The inNuevo DOCKr case offers up a clamshell-style carrying case for your iPad that can also hold a keyboard, turning your iPad into a chunky, polycarbonate, almost-laptop-replacement. The DOCKr 1 stops there, but the DOCKr 2 throws in a lithium battery, Bluetooth speakers, and some USB out ports into the mix to provide extra power for your gadgets.
If you’re looking to use your iPad as a laptop replacement, the DOCKr can provide a pretty complete solution, including a full keyboard and a hinged screen holder that lets you easily flip between landscape and portrait orientations.
AppleTell has been following the DOCKr since it first launched as a Kickstarter project. We next ran into it on the show floor at CE Week, after its crowdsourcing campaign was successful.
The DOCKr comes in two variations—1 and 2 (easy enough to remember)—with the presence of the rechargeable battery, speakers, and USB power out ports being the distinguishing features. The cheaper DOCKr 1 does not include these electronic goodies, so it’s technically a 4-in-1 case. The DOCKr 2 packs all of inNuevo’s “features” for the full 6-in-1 experience: a battery, Bluetooth speakers, a keyboard tray, adjustable viewing angle, protective case, and five color options from which to choose.
I’m still not sure color is a real feature, but they are fun nonetheless).
She Comes In Colors
Feature list aside, the DOCKr does offer a unique poylcarbonate iPad case that’s functional and funky; its five color choices recall the pre flat panel iMac days: Pearl White, Ruby Red, Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, and Absolute Black. The inNuevo keyboard is available in the same five colors, so you can coordinate or contrast to show off some personality. My review setup was Midnight Blue with a Pearl White keyboard, and it had me thinking of blueberries and fresh whipped cream. (I miss the days when OS X was lickable. Anybody else? No?)
In addition to the clamshell form factor, the DOCKr also offers a keyboard tray, into which you can insert an Apple Bluetooth keyboard or inNuevo’s own offering; it’s a chiclet-style keyboard with a good feel and integrated row of iPad function buttons across the top. Underneath the keyboard tray is a nifty storage compartment with just enough room for a couple charging cables. Both the keyboard and speakers paired easily with my iPad, and were easy to reconnect after moving.
During my review, I did find inNuevo’s keyboard has a tendency to come loose and flop about inside the case when the DOCKr is closed. This wasn’t really a physical damage issue, but the keys pressed against the iPad, causing it to wake up if I didn’t turn off the keyboard. This was also an issue with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, so a nice design enhancement would be a latch or magnetic hold for the keyboard. When in use, you actually slide the iPad holder portion (the “screen” of the laptop) forward for balance, so it holds the keyboard nicely in place.
What’s it Good For?
The DOCKr 1 would be great for tough iPad users like kids in a shared environment, where the bold colors and protective case would be crucial. The DOCKr 2′s enhanced electronics options are great for anybody who needs more oomph to their iPad experience. The included speakers provide louder stereo sound (though you won’t be holding any epic dance parties with them), while the USB and micro USB ports let you connect devices for charging from the built-in battery. In testing, I got more than four extra hours of Netflix viewing on my iPad from a single charge (almost as long as the iPad’s battery provides) while simultaneously charging a completely dead Jawbone headset.
The DOCKr has a number of well designed features, from the simple slider mechanisms that let you easily secure your iPad, to the thoughtful cutout in the frame that gives you easier Home Button access when the iPad is in portrait orientation. The case features strong magnets that hold it shut, so everything stays closed (if not entirely in place), and the abundance of color options lets you make your own statement.
Spec wise, the DOCKr alone weighs in at about 1.4 lbs. Adding an iPad takes that up to 2.8 lbs, while a full DOCKr with iPad and keyboard weighs in at around 4.3 lbs. At 1.5 inches thick and 4.3 lbs, you’re getting pretty close to MacBook territory, and at $650 (with iPad, which is sold separately), you’re not far off the dollar mark, either. Still, you have the flexibility to pull your iPad out and go lightweight at any point, so the DOCKr’s added convenience gives you some of the advantages of both worlds.
Buy the inNuevo DOCKr Case
Provides: 6-in-1 iPad case, including speakers, external battery, impact protection, keyboard, and clamshell-style viewing options (electronic features like the battery and speakers are available only in certain models)
Compatible with: iPad generations 1-4
Price: DOCKr1 is $55.95 (without external battery/speakers), DOCKr 2 is $115 (with electronics package). Combination packages including an inNuevo Bluetooth keyboard are $95.95 and $149.95 for a DOCKr 1/2, respectively.