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November 19, 2012 • Reviews

Gumdrop Case Drop Tech Series Case for the iPad Mini Review

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We haven’t seen nearly as many cases for the iPad mini ship yet. Sure, we’ve already been looking at some great sleeves for the newest member of the iPad family, but when it comes to actual fitted cases we haven’t yet seen that many.

One of the first cases to arrive for review was the Gumdrop Case Drop Tech Series Case for the iPad Mini. The case promises to add shock and drop protection to the iPad for under $60. Does that make it the best case for the small but potentially delicate tablet? Let’s take a look!

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From Gumdrop:

If you’re looking for the most rugged, durable, yet ultimately affordable protection for the iPad Mini, you found it in the Drop Tech Series Case for the iPad Mini. Shock absorption, drop protection, extreme ruggedness and hard-core readiness for all adventures, the Drop Tech Series Case for the iPad Mini specifically conforms to the shape of the iPad Mini and offers multiple layers of protection. This iPad Mini case features a unique, snap-on integrated screen for maximum protection.

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Complete security for the iPad Mini, including screen and port covers

Dual material construction for multiple layers of shock absorption

Reinforced rubber bumpers on the corners

Includes integrated screen cover for protection during use

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The case comes in two pieces. The outer layer is made from thick, shock-absorbing rubber. It covers the back, sides and the front bezel of the tablet. The interior layer consists of a front frame and screen protector.

To get the iPad into the case you first slide it into the screen frame piece and make sure it is properly seated inside it. A ring surrounding the rear camera is one of the key points that sandwich the iPad inside. It requires some finesse to get the iPad inside and, since you are dealing with a hard plastic frame, you’ll want to take time and use care when placing it in.

Once the iPad is seated properly, you take the iPad and frame and slowly place it into the outer rubber protection. While it isn’t a difficult process, it does take some time to get the two seated properly. Once you have done so, however, the two portions fit together as a single unit with little play between the parts.

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The case back rubber is fairly thick and appears much like a rubber tire; this design is what provides the bump and drop protection.

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The built-in screen protector is fairly thick and I was concerned it would get in the way of the touchscreen’s effectiveness. It doesn’t although I still prefer the LifeProof nuud approach, that protects the iPad without having ANYTHING over the screen. Unfortunately there isn’t such a case for the iPad mini… yet.

Which brings me to the real issue I have with this case. The iPad mini is small, thin and light. Putting it in this case cancels out all the benefits of going with the smaller iPad. It makes it bulky, and it is done in a manner that feels rather unrefined. And there is another thing — the inner frame that holds the iPad is made from hard plastic and has relatively tight tolerances. That might not be an issue, but I cannot help but wonder if, on impact, there might be enough movement between the iPad and the hard plastic the result of which would be… scratches. No, I have not encountered this, and I’m not going to try since I like my (currently) pristine iPad mini, but logically it makes sense to me that there could be an issue.

Oh, and while the iPad’s screen is protected, the lens on the back… is not.

So am I taken with this case? Not really, but that is largely because it just doesn’t fit in with my aesthetic sense or my idea of what I want my iPad mini to look or feel like. It might, however, be perfect for you — and so we’re giving it away. Watch for details. For now, click here to learn more or order yours.

MSRP: $59.95

What I Like: Adds drop protection; Cover the screen; Available now

What Needs Improvement: Adds a fair bit of weight and bulk; Interior plastic frame is hard and sits right on the iPad’s back and sides; Rear camera is exposed

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