I took my new iPad 2 on its first road trip this week. Before leaving, I decided it would be prudent to employ some sort of case for protection, security, and ease/convenience of carriage, so among the potential choices I had on hand, I settled on using a LapWorks Crystal iPad Folio hard-shell case inside a Waterfield Sleeve Case that was designed to carry a small laptop, but fit the Folio-enshrouded iPad nicely.
The only sour note was that there wasn’t quite enough room to stuff the iPad’s power adapter into the Sleeve Case comfortably. Waterfield’s “PiggyBack” auxiliary case option would seem to be tailor-made for that job. The Sleeve Case is equipped with an optional shoulder strap, and I lugged the iPad around in it all day, barely noticing its presence—not something I could say for any laptop with which I’ve gone mobile under similar conditions.
LapWorks Crystal iPad Folio
The LapWorks Crystal iPad Folio is a protective case/stand made of shatterproof polycarbonate plastic that shows off the iPad’s good looks while protecting it from impact and abrasion.
The Crystal iPad Folio consists of two transparent polycarbonate plastic hard-shell case halves hinged together to open and close like a book or laptop computer, but that’s not all. The case’s joining hinges also can be rotated 360 degrees on a stainless steel longitudinal pivot pin that allows its top panel to rotate completely around 180° to become a support arm that positions the iPad’s screen for hands-free landscape or portrait viewing.
The Crystal Folio’s top panel can also go from support arm mode to folding completely flat against the bottom panel, allowing uninhibited access to the touchscreen for tabletop or one-handed operation, or for use with an external Bluetooth keyboard.
Additional features include no-slip silicone bumpers on both of the clamshell panels that protect them and support surfaces from scuffs and scratches. Cut-outs along the edges of the Crystal iPad Folio allow easy access to all the iPad’s controls and ports, and while the case was originally designed to accommodate the iPad 1, it comfortably accommodates my iPad 2 as well.
Holding a bare iPad for carriage or one-handed operation doesn’t necessarily provide the most secure grip on the sometimes slippery device. The Crystal iPad Folio addresses this issue by sheathing its hinges with a rubberized coating, providing a thicker and more secure gripping surface.
And while amazingly clear and transparent (note how the weave of the dropcloth background is visible through the case in the photo), the Crystal iPad Folio’s case panels are made of shatterproof Polycarbonate, the same material Apple uses to make the white MacBook’s unibody enclosure.
Selling at what seems to be a semi-permanent “introductory” price of $39.95, the LapWorks Crystal iPad Folio case/stand is covered by a six-month warranty against manufacturing, materials and construction defects, and should provide years of service.
Product [Crystal iPad Folio]
The Waterfield SleeveCase, like most Waterfield computer bags, can be customized in a variety of configurations and accessory options.
The Sleeve Cases are made of ballistic nylon just like bigger Waterfield computer bags, which come in 30 or so sizes in horizontal or vertical orientations.
The Sleeve Case with flap that I’m using with the iPad, as noted, has the optional ($22.00) adjustable suspension shoulder strap of 1-1/2″ nylon webbing with a fixed shoulder pad (complete with “traction” panel) and very high quality quick- release carabiner hooks on stout swivels that snap onto beefy metal D-rings fastened to the Sleeve Case with stitched web loops. As a service to their customers, San Francisco Designs will retro-fit SleeveCases returned for upgrading with the shoulder strap options for the standard option price.
The SleeveCase’s computer compartment is padded with what looks and feels like 1/4″ or 3/16″ neoprene “wet suit” type foam backed material. There is also a full-width pocket on the back panels, which I found handy for carrying a file folder I needed, and my only criticism is that there is no Velcro or zipper closure to secure contents.
The Waterfield SleeveCase makes a very satisfactory lightweight computer bag for day-tripping, especially with the optional flap and shoulder strap. Okay, but where to put that power adapter, or an external mouse, necessary dongles and cables, plus an Apple USB modem if you’re using the case to carry its intended MacBook or other laptop? No problem. Just order an auxiliary “Piggyback” or “Piggyback Mini” case ($25-$27), which is a small pouch that attaches onto the Sleeve Case.
Made from matching ballistic nylon with reinforced zippers, the Piggyback has soft divider pockets inside to protect your power adapter, even a small external drive or what-have-you.
Product [Waterfield SleeveCase]
Also see our iPad 2 Ultimate SleeveCase review.