Apple makes great products, there’s no doubt about that. But when it comes to buying accessories for them, the Apple-made ones are generally overpriced, or don’t always best the third party alternatives out there. One of the first companies to make a reputation for itself in the iPhone market as a great case maker was Griffin. So, when the opportunity came to review the company’s Intellicase for iPad 2/3/4 I decided to take a look and see whether the old dog still has what it takes to compete with the newer up and coming brands.
Design wise, we’re looking at a case of two parts. The rear shell is a hard polycarbonate with all the usual cutouts and holes for your buttons, ports and camera. The front cover is made from a flexible PU material. It has built in magnets to activate the iPad’s auto-wake feature, and folds back to form a sturdy stand.
On the aesthetics front, it’s not exactly eye catching, but it is classy. It has a very clean, professional and almost reassuring look about it. You know it’s there to do a job without making you look a fool. The rear shell has a rough, textured finish while the inside is shiny. What I really liked about the polycarbonate shell was the functional contours that gently lead to the hinge on the left edge and the tab used to hold the front cover behind the iPad.
Although the case is very slim and light, it’s far from flimsy. The hinges are sturdy, and the front cover is surprisingly hard wearing. I had the misfortune of watching my son trip over on some tiled flooring in our hallway while holding the iPad. Needless to say, it went flying corner first on to the floor. The case not only stayed on but remained shut too.
As a stand, it holds well in both viewing and typing angles. The tab holding it down feels a lot more robust than cases that rely on magnets. That said, it does lack some versatility, only offering two angles as a stand.
On the negative side I did feel like the case wasn’t particularly well-fitting on the 3rd generation iPad. It was almost certainly designed for the slightly slimmer iPad 2, and you can tell. There’s a minute gap in between the edges of the rear shell and the rim of the iPad’s front face. But, apart from that there’s very little to complain about.
All in all, the Intellicase is a very solid offering from Griffin, and at $59 should be a serious consideration fro anyone looking for a slim, light and robust smart case. It’s available from Griffin’s online store now in a variety of colors.