This is the fourth in a series of reviews of iPad 2 cases that wrap around the back and sides. Some also come with a screen protector, but the iLuv Flexi Gel case does not. The product is very similar to the previously reviewed Scosche GlosSEE p2, with minor differences. Because of the similarities, I’ll be making occasional comparison to that product.
iLuv Packaging blue (back) side by side with red (front)
The iLuv Flexi Gel Case is made of flexible rubber, and is fairly soft. The idea behind this kind of soft, rubbery case is that it provides a superior grip and isn’t likely to slide on a mildy slanted surface. (See below.) The iLuv case feels just a bit thicker than the Scosche case and has a more textured, non-reflective surface. I received two cases for review, a deep blue and a red. The packaging is the best I’ve seen yet — very stiff, secure plastic that protects the case well. It’s almost too hard to open. One neat feature of the sturdy packaging is a hole (visible above, on the right) so that you can put your finger through while shopping in a store and feel the texture of the case. That’s a great touch.
GlosSEE p2 (left) next to Flexi Gel Case (right). Note difference in texture.
Like the glosSEE case, you slide the iPad 2 in on one side and pull the flexible edges around. It stays there securely, yet is easy to remove because it’s so soft. Even though the Flexi Gel Case is a tad thicker than the GlosSEE, the Apple logo and all the text on the back of the iPad remain visible. The edges that come around to the face clip nicely, but don’t get in the way. However, I did find that while the case envelopes the iPad nicely and holds firmly, the soft edges around the face tend to give a little in the same fashion as the GlosSEE case. If that slight give bothers you, you may want a firmer case like the Macally SNAP2-MR or the Scosche polycarbonate snapSHIELD p2. It’s just the nature of the material.
Edge view close up (it gives slightly)
Below is a photo of the back of the iPad that shows how it wraps around and but has openings at the bottom. Also, just like the Schsche case, the cutout for the volume controls isn’t really an opening — it’s just an indented region that has a tactile feel. It’s easy to change the sound by pressing through the case. The opening for the rear facing camera is just a little larger than the GlosSEE, and it looks somewhat weird by comparison.
Back of Case w/ iPad 2
I noted with amusement that there’s an opening in this case for the microSIM - for those users with a 3G model. Considering how easy it is to remove the case and how seldom one would ever remove the microSIM, this seems like an odd cutout that can only add to manufacturing costs and weaken the case in that area.
What I Liked
This kind of case creates a softer, warmer, easier to grip surface than polycarbonate, yet I am finding that I also like the stiffer polycarbonate cases as well. It’s very, very hard to decide. A gel case doesn’t contribute to the solidity of the iPad, rather, it makes the iPad feel all gooey and rubbery. As I said above, if you’re likely to set it on a slanted surface, it’s less likely to slide. I also suspect that it’s harder to scratch than polycarbonate, but I didn’t do any scratch testing.
I suspected that the iLuv case, being somewhat rougher, wouldn’t slide as easily on a slanted surface compared to the GlosSEE, which is smooth, reflective, but also rubbery. I was wrong. Testing showed that the both started sliding on a cutting board surface at just about a 15 degree angle. No difference.
Available colors are great: clear, smoke, black, red and blue. The red is a deeper red than the almost pink one would surmise from the company’s website. Except for the clear case, these are transparent, saturated colors that look handsome. Even so, the Apple logo and text on the back of the iPad show through even for the colored cases, though not a clearly as the thinner, more transparent GlosSEE case.
The Red Flexi Gel Case (note how desk remains visible behind)
Previously, I complained that the Macally SNAP2-MR picks up finger prints. Like the Scosche GlosSEE, this case will not pick up visible finger prints.
What I Didn’t Like
The pricing for this case is far out of line compared to the other cases, being $40 compared to $30 for the Scosche and Macally cases. Considering that this Flexi Gel Case is almost indistinguishable from the Scosche GlosSEE case, I’ll have to fault iLuv for being out of bounds here, and that drops the rating a bit to 3 out of 5.
Making the Case
The key difference between the iLuv Flexi Gel case compared to the Scosche GlosSEE is the surface texture and price. If you like a soft, gel case that’s smooth and reflective but easier to see through (which looks rather cool when you handle it), then go with the Scosche GlosSEE. If you prefer a case that’s a little thicker and has a more textured surface, go with the iLuv Flexi Gel Case — if you don’t mind spending more.
A Note About Cases
The kind of iPad case you need depends on how you use your iPad. If you travel frequently, you may want a folio case or the Apple iPad Smart Cover that protects the face. However, my iPad tends to be in my office on my Keynamics iPad stand or in my lap on the couch. There are no kids in the house, just well behaved cats. So my iPad remains fairly protected, and what I am interested in is “swipe and go.” I don’t want anything else wrapped around the iPad that will get in my way on my lap, and what I really need is something to protect that back and sides from grit or sticky stuff on my desk or the coffee table. That’s the special appeal of this kind of case.
Flexi Gel Case on the Keynamics iPad stand.