that Spigen can continue to supply such covers for future versions of IPad.