The other day we brought word that Case-Mate was rolling out a new case/stand for the iPad. The $89.99 case looks to combine real protection, style and function. The case was just announced last Friday but is already shipping.
We now have one in hand so let’s take a look…
Introducing the Venture case, where form meets function. The beautiful Venture case comes with stand built into it. Simply unsnap the cover and it folds back under itself to create a stand that will prop your iPad up. So you no longer have to awkwardly try to hold it at all times!
Folding cover that doubles as a stand
Side-opening with colorful accent
Front cover securely snaps into place to protect your iPad at all times
Access to all ports and buttons
Let me begin with my conclusion: I love this case. I think it is absolutely awesome. This case goes head-to-head with Apple’s case in that it is thin, light and highly protective, but it runs circles around Apple’s case; in fact it runs circles around most of the cases I have used since first getting my iPad.
So let’s take a walk around the Venture.
The case is made from black polyurethane material with green accent piping. As a premium-priced case I was surprised it was made from synthetic materials. When I saw it and held it however that changed. I was immediately impressed. The slightly textured surface of the Venture feels great in your hand and looks awesome in person. Even Elana looked at it and said, “Okay, now THAT is a nice case.” (And if you knew my wife you would know that is truly HIGH praise! Seriously!)
The venture is a folio-style case. The iPad slips inside its compartment from the middle, and a flap folds over the screen when the iPad is not in use.
Like the Apple case, once inside, the iPad is secured in place. Unlike the Apple case, however, which has a large annoying flap that has to be pushed into the case behind the iPad, the Venture takes a finessed approach that involves a thin piece of material and velcro. Once the iPad is inside you simple fold the material over the opening and let the Velcro do the rest. This system makes it easier to secure the iPad, faster to remove the iPad and, overall, it just looks better.
The protective cover of the Venture is secured in place by a single snap in the lower right portion of the case. The lack of a mechanism to hold the flap closed was one of my major beefs with the Apple case. Case-Mate didn’t make the same mistake. At the same time companies such as Orbino use magnets to hold the flap in place. That is a problem in and off itself since iDevices and magnets don’t always mix too well. Thus the choice to use a snap to hold the flap closed was excellent, and the placement of it in the lower right hand side means it doesn’t get in the way.
Once the cover is snapped open it can fold back against the back and lie completely flat. It makes holding the iPad comfortable, and the thin material used to hold the iPad in means you don’t have to give a second thought to it accidentally slipping out. The slightly textured surface of the material also helps with keeping hold of the delicate device.
In all, Case-Mate made some great choices when designing the Venture.
When the iPad is in the case the dock port is fully exposed and accessible. No, you can’t use Apple’s dock or keyboard dock with it, but you can sync and charge the iPad without removing the device.
The speaker is protected but unblocked, so there is no loss in sound volume or quality.
The Venture also leaves accessible the volume control and rotation lock although the lock is a bit harder to access.
Similarly the power button, headphone jack and microphone are unblocked, but the majority of the top is protected from scratches and minor bumps and bruises.
The Venture is so thin that you might not notice the doubling up of material on part of the back. This “hides” the mechanism by which the Venture can serve as a stand in its own right. It is a far cry from Apple’s system on its case which, while it works, is far from elegant. (You place the end of the flap in a small piece of material on the back.) The Venture uses extra material that runs the full length of the case and high quality ribbon to “lock” it in place. Two snaps keep the mechanism closed and out of sight until you unsnap them. When you do the case opens up and…
… it stands on its own at a perfect viewing angle. Thanks to the design, the iPad feels secure in its open position.
The only thing I wish the Venture did was also allow the iPad to sit at the same shallow angle at the Apple case, since that position was perfect for setting the iPad on the table and typing away on the screen. To do that with the Venture you need to simply prop the iPad up on something.
If you haven’t figured it out, I really like this case. I like the look, I like the feel, I like the functionality. It doesn’t add much thickness or weight to the iPad and does a great job protecting it from bumps and scratches. The compartment for the iPad holds the device snugly but also has enough space so that an iPad with a Clear-Coat or decal skin can slide in easily. It offers, to use Elana’s words, “Excellent design both aesthetically and functionally.” It is an awesome case, and I can see it being a hit with anyone who is looking for a premium case that also offers a built-in stand.
The only downside I can see to the Venture is its price. At $89.99 it is more than double the price of Apple’s case (although it’s so much nicer than Apple’s offering!), and t is only $10 less than Sena’s Folio for iPad — and the Folio is 100% leather. That may make it a hard sell for some, but for that $89.99 you’ll get a case that looks and feels fantastic and is among the most usable cases I have tried.
What I Like: Looks great and feels high-end; Case-Mate made excellent design choices that add to the simplicity and the functionality of the case; The iPad is securely held inside thanks to a small, unobtrusive strap; The built-in stand adds minimal thickness or weight
What Needs Improvement: Doesn’t offer a “shallow” position which would be ideal for typing on the screen; It is a premium case and, as such, it carries a premium price