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March 14, 2013 • Reviews

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell Review

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

Judie and I met with MonCarbone during CES 2013. We’ve always liked their wares and were impressed by their current offerings. Not only are they making luxurious cases for iPhones and iPads but they have expanded their lineup to include luggage and speakers made from carbon fiber. The bags are nice but I think their iPhone and iPad cases are still the standout products.  Judie reviewed one of the new cases for the iPhone 5 back in February. (Read the review.) The iPhone case is nice but the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell… now that is an amazing carbon fiber case! The MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell is thin, light, looks great and provides great scratch protection for your full-size iPad. Let’s take a closer look at it.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

The MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell is thin and light. At 40 grams in weight and just 0.6mm thick it looks and feels as if it isn’t really there. Honestly, the first time you pick it up you cannot help but be surprised by how light it actually is. Carbon fiber is truly an amazing material!

As with all MonCarbone cases the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell has the company name, logo and “carbon fiber scenario” printed in white. Thankfully the company was kind enough to put these markings on the inside of the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell rather than the outside. That way you’ll always know who makes the shell but it is hidden whenever an iPad is in place.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

If you look at the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell too quickly you might think it is one of those plastic-made-to-look-like-carbon-fiber cases that are so prevalent these days. This isn’t one of those cheap cases however. No, this is real carbon fiber that is tailor-made and handcrafted. It is an amazing material that looks and feels like nothing else. (Yeah, I have a thing for carbon fiber!)

In the case of the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell the company employs an “advanced weaving design specifically developed to mirror the diamond’s shape”. And because the carbon fiber fabric is handmade there are natural imperfections because of unavoidable “non-straight weaving patterns”. Some might not like these small imperfections. I happen to think it adds to the charm and uniqueness of this shell.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

The MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell is compatible with 3rd and 4th generation iPad. When in place it looks and feels like a second skin on the iPad thanks to the accuracy of the fit and the cutouts. This image shows just how precise all the cutouts on the case are. Yes, as much as the actual carbon fiber fabric may reflect the imperfections of its human creators the actual case is… perfect.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

The bottom of the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell also reflects the precise fit and finish of the shell. The 30-pin connector (wow those look ancient already!) is left open just enough to accommodate the USB to 30-pin cable connector. The speaker is protected but exposed. Obviously it is not hard to imagine the next generation of this shell having a smaller middle opening thanks to the use of a Lighting connector and two openings for the stereo speakers on the (can’t come soon enough) 5th generation iPad.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

A case like the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell isn’t for someone who wants maximum protection for their Apple tablet. No, this shell is for the person who wants to protect their 3rd or 4th generation iPad from scratches but doesn’t want to add weight or bulk and doesn’t want to use a stick-on skin. The MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell fits the bill perfectly. It completely protects the back and sides of the iPad but leaves the screen fully exposed. More than that, when you look at the iPad from the front you don’t even know it is there.

MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate carbon Fiber iPad Shell

Judie and I have always been fans of MonCarbone’s cases and the MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell is no exception. It is thin and light, looks great and screams class. My only issue with this shell? It fits the 3rd and 4th generation iPad and I’m currently using just an iPad mini. It just might be time for me to go shopping on the company’s website. 🙂 You can learn more and order yours here on the product page.

MSRP: $89.99

What I Like: Thin and light; Perfect fit; Excellent scratch protection; Looks classy; It’s carbon fiber and carbon fiber is cool

What Needs Improvement: No bump or drop protection; Pricier than skins that offer similar scratch protection

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

One Response to " MonCarbone Black Diamond Smartt Mate Carbon Fiber iPad Shell Review "

  1. David Littlefield says:

    I just got one of these ipad cases on ebay for $10! I actually thought I was ordering the matte finish. but to my surprise I received the Black Diamond in the Midnight gloss finish. WOW!!! The carbon fiber seems to have a 3D effect. It’s just too cool!

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