Gadgetell review: iPad 2 sleeve showdown: Timbuk2 vs G-Form

Sections: Computers, Features, Mobile Computers, Originals

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You’ve seen these two interesting sleeves and realize that to be truly mobile, you can’t be holding your iPad 2 all the time. The simple solution? A nifty sleeve. Here’s two popular ones, let’s see if they fit the bill.

Timbuke2 Envelope Sleeve for iPad and iPad2

Timbuk2 Envelope Sleeve

Sleek, good looking and trusted are three words I use to best describe this sleeve. Drawing on their years of making messenger bags for the rough and tumble urban bike messenger crowd, the envelope sleeve uses the classic 3 panel construction of their “ballistic fabric.” Going further into the sleeve you find “high impact foam” and a super-soft tricot material that is the only thing allowed to touch the iPad when sleeved.

Three large velcro catches keep the envelope lid shut well. The seams are all sewn up tight and even the outer edge is seamed in a piping that adds even more protection to your tablet. This case looks great and I felt more than adequately protects its rather expensive cargo. I loved the Tricot material, it’s like something the royal family would use to cover important things.

I was able to use the Envelope Sleeve with Apple’s Smart Cover. It’s a tight fit to be sure but fit fine. Also, one quick word on fit – Timbuk2 nailed it. Not to tight to make getting in and out a pain but not too big that a red flag was raised to make me concerned. Well done.

Rating: 5/5, if a sleeve to keep the iPad from banging around in another bag or just a goto sleeve for transport, you can’t go wrong with the Timbuk2 Envelope Sleeve.

Price: $22 (on sale now)

G-Form Extreme Sleeve for iPad and iPad 2

G-Form Extreme Sleeve (first generation)

This case is the Monday Night Football of iPad cases. Designed with a bit on-the-nose flair, the Extreme Sleeve’s story is the proprietary RPT technology and PORON XRD material that changes it’s molecular structure on impact. That’s right, this is the stuff that protects bikers, skiers and now your gadgets from nasty spills. It’s that cool.

The company has two videos running about: one that drops a 12lb bowling ball from 3 feet and one that drops the iPad in a sleeve from 500 feet out of an airplane. I’ll not spoil the endings for you. OK, fine, the iPads live to fight another day.

With this kind of story, you’d expect the sleeve to be dialed. Without a question, the sleeve appears to protect without issue. I have the confidence to chuck my sleeved iPad onto the freeway, but I am not going. The fit is very tight on the iPad 2, but got better with use. When protection is the main focus, any slop would inversely affect that protection level.

I wasn’t thrilled with how the zipper fit. There are flaps of neoprene(?) that are designed to protect the iPad from the YKK zipper but instead folded back, leaving an iPad to zipper connection.

I am told that a 2nd generation addresses this issue as well as adds more padding to the corners for enhanced protection (like the fall out of a plane from 5,000ft).

Rating: 4/5, easily the best protection from a sleeve but minor fit and finish details keep it from top honors. If danger is your game (or your’re just a clutz) this is your sleeve.

Price: $59.99 for first generation, Extreme Sleeve 2 is $69.99 (pre-orders now being accepted).
Product page: [G-Form]

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