Tech21 Impact Folio for iPad mini has style and protection with little compromise [Review]

tech21 impact folio feature

Tech21 has come far since it first showed up on hit BBC TV series Dragon’s Den a few years back seeking investment. D30 – the material inside each of Tech21’s cases – has been dubbed “Impactology” by the innovative case makers. And for good reason. It lives and breathes impact. What’s magical about the material is that, in resting state, it’s little more than a ball of pliable gloop, but turns solid when struck. Think Flubber, but without the artificial intelligence. In fact, it performs better the harder you hit it. Each of the company’s ever growing lineup of cases features D30, making them some of the most protective cases on the market.

Now you know exactly where we’re coming from here, you can imagine the protection offered by the company’s Impact Folio for iPad mini. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at it from the outside. It looks just like a regular iPad folio case. It opens and shuts, with the front cover doubling up as a rest to stand the iPad on in a couple of different viewing angles. The iPad itself is held in place in an all-leather frame. High quality leather is used to ensure it has a luxurious and classy look and feel. And the inside is lined with the usual layer of micro-fibre to keep your device well protected against grit and grime.

Cutouts in all the right places ensure easy access to the volume and mute switches as well as the power button plus headset and Lightning ports. Tech21 even included a set of holes on either side of the Lightning connector cutout to ensure that not all the sound from your iPad mini’s stereo speakers is muffled under the thick layer of leather and micro-fibre.

Like I said, from the outside, it looks like your typical, average and minimalist iPad folio case. Don’t get me wrong on that front though. It looks well designed, and has some neat touches I really enjoy, like the completely flat left edge that ensures your iPad sits straight when in stand mode. But, it’s within the lining that things get interesting. Tech21’s D30 is integrated on every side, hidden by the outer covering of Nappa leather and micro-fiber. Front, back, corners and sides are all protected from any daily impact your iPad would normally come in to contact with. A leather folio with this level of protection is rarely – if ever – seen on the market.

Perhaps even more surprising is the strength of the magnets that keep the case closed. Normally with cases of this kind, they’re almost useless as the thickness of the leather generally gets in the way and stops the magnet from having any significant pull. The Impact Case reassuringly snaps in to place as soon as you’re a couple of millimeters away from having it shut. It’s fab, and it won’t come open in a hurry, so you needn’t worry about it opening on its own accord.

There’s very little not to like about the Impact Folio. In fact, most of what I consider negative points are general traits of leather. Classicly, it takes a while to soften up and become pliable. To begin with, opening up the case and using it as a stand is far from simple, and keeping it open in both hands can be a strain. The initially stubborn stiffness of the “hinge” made trying to keep the iPad at a good angle almost impossible at times. But, once the leather had a few days of being used, I was right as rain. That said, having only two viewing angles plus the typing angle isn’t as generous as other cases of the same type.

The case’s UK price of £39.99 seems reasonable, but starts to look a little pricey when you convert it to the US equivalent $65. It’s not the cheapest case on the market, and neither should it be. Simply put, cases this stylish and classic shouldn’t have the level of protection that it has. And yet it does. It’s stunning. Head on over to the the product page to have a closer look or to place your order. In my time with it, I’m very impressed and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great folio case for iPad mini.

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  • Wow these are so chunky. I’ve a 3 year old and she drops my ipad mini all the time but no problems with a simple leather case

  • Good review. My experience with the D3O material is that it really does what it promises. I used a real hamer and my hands to test it, and most of the impact was absorbed