A few weeks ago we posted the news that a new series of carbon fiber shells were coming to market for the iPad and iPhone. The shells, called HoverCoat, come from monCarbone and are available for pre-order now. The iPad shells have an MSRP of $89.99. Is a shell that only protects the back and sides — but does nothing to protect the screen — worth close to $100??? Read on to find out.
From The Company:
Carbon fiber is the ideal material to appeal to high?end users in the electronic accessories market, according to monCarbone. The precision engineering of carbon fiber provides high tensile strength and durability greater than the properties of steel! Through its unique crisscross pattern, it also provides an elegant look and the feel of luxury.
“Previously used only in the aerospace industry, top racing cars and high?end sports equipment, carbon fiber is virtually unbreakable and offers sports car styling,” Ming continued. ‘iPad users don’t want just another run?of?the?mill plastic or silicon cover to protect their device! They want something that truly stands out in a crowd, without adding bulk and weight, to maintain and protect the beauty of their device – and HoverCoat is the solution!”
Hand Crafted, tailor-made iPad case cover
Reinforced scratch resistant finish
Made from 720,000 carbon fiber strings
Complete access to all iPad controls
UV resistant features prevent discoloration of the case under sunlight
With the HoverCoat stats matter. The shell is just 0.6mm thick (less than .03”) and weighs less than 42 grams (less than 1.5 oz). That means when you first take it out of the box it feels light as a feather. It is a snug fit, and yet it —
…covers the iPad device snugly and flawlessly. Intelligent design allows complete access to controls and ports…
The review unit we received is the company’s “Mystery Black”. This is the matte finished carbon fiber. The company also sells one in “Midnight Black” which is the glossy finish we normally associate with carbon fiber. At first I had a mixed reaction to the matte finish on this shell. I’m used to a glossier finish and wasn’t sure I liked the matte look and feel. After using it for a while though, I’m sold on it. It looks nice, feels great, and it offers superb protection without calling attention to itself.
The shell is stamped with the company name and logo… but it’s on the inside, so it’s there but unseen when using the case. I love that!
As you can see here, the shell is perfectly molded to the back of the iPad; it turns up to cover the sides at all points, except those that need to leave access to buttons and ports.
Carbon fiber can impact signal strength apparently, so the HoverCoat has a series of holes punched out where the 3G antenna is on the iPad WiFi + 3G. I’m not noticing any signal degradation while using it, however.
As noted, the cutouts for the buttons and controls leave complete access to the device.
As an aside: If you take a close look above the “Di” in the water mark above, you will see a good example of something that WOULD NOT be there had I been using the HoverCoat a few weeks ago. 🙁
Here is a view from the top. Again, you can see the precision taken to ensure the buttons and controls are fully accessible.
The HoverCoat is a pretty amazing accessory for the iPad. When you first hold it … it feels like nothing. It is so light and thin that you can’t imagine it offering any significant protection. But it is its thin/light aspect that makes the HoverCoat so unique. It fits the iPad like a second skin, adds no noticeable bulk or weight, it protects the sides and back perfectly , and because it is carbon fiber it is super strong. Unlike skins such as Clear-Coat or the ZAGG leatherSKIN (both of which I like very much), it offers immediate protection to the sides (the Clear-Coat has side protection but needs to be applied separately, while the leatherSKIN does not protect the sides at all), and it is easily removed and then put back on.
Another nice aspect of the shell is that I have yet to find a case that doesn’t work while the HoverCoat is on. That means I can get screen protection when I want it, or I can have everything but the screen protected when I want that. Oh, and if you are wondering if the iPad will work with the keyboard dock while the HoverCoat is on… wonder no more. It works perfectly.
So is the HoverCoat worth an MSRP of $89.99? Considering what the 64GB WiFi + 3G iPad costs, it strikes me as a fairly reasonable insurance policy. When you consider that the leatherSKIN I previously reviewed cost $49.99 and it isn’t reusable, I think the monCarbone HoverCoat Carbon Fiber Shell is a worthwhile investment.
The monCarbone HoverCoat for the Apple iPad is not cheap… but it is awesome!
The HoverCoat can be ordered directly from.
What I Like: The HoverCoat is super light and thin; it protects back and sides; it’s easily put on and taken off; it adds a nice textured grip to the back; it looks cool
What Needs Improvement: It’s pricey; the carbon fiber may affect signal strength
Now that you are done reading this review, make sure to jump on over to the company website. It is artistically done and decidedly NSFW.