iPad 2 Case Review: Case-Mate Barely There


I love a minimalist case for my iPad and iPhone. I appreciate being able to add some protection to the somewhat delicate devices without losing the slim, light look and feel Apple has been able to achieve. It is the reason I have been a fan of Case-Mate’s Barely There series  cases since they first appeared on the scene, and I have been lucky enough to review one for pretty much each of the devices I have owned since.

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The company has released the iPad 2 version of the Barely There and were kind enough to send a review sample over. It continues the tradition of minimalist protection and does so with a nice, soft-touch material. Here’s a look…

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From Case-Mate:

Think less case and more talk. The Barely There iPad 2 case shows off your iPad with its slim and minimal case design. One of our most popular cases, the Barely There combines style with function for the ultimate slim iPad 2 case.

Offering a layer of protection and polish, the Barely There case reveals more of your iPad 2. Colorful shades add a modern look, without the bulk. Made from specially engineered materials, including a hard-to-break plastic shell, the form fitting case slims in all the right places.

Extremely slim profile showcases more of your iPad 2

Form fit feature covers back and corners

Impact resistant, flexible plastic shell

Access to all ports and functions

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Here’s why the case has the name it does: from the front you can’t really tell the Barely There is even on the iPad. It is!

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In fact, if you take a closer look (apologies for the fingerprints, they just WOULD NOT go away!) you can see how the Barely There wraps around the sides of the iPad 2 just enough to get and keep a good grip on it. Despite what you might otherwise thing, this is a case that gets a hold on the iPad and keeps it until you consciously want to remove the iPad.

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If you love the Case-Mate logo and want to help advertise the company, then you are going to just love this case! Yes, the company name and logo are just about as prominent as they could possibly be on the back of the Bare-There. I don’t personally mind it all that much since I like the company and am happy to help them continue to build momentum, I do think that for $34.99 customers should not be forced to advertise the company.

The material used for the Barely There is the now-familiar soft touch plastic. It feels great in the hand and, thankfully, doesn’t gather fingerprints. Personally, if a case is not made out of leather, then I think I prefer this material over anything else. It looks and feels good while still protecting the device it covers.

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One of the key “features” of the Barely There is the fact that the case does not obscure any of the controls or ports and does not diminish the ease of use in the slightest. As you can see from this picture, that is certainly the case with the Barely There for iPad 2.

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Case-Mate made the unusual choice to leave the entire top of the iPad exposed. The corners ARE protected, and I suspect that gives more than enough coverage. After all, the corners are the mostly like areas to attract damage.

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You can see just how precisely the case hugs the iPad.

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The bottom is fully exposed as well.

I LOVE the Barely There series and this new product extends the line is an expected manner. It is well-made, minimalist, and great to hold. It truly enhances the feel of the iPad 2 without bulk and weight. Sadly, I do not see myself using it. Why? Simple. You can either use Apple’s Smart Covers OR the Case-Mate Barely There but you cannot use both. Unfortunately, the case covers the side of the iPad where the Smart Cover would otherwise attach. That is a shame, since the smart Cover functionality is one of the best things about the iPad 2 upgrade when compared to the original iPad. The smart sleep/awake is so convenient that I won’t use a case that doesn’t include the functionality any more. It’s a shame since the case is otherwise fantastic.

UPDATED: I got word last night that the company is indeed making a version of this case with the right cutouts so that it can work perfectly with Apple’s Smart Covers. That’s GREAT news and puts this case at the head of the class. The new version should arrive in about 4 weeks and I can already tell you that I for one will be using it immediately!

It you don’t need the smart Sleep/Awake functionality, then this case is totally worth a look. If you need that functionality, you can join with me in hoping that Case-Mate will release something like the “Barely There SC Edition”: The Barely There with Smart Cover Flexibility. And wait just a few weeks for it to arrive.

The Barely There for iPad 2 is currently available in black and pink and can be ordered directly from the Case-Mate website.

MSRP: $34.99

What I Like: Minimalist protection does not add significant bulk or weight; does not negatively impact the buttons, connection or ergonomics of the tablet; soft touch material feels great

What Needs Improvement: You cannot use it along with Apple’s Smart Covers: YET!!!



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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

5 Comments on "iPad 2 Case Review: Case-Mate Barely There"

  1. Rodney St. John | September 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm |

    I can’t wait till the next version comes out with the ability to use the Apple Smart Cover.  

  2. The smart touch plastic really appeals to me and I really like the overall look and design. The logo does seem a bit much but I’m not a stickler about such things.

  3. Minimal case – not sure I like the logo on the back but wouldn’t mind the protection w/ out much bulk!

  4. The simple design of this case is fantastic… other cases that are so bulky and full of decals, but this one is great for the clean design. Great work!

  5. Nice case, though skin might be more appropriate given its thinness. Good to hear there will be one that is smart cover compatible.

Comments are closed.