Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spin, bend, drop, type: Logitech unveils quartet of iPad cases (hands-on)

Logitech's Hinge, Turnaround, Big Bang and Ultrathin keyboard cover cases are on the way this spring. I tried two of them over the weekend. 

 
It's hard to get excited about new iPad cases. I'll admit, though, I have a soft spot for Logitech: its keyboard accessories are among the best out there, and I've always found the build quality to be excellent.

Logitech has announced four new cases today, and they're all focused on specifically practical functions. I've been trying two of them for the past few days on an iPad Air
 
The Logitech Hinge (seen above) is a flexible adjustable-angle iPad case. No big surprise there, except the Hinge can bend and hold any angle along a 50-degree range of movement (15 to 65 degrees) thanks to its flexy-bend back hinge. I tried opening the iPad Air Hinge case up to a variety of upright, nearly full-recline and mid-range angles, and it worked well for all. The plastic-backed, fabric-front-covered design has an attractive look, but makes an Air a little thicker and heavier than using Apple's own leather Smart Case. Magnets in the lid auto-wake the iPad, and the hinge on the back keeps closed when in folio mode, avoiding any weird flip-open moments when using the case to read (a problem I've had with other flexible cases). Logitech claims the case is spill and drop-resistant more than normal cases, for a bit of extra protection. The Hinge is $59.99 for the Air version, or $49.99 for the iPad Mini or Retina Mini versions. I like this one a lot. 
  


                                                              Logitech Turnaround
The Logitech Turnaround offers up a rotational hinge to flip the iPad to landscape or portrait mode while still in the case. I've seen this trick before on other iPad cases, including some great ones by Targus, but Logitech's does it well. The case has a bit thicker overall feel than the Hinge, with a sleek type of brushed-nylon material on the outside that gives it the feel of some sort of executive attache when folded up shut. The case stands sturdily and supports a couple of angles, and in portrait mode the case did a fine job...even if it ends up looking a little less elegant on a desk. Die-hard portrait-mode users, take note: this could replace a deskside swivel stand. The Turnaround costs $59.99 for the Air or $49.99 for Mini or Retina Mini versions, too. 
  
     
                                                       Logitech Big Bang
LogitechThe Big Bang, which I didn't try, is an extra-rugged iPad case with additional impact resistance: its shock-absorbent slim case has been drop-tested by Logitech up to 1.8 meters. I'll make sure to dry some drops when I check one out. It's a basic slim folio case otherwise, in multiple colors and with five different viewing angles. Also available for the iPad Air and both iPad Minis, its extra protection will cost you a pretty penny: $99.99 for the Air, or $79.99 for the Mini versions.
 

 
                                      New Ultrathin Keyboard CoverLogitech
 
Finally, Logitech is updating its Ultrathin Keyboard Cover to be thinner, and have multiple viewing angles -- something other cases had, but the Ultrathin lacked. The cover case will be 6.5 millimeters thin and two-thirds the thickness of the iPad Air. The new Cover costs $99 for the Air version, or $89 for the Mini versions. It'll be released in Europe and the U.S. in May. The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is my favorite thin iPad keyboard accessory, so I'm pretty excited about this news. Stay tuned for a review update when I get one.
 
The Hinge and Turnaround will be available in Europe in April and the U.S. in May, and the Big Bang will be available in May in both regions.