The Speck HandlyShell case for iPad 2,3 & 4 is a soft rubbery case with an extraordinary handle on the back. The loop/handle can serve as a way to hold the iPad for presenters or broadcasters and also allows the iPad to stand, in several ways, at many angles on a table.
This case from Speck Products supports the idea that a tablet like the iPad is often used in a certain kind of operational environment, say a laboratory, school or TV broadcast environment. The iPad is sometimes held while standing for presentation or data input, and then it’s put down on a table for viewing, and then it may be carried by hand from one place to another in a kind of a casual, suitcase mode with a handle -- instead of being cradled and possibly dropped.
In order to do that, the case needs a robust, well designed handle that can both prop up the iPad and also serve as a carrying handle, and that’s exactly what the HandlyShell has.
The stiff hinge stays where you put it.
Using the HandyShell
Think of this case as a gel case that wraps around the back and edge of the iPad, but also has a sturdy plastic back to support the handle. The design is a hybrid: the edges are a soft material that can flex and allow the case to wrap around the edges of the iPad. That way, if the iPad falls face forward, the soft, raised edge protects the face from direct impact.
Image Credit: Speck Products
The back of the case is a much harder plastic that has a soft, textured loop attached on a swivel. The nice thing about the design is that you can stand the iPad up in either portrait or landscape mode, and the koop can be at either end in portrait mode providing many different viewing angles. That works because the hinge is very stiff, so it stays where you put it.
Many angles are possible in portrait mode. The hinge moves 180 deg.
The case and handle/loop come in several different color pairs. Mine was black and yellow, but there are also “pebble + lilac (purple)” and “black + dark grey.” All ports and controls are accessible.
I can see how TV news broadcasters or weather forecasters would love a case like this because it can be held in the hand securely while standing up or placed on a desk as a monitoring device. It would also be great in the lab or hospital, carried from place to place. Students who want to get a good grip on their iPad without having to cradle it and risk dropping it will be pleased. The handle folds flat either way, rotating a full 180 degrees, and when folded in the short direction provides a convenient way to slide an iPad into a map pocket and extract it easily with the handle. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Packaging & Product Materials
The HandyShell comes in a great package that protects the case well and showcases it on the rack. It won’t require a chain saw to open the case. The ruggedness of the case, the sturdiness of the hinge, and the fit and finish look solid. As I mentioned above, the soft edge, which feels like silicone, make it easy to install, but also seems to pick up some dirt and lint.
Packaging is attractive, secure and reveals product design.
The case comes with Speck’s standard one year warranty. Compared to some iPhone cases that sell for as much as US$50, this case, at $54.95, is well priced for what you get.
I’ve never seen an iPad case with this kind of versatility and protection. It looks handsome, is solid, and is very well made. The hinge stays where you put, and the weight of the iPad won’t overcome it. The color choices are low-key technical.
If you plan to use the iPad in a mixed operational environment when you have to stand with it, present with it, and carry it around a lot, and prop it up for viewing at many different angles, I can’t think of a better case than Speck’s HandyShell.