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September 14,2012- Back To School...

Yesterday we posted a quick overview of the iPad cases for this Back-To-School series. Today we take a closer FirstLook at them and examine the features each has to offer the student.

The iPad case we think is well-suited for many students is the ZooGue BinderPad. The BinderPad will securely hold an iPad in any three-ring binder while giving access to all of the buttons, ports, and cameras. The case is light (3.5 oz) and thin (0.5") so it will add very little additional bulk to a binder. The material is a tough polyester and the holes are reinforced. We expect this case would last well past graduation.

If three-ring binders are too utilitarian, but paper still needs to be a part of the equation, then perhaps HardCandy's CandyNote case will be more suitable. The CandyNote has a pocket for a notebook, a pen holder at the spine, and zips up completely to keep any bits from falling out during transport. The material feels like leather, but it is actually made with a animal-friendly faux-nubuck synthetic.

For students always on the go that don't need to go the full laptop-bag route in terms of space, may want to consider the Spigen SGP Dresden Klaus9i messenger bag. The Dresden has a couple of pockets on the inside, a nice adjustable strap, and is padded through out. It is sized for the iPad, but will fit tablets of similar dimensions.

For those looking for a strap option with minimal bulk, the modulR Slim Case is the obvious choice. It comes with a hand strap, but because of its clever design, the modulR cover can be attached to a lot of different accessories, one of which is a shoulder strap.

A more traditional way to go with iPad cases are the ones with a built in cover. Some of them even have an integrated stand. We have looked at many of them before, but found two new ones from SwitchEasy (CARA, CANVAS) which we think are good for students. Both have integrated SmartCovers which supports the auto On/Off feature of the iPad, comes with a screen shield, and will allow the tablet to be positioned at various angles for viewing. The stand is helpful for students who are planning to use an external keyboard with their iPad.

No iPad case review is complete without a look at what OtterBox has to offer. This "Back To School" special is no different. As would be expected from OtterBox, their cases (Defender, Reflex) for the iPad are both tough and protective. We had done a FirstLook of the Defender in June so we'll not repeat it here. However, the iPad2 Reflex case definitely warrants a more detailed inspection.

The Reflex case is more trimmed down compared to the Defender. However, that does not mean it is any less protective. The Reflex has both front and back coverage to prevent scratches and protection from drops. With a clever origami-like built-in hinge, the screen shield does double duty as a stand. The design makes docking the iPad 2 fast and easy. It even has a unique audio pathway which redirects the sound from the speakers toward the user. Pretty clever! The only downside to this case is that it does NOT fit the newest iPad. However, we would expect that OtterBox will have an update soon.

We hope this "Back To School" FirstLook at the collection of iPad cases has been helpful. We expect that tablets will only grow in popularity for students as the device becomes more capable. As always, if there are other cases or accessories of interest which we have not yet covered, give us a ping and let us know. We will check it out for you. Remember: study hard and play nice with the other kids! [Permalink] -Back To School: Up Close

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