Aranez Ascend Case for the iPad mini Review

iPad Gear

We’ve reviewed a number of products from including some iPhone and iPad cases and, most recently, a case for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Many of the cases we have used from the company are crafted from kangaroo leather, which is soft, supple and both looks and feels great. This time out we are looking at the first iPad mini case from the company. A folio-style case, the Ascend is made from cow leather, but it is immediately recognizable as an Aranez product thanks to the clean lines, contrasting stitching and, of course, the Aranez name on the front cover’s lower right corner.

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The Ascend uses the familiar “iPad-behind-a-frame-of-leather” approach to hold the iPad securely in place while continuing to allow full access to the screen; I so appreciate this approach. The leather itself is fairly thin. This is a good thing, since it means there isn’t much of a raised rim circling the tablet’s screen. It also means that, were you to place the open case face down on a table, the screen will not come into direct contact with the surface. That’s a nice degree of added protection without tons of added bulk.

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As you can see, the iPad slips inside the case and then an extra flap of leather goes around the left side of the tablet and tucks neatly behind it. The result is a secure method of truly “locking” the iPad in place. Yes, it does mean a little bit of added thickness at that point, but the leather is fine enough that even this triple layer isn’t all too thick. Let me be clear, the leather is thin, but it is not too thin.

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On the right side of this image you can see the tab of extra leather in its “official” place. Just imagine an iPad in the case and you get an idea of just how secure the iPad is once inside. On the left side of the case, the inside of the cover, are three slots for credits cards or something of similar size. Many of the iPad cases I have used and reviewed have featured this “extra” and while I have never found myself putting them to work I certainly appreciate having them there. It costs nothing, and having the option to use them if one so desires is nice.

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Around the back of the case you’ll see a tab of extra material. The portion secured to the case is made from leather and the same contrasting thread is used to secure it in place. Next to it is a length of soft, loose cloth. This is the method Aranez opted to use when converting the case into a stand.

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The cover, which has a 1/3-2/3 split, folds back. The edge of the larger portion gets wedged into the case, and the cover turns into a two-position stand. I found it to be excellent for viewing videos — when it didn’t slip out that is — but a bit too steep for typing. That’s my way of saying that it is nice to have the built-in stand, but I have seen and used versions that held the iPad in place more securely and came in at a better angle for my taste.

Here’s a video of the case.

The Aranez Ascend for the iPad mini is a good leather case. case. It is made from real leather, has silver stitching that stands out in a complimentary way, and it includes built-in business and credit card holders. The Ascend provides access to all buttons and charge ports, as well. I don’t find the built-in stand to be ideal, but my bigger complaint has to do with the binding that connects the cover and the tablet portion of the case.

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The binding is a rigid strip, the likes of which you would find on a large book with a hard cover. When you flip the cover around to the back, this ridge of material maintains a gaps between the front and back of the case. The result is a subtle angle from one side to the other. This may simply be an issue of personal taste, but I prefer cases in which the cover, when flipped around to the back, sits perfectly flat as if it were not there in the first place. All this is not to say that I dislike the Ascend — it is actually a well made, good-looking, and functional case — and coming in at under $80 for a leather case, it is actually a good deal. Although the Ascend isn’t my ideal case, that is obviously a matter of personal taste. The company’s promotional shots shown in the below gallery will help give you a better idea of whether or not this case would work well for you.

The Aranez Ascend is available directly from the manufacturer.

MSRP: $79.99

What I Like: Cow leather with accent stitching; Very well crafted; Great design for securing the iPad mini in place; Card slots inside the cover; Cover serves as a two-position stand

What Needs Improvement: The stand mechanism can easily slip loose and the typing-mode for the stand design is too steep for me; Cover does not sit flush on the back when folded over

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

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.

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