Speck FitFolio Case for iPad mini is Workaday

| In-Depth Review

The Speck FitFolio case for the iPad mini is a folio case that closes book style and protects all sides of the mini. The flexible cover also folds and provides for several different viewing angles. What Speck calls "vegan-leather" or, alternatively, fabric outer material comes in nine solid and patterned colors. This case is solid but not exceptional and has some annoyances.

This kind of case is good for people on the go who need to protect both the front and the back of the iPad mini, especially if it's thrown into a backpack or luggage with other things. The lid closes to cover the display, and there's clasp that snaps to keep it shut. (Although the downside is that it seems in the way when reading a book.) The FitFolio's marketing claim is that it's slim, lightweight, and feels good in the hand. I agree with all that.

Using the Case

There is a plastic inner shell that snaps around the edges of the iPad mini to keep it secure. Attached to that shell is a soft outer shell that's what I call faux-leather for the solid colors and fabric for the patterned colors on the outside. It's microsuede on the inside. The manner in which those two are connected seems a little sketchy to me, something that might be a failure point down the road, but that's just my opinion.

By folding the cover back and around, one can lay the iPad mini back at an extreme angle in landscape mode. It seems to fold in an ungainly fashion, but gets the job done.

Alternatively, there are detents in the cover that allow a raised edge to drop in and stand up the mini at several different angles. (See Speck's glamor shot at the top of this review.) There are no formal upright (portrait) modes other than cradling the mini in your hand like a book.

When you do cradle this iPad, the cover can fold all the way around and lay fairly flat against the back. I like that. I had a folio case long ago for an original iPad that didn't fold around the back well, and the cover was always in the way. I stopped using it.

Despite this nice fold, or perhaps because of it, the cover doesn't ever really lay perfectly flat on the face of the iPad mini. In fact, it has an odd curve that bends twice. That left me feeling that something wasn't thought out, or there were engineering compromises in the materials. In any case, it just doesn't look very good from the side and detracts from the drop-dead gorgeous design of the iPad mini.

Cover bends twice, awkwardly, and also shows a bit of delamination on right edge.

There are no magnets, like Apple's Smart Cover, to support the wake from sleep function. The power button gets fairly well recessed. That's good to avoid accidental action, but makes taking screen shots a lot harder.

Packaging

The packaging is handsome, protective, and yet still reveals the design and texture of the FitFolio. A sheet of foam inside helps it keep its shape, and there's a paper insert showing how to bend the cover around to create one of the viewing angles. On the back of the paper, Speck's one year warranty is explained in detail.

The packaging presents well.

What I Liked

  • All ports accessible
  • Complete coverage, front and back
  • Soft outer materials, Microsuede interior
  • Clasp to keep cover in place
  • Nine color choices
  • Cover folds all the way around to the back
  • Realistic price

What I Didn't Like

  • The attachment of outer cover to shell appears weak and/or subject to wear
  • The cover doesn't lay flat on the face of the iPad mini
  • The way the cover folds in the low angle looks awkward, unaesthetic
  • Fit and finish on the back has a considerable gap, where the plastic meets the outer covering
  • Camera port has no black anti-glare treatment
  • Clasp seems to get in the way, especially when reading a book
  • No magnets for wake from sleep
  • The iPad's power switch is somewhat recessed and is a little hard to get to. One of those outer rubber buttons that provides some leverage would have been nice

Case Closed

This is a decent, workaday case that will serve its purpose. However, lots of little things bothered me, listed above, and so my discomfort bucket got too full. All in all, I wasn't blown away. And yet it's a serviceable case in a pinch. Balancing the positives and negatives, it earns a solid rating, 3/5.

Product: FitFolio Case for iPad mini

Company: Speck Products

List Price: US$34.95

Pros:

Complete coverage, soft materials, nine color choices, solid and patterned, sturdy clasp, cover folds to support several viewing modes.

Cons:

A certain lack of aesthetic appeal in design and appearance, cover doesn't lay flat, no magnets for wake from sleep, deeply recessed power button, no anti-glare black on camera aperture, clasp can also get in the way.

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