Provides: iPad protection, display and transportation
Availability: Out now
If your iPad is a mobile business or education tool, and if you haven’t given up entirely on pens and paper and need a way to keep these elements organized, Kensington’s Folio Trio Mobile Workstation could be the solution.
The Folio Trio from the outside appears to be an attractively-styled but unremarkably typical zip-closure business folio in unadorned black faux leather. Its only extraordinary touch is an embossed Kensington logo in the lower front corner of the outer front panel. The outer panels are softly padded, which give it an easy-on-the-hands feel, and contribute to protection of the iPad.
Inside you’ll find an open-face sleeve that fits both the New iPad and iPad 2, a variety of pockets in two main compartments to hold various papers, tickets, business cards, and so forth, a three-ring binder (removable), and elasticized loops to hold your pens, pencils, and touchscreen stylus. The Folio Trio is large enough to hold letter-size and A4 size paper and notepads.
The iPad is secured in its sleeve with a fold over and tuck in flap, which makes inserting and removing the tablet quick and easy, but keeps it quite secure. Apertures and cutouts are provided for access to the machine’s analog controls. The sleeve is mounted on an “origami” type system of folding panels with a 360 degree swivel that allow the tablet to be used in either portrait or landscape orientation with an infinite range of incline adjustment from flat to 90-degree-vertical or even past vertical. The iPad is held in place at the desired degree of inclination by Velcro “teeth” on the edges of the tablet sleeve that engage the all-Velcro material face of the Folio Trio’s center panel. This actually creates a surprisingly solid and steady typing platform, unlike some iPad holder solutions that don’t hold the device rigidly enough to prevent wobble and vibration as you type on the virtual keyboard. Here, I expect the open Folio Trio’s large footprint has a positive effect.
Note that the Folio Trio is not a keyboard case, and has no real provision to carry a keyboard along, although you might be able to cram an ultra-thin Bluetooth unit inside. However, if an external keyboard is a must-have, you’re probably better-off considering a keyboard folio case, of which Kensington makes several different models.
However, The open Folio Trio will serve as a good (albeit somewhat large, as noted) iPad stand for use with an external keyboard at your home or office workstation. Speaking of footprint, the Kensington Folio Trio makes a better-than-decent lap desk typing platform as well, although again a somewhat large-footprint one. The case’s soft surface is comfortable on the thighs, and finding a comfortable viewing and typing angle is easy. The back cover of the case sort of flops to the left, but shouldn’t be much of a problem unless you have the three-ring binder stuffed full.
I found that binder to be the Folio Trio’s least well-engineered feature. Not so much the binder itself, but its positioning on the Folio Pro’s spine causes paper mounted in it to be scrunched a bit when you fold the inner divider panel (that holds the iPad sleeve) to the right to expose the folio’s front compartment. Other than that, the Folio Pro seems well thought-out and nicely functional.
When it’s time to close the case, just disengage the Velcro, orient the iPad in portrait mode, and lay it flat. The device is held well away from the Folio Trio’s corners and edges, helping enhance protection from bumps or being dropped.
Some downsides are that the Folio Trio is a bit on the pricey side, and it’s definitely not a compact iPad case. Indeed, it has a footprint larger than that of my old PowerBook Pismo when it’s closed. However, the generous dimensions are required in order for the Kensington Folio Trio to fulfill its intended functions, and will be appreciated by the product’s target user demographic. As fore-noted, it’s a better iPad typing platform than I had anticipated, and should do a fine job of protecting the tablet. I found myself liking it more the more I used it, especially on road trips, which is always a good sign.