Incase Convertible Book Jacket for iPad

| Just a Peek

A peculiarity about owning devices is that we buy them partly because they are small and portable, but then we make them larger and bulkier to keep them safe.

The iPad is a sturdy device, more so than a MacBook Pro, I wager, because it has no external and few internal moving parts. There are no hinges, clasps, hard drives, or dvd players to stop opening, grabbing, spinning, or scanning. It’s just a pretty slab of aluminum and glass that wakes up almost instantly at the touch of a button, ready to do its digital duty.

The problem is that you’ll want to protect it, and in doing so you ruin its beauty.

Any case you put on your iPad diminishes it in both function and aesthetics. Take one of those neoprene covers, for example; to protect the iPad they must have thickness. If it’s thick then it adds bulk, making your sleek tablet chubby in all the wrong places. Hardshell cases are thinner than the neoprene models, but they tend to cheapen the classy brushed aluminum look, replacing it with colorful plastic. A slipcover case hides the iPad and you have to remove the device from the case to use it, thus negating the protection of the case.

Then there are the “clamshell” cases. These are the ones that fully encase your iPad and have a hinged cover to protect the glass screen. While these cases arguably do the best job of keeping your iPad safe, they also conceal your iPad the most, and add the most bulk.

Since it looks like we’re going to pad out our devices anyway we may as well get the best case we can. Unfortunately, the Incase Convertible Book Jacket for iPad doesn’t quite fit the bill.

At first glance the Incase Jacket looks like it should do a better than average job of protecting my iPad. The covering panels are thick and leather-like, it provides good corner and edge protection, every part that touches my iPad is covered with a felt-like cloth material, and when my iPad is in it the case makes the device feel even more substantive than it already does. Add to that the convenience of a built-in stand and you have a case that appears to be just what the doctor ordered.

Using the case for a week, however, revealed at least one glaring problem: My iPad tends to slide out of the case when in use. This is especially noticeable while using the case as a landscape stand. As you can see in the photo, the side of my iPad is peeking out of the bottom. Fortunately, in this setup, only the very edge of the screen is covered. It becomes a real problem when I’m playing games. I’m not sure why it happens, but after about five minutes of play my iPad is far enough out of the case that the side of the screen is covered enough to interfere with gameplay, and I must push it back in. If that wasn’t bad enough, because the iPad is not fully seated, all of the port openings in the case are off center and you have to push the device back in to plug in headsets or the sync cable.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard’s jersey would often ride up while he sat. When he stood he would use both hands and tug the jersey into its proper place. The Captain performed this tug so often that it became known as “The Picard Maneuver.” Such adjustments add depth to TV characters, but in real life it can be more than a little aggravating. Such is the case with the Incase Jacket.

The bulk of the case doesn’t help matters much either as I am now holding a device almost twice as thick and noticeably heavier.

It’s annoying, and for the sixty dollar asking price I shouldn’t have to keep shoving my iPad back in the case no matter what the situation.

The Incase Convertible Book Jacket for iPad looks good and does a good job of protecting your iPad, but in the end the added bulk and the insecure hold it has on my iPad diminishes it enough to where I can just barely Recommend* it.

Review Item Incase Convertible Book Jacket for iPad
Manufacturer InCase Designs

List Price


Street Price

US$59.95

US$47.95 (Amazon)

Minimum Requirements

iPad

* Note: My rating system goes like this:

  • Get it Now! - Highest rating and an absolute must-have
  • Highly recommend - Minor flaws, but a great product
  • Recommend - Flawed, but still a solid product
  • So-so - Problem product that may find a niche market
  • Avoid - Why did they bother making it? A money waster.

 

 

Comments

jameskatt

I don’t recommend this case.

Adding bulk and weight is the opposite of what the iPad is.  You might as well get a laptop at this point.

The stand design is not great since there is a lip hanging out that places space between the user and the screen.

Insecurely holding the iPad is a deal-breaker.

CTOatGFU

This case saved me an incredible amount of suffering when it protected my iPad that I left on the roof of my car and flew off at 55 mph. See post of the incident.

Vern Seward

Hi James: I gave the case my “Recommend” rating, but just barely, because it does protect the iPad and it is a serviceable stand if you can get around the slide-out problem.

I just bought Apple’s case and I think I like it better.

CTO: that’s quite a story. It is a good thing you had this case and not one of those thin plastic shells.

Vern Seward

ScottInTheOC

I’ve had my Incase convertible case since day one and have been happy. Yes, it does creep out of place, but for me, it hasn’t been a deal breaker, I nudge it back in place. I bought this case more for protection than anything else. While Apple’s case is sleek and thin and beautiful, it was that thin case that gave me caution. I’m also not a big fan of the material Apple’s case is made of, shows every scratch. I do like that I can have the various positions to prop my iPad up especially when i’m using the Bluetooth keyboard. I carry my iPad in a ace full of other iDevices and with this case I know it’s well protected.

Maybe if Incase had to redesign it, maybe make it top loading and that will help with the creep problem…

melgross

I’d like to see two things in cases.

The first would be a case that holds the iPad in a good vertical OR horizontal position. So, cases do either, but not both. My Apple case does a pretty good job, but I had to make minor mods. One was to remove the case where the speaker is. The holes are useless. Now, its noticeably louder, and less muffled.

The second was to remove just a small bit above the rotation switch, so it was easier to get to. The last was to remove a bit off the edge of the cover where it inserts into the flap for use as a stand. That tiny bit allows the iPad to lean back just a bit, making it more stable.

So far, with those mods, this is the best case I’ve seen or tried.

The second would be a case with a shoulder strap that isn’t 5 inches deep. For some odd reason, case manufacturers seem to think we want to hold everything we own in a case for our iPads if we’re going to hang it on our shoulder. Why is that? I would like something thin, but wide enough to allow my Apple case inside as well. A case that’s not more than about an inch thick should do it.

John G

I bought this case and really like it.  It does a great job of protecting the iPad bot in and out of my messenger bag.  While the issue of the iPad sliding out while in Landscape mode is annoying, there is a simple fix.  You simply open the case the opposite way with the open end up.  Granted, there are no grooves to catch and adjust the angle, but frankly, they are not needed.  I give this case a ‘Highly Recommended’

Vern Seward

Hi John G
You shouldn’t have to “fix” any new product, much less one you’ve laid $60 for. You fix is not really a fix, you’re not using the case the way it was designed to be used.

I stand by my ‘Recommended’ rating, and just barely that, for the reasons I stated.

If you like your case and are willing to put up with the problems, that’s up to you, but there are problems.

Vern Seward

melgross

Vern, does it really matter if he reverses the way he folds it? It doesn’t seem so. If it works well that way, then the problem is eliminated. Don’t be so defensive of your own review.

Jerbo

John G. Thanks so much for you idea. It works perfectly for me and I was really getting frustrated with the iPad slipping out (which is why I Googled “How to stop your iPad from slipping out of your Incase case” and found this review).

Not only was the it bugging me that the iPad was slipping but the flap was starting to curl up a little bit. Using it this way applies pressure in the opposite direction to help counteract the curl.

Vern, it doesn’t matter that we are not using the case the way it was designed. It works perfectly this way. Maybe, just maybe, those grooves in the other side of the flap weren’t there as stops for the tilt angle, maybe they were just trying to remove a little material to light up the case. wink

Speaking of lightening up. Lighten up Dude! This is a great fix that makes me love my case again.

Geth

@melgross the review was good. The reason why it gets a “barely recommended” rating is readily stated. If you go with John G, you might give a “highly recommended” rating with a note; something like “if you don’t mind flipping it the other way round and not using the grooves”. Personally, I think that for a pricey case such as this one, you’d expect all of the features to “work”. - I’d say: don’t be so hostile towards others’ opinions.

A comparison with all the other leather(like) book cases out there for the iPad would be nice though. Like the Malware or Belkin version, etc.

Jerbo

Vern, to be clear, I truly appreciate your review and agree with it. Had I read it before I bought the case I may not have spent the money.

However, since I already own it, I’m happy with John G’s fix.

What I would really like is a case like melgross asked for which is one that would work as a stand in either portrait or landscape mode.

Yesterday we bought my wife an iPad and she got a nice case from a kiosk outside the Apple Store that is thinner and stands her iPad up in portrait mode. Her iPad doesn’t slip out of this one because the opening is on the top but we still haven’t found one that works both ways.

I tried to find my wife’s case on the web so I could post a link here. I couldn’t find it so I called the kiosk and they told me it is their own case they import from China. Oh well.

melgross

Geth, the hostile attitude was from Vern to James. He could have just said to him that he had a good idea, and that if it worked, it eliminated the objection. I just pointed out that he shouldn’t be defensive. A “barely recommended” rating is not a good review. It’s a C-.

Vern Seward

Hello all,

For those of you who own and like the Incase jacket and are willing to put up with its shortfalls then I have no comment and this review was not intended for you. Any review is primarily focused on those folks who are in the market for a device and are looking for objective opinions about it, which is what I offer. And the bottom line, as I stated before, is that if you have to “fix” a new device then something seriously wrong with that device. Look at it from the point of view of a potential buyer. That there is a fix, however simple, if something worth noting, but I would want to know the problem.

Melgross: I don’t believe I was hostile towards anyone. Just stating and restating what I stated in my review.

Vern Seward

melgross

Vern, I’m sorry, I just repeated the word used by the other poster towards my comment. I did say defensive. My comments weren’t hostile towards you either. My feeling is that if the case works with a minor twist, then it works. It doesn’t always matter what the manufacturers instructions are.

Vern Seward

Hi Melgross, it’s all good. No need for apology.

Btw, I bought an Apple case and never needed to mod it. All the openings are where they are suppose to be on mine, and they are all big enough to get to the buttons and ports. I guess I don’t understand why you needed to mod yours.

The Apple case is the best case I’ve seen so far that’s not a sleeve, but I always have an eye out for something better still.

I’ll look at Belkin.

Vern

melgross

Happy we’re ok.

I know several people with Apple’s case. All seem to have the same “problem’s” I have had. The case definitely does muffle the sound. I measured that with my spectrum analyzer. When I cut that part covering the speakers away, the sound was louder by 3 db. The high end of the frequency response was also measurably better, by 5 db at 10 KHz. Those are significant numbers!

As for the rotation switch, the switch is just a little bit too close to the case on the top. It’s difficult to get a finger to push it down. Removing about an eighth inch solved that.

The last thing is that all the cases stand too straight. They are somewhat unsteady when touched, and don’t have the best angle for viewing. Removing that tiny amount at the edge helped, but not as much as it needs.

I admit that I’m a perfectionist. I owned an audio manufacturing company for a number of years, and designed much equipment, in addition to having my own shops in metal, woodworking, plastics and electronics in my home. I guess because of that, I’m always evaluating products, and am annoyed at small design problems that could have been taken care of. This case is a great case even without my small mods. But it’s a better one with them.

melgross

Oh, I meant to say as I did in my earlier post, that we really need a slim, over the shoulder carrying case. Not something like the Apple case, and those from others, but, and you know what I mean, something to hold this in a slim, small package that will allow the slip case to remain on.

When I bought my 3G iPhone, I bought an Incase skin to eliminate the slipperiness of the phone, and to help prevent damage if it fell. Then I bought one of their belt cases (over $40!) to put that in. Incase said it would fit, but it was too tight. I had a case from my old Treo 700p, and it fit perfectly! The phone was thicker, but around the same size otherwise.

So what we need is a OTS design that’s just slightly bigger. Why do manufacturers think that we want huge cases made out of fugly ballistic nylon, with pockets for 10 other items? I suppose I’m going to have to design my own.

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