Mobile Computing Review: ZooGue iPad Case

 

How did we ever live without Velcro?

That's the question that popped into my mind when I started using the ZooGue Smart Kase V2 ($50). The fastening fabric that launched countless products--and their inevitable infomercials--are at the core of this cleverly designed, highly flexible iPad case.

The ZooGue Smart Kase V2 is a black, leather folio iPad case that also acts as a stand. It features two wide strips of Velcro on the front cover, as well as on a back cover kickstand. Fold back the front cover, and the Velcro strips allow you to position the kickstand--and thus, the iPad mobile device--at any viewing angle you want. By comparison, many iPad case/stands, such as the popular Incase Convertible Book Jacket ($60), only give you up to three iPad viewing positions.

The Velcro does a great job of firmly keeping the iPad at the angle you choose. You can position the iPad screen just the way you want for watching video, reading an e-book, typing an e-mail, or whatever else you do. Velcro also keeps the kickstand shackled to the case when not in use, so it doesn't flap around.

The ZooGue iPad case is designed for landscape mode orientation. An optional accessory (free, though you'll pay for shipping and handling) lets you position your iPad in portrait mode within the case.

Mobile Computing Review: ZooGue iPad Case

The ZooGue Smart Kase V2 also features an elastic strap, which keeps the cover securely closed--a feature I'd like to see on more iPad cases. You can also use the strap to secure the iPad over a front car seat's headrest, to keep the kiddies in the backseat preoccupied with video and games. That feature alone is the primary benefit of some iPad accessories, such as Griffin Technology's CinemaSeat ($50).

Unlike with Apple's iPad case ($40), it's easy to slip an iPad into and out of the ZooGue Smart Kase V2. A strap--with Velcro, naturally--keeps the iPad secure inside. The iPad's charging port, volume control, on/off and other buttons are easily accessible while in the case, though not surprisingly, you'll have to remove the iPad to connect it to Apple's iPad Keyboard Dock ($69).

The ZooGue Smart Kase V2 is a revised version of an earlier iPad case created by inventor/entrepreneur Tim Angel. According to a ZooGue press release, the new case downplays the company's logo and features higher-quality materials. I didn't see the first case, but the new version (introduced in early October) is attractive, if you don't mind the two Velcro landing strips on the front cover.

Speaking of the front cover: It features a microfiber interior that faces the iPad screen, to help prevent scratching. And it's fairly thick, another protective measure. I'd feel comfortable traveling with my iPad in the ZooGue case, from a protection standpoint.

There is, however, one drawback for travelers. The ZooGue iPad case adds 1 pound to the iPad's 1.5 pounds (for Wi-Fi only) or 1.6 pounds (3G version). Apple's slim iPad case, by comparison, weighs only about 6 ounces.

When a case weighs nearly as much as the device it protects, you have to be sure it's worth taking on a trip. If you want the ability to prop up your iPad at multiple angles--something bound to come in handy when flying coach--the ZooGue Smart Kase V2 is worth its extra weight. For traveling light around town, however, you might want to keep the iPad in a thinner case.

All told, ZooGue has developed a compelling iPad case that's backed by a 15-day return policy (you get a full refund, plus ZooGue pays the return shipping). Also, according to ZooGue, $1 of every purchase goes to the charity Children International.

James A. Martin has written about mobile technology since the mid 90s and is the author of Traveler 2.0, a mobile technology blog for travelers.

TAGS:

iPad, mobile computing, iPad case, ZooGue, iPad accessory

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