The iGearUnlimited iPad Mini Portfolio Case Is a Poor Choice [Updated]

| In-Depth Review

The iGearUnlimited Portfolio case for the iPad mini is an ill-fitting case that was poorly designed and not worth the money charged. It seems to me that this was quickly brought to market as one of the first available cases for the iPad mini and not well thought out.

These are some harsh criticisms, and I intend to back them up and tell you why this is not the case for you in an ever expanding market of well designed cases that are cost effective, better looking and provide far better functionality than the iGearUnlimited Portfolio offering.

The iPad mini Doesn't Fit Well in the Case

It doesn't fit the iPad mini very well. It's a bit too large and because of that the mini seems to knock around slightly when in the case. This causes problems, especially when it comes to lining up the holes that uncover the camera on the front and the back of the tablet. If you install the mini in the case and wrap the restraining envelope flap tightly which is held in place by a magnet, this is what you get.

If you look at the back, the camera hole doesn't line up right.

Because the case is too loose, you can knock the case in one direction or the other to make the camera holes line up, but this is a poor solution and is not the case with other, better designed, tighter fitting products.

The screen side of the case is too thick and, due to the limited side space, when the iPad mini is not perfectly placed in  the case it's impossible to tap on small sections on the right, left, top and bottom of the screen.

The Materials Are Second Rate

The construction is PU Leather. I checked into just what that is, and don't think you're really getting high quality leather, as found in many other cases. PU leather, also known as bycast leather, is what's left after the good leather has been removed. It's a man-made material that uses low quality split leather and covered with layers of polyurethane and then embossed. Don't be fooled into thinking you are buying a fine leather case.

Hard to Get to the Controls

The top and bottom of the case are ill-fitting and leave too much room between the case and the controls.  Here's what getting to the headphone jack looks like. Some headphones with large plugs just won't fit.

On the other side is the power button where, if you have large fingers, it might be a problem accessing.

Half the Speaker Holes Are Covered

A larger problem is a poorly designed bottom covering the two speakers. The case covers at least half the speaker holes which is inexcusable.

Poor Magnet Placement

The last problem is that although magnets were embedded to keep the portfolio closed along with another magnet on the flap to keep the iPad mini in the case, albeit much too loosely, the magnets are not properly aligned so that the display on/off function doesn't work, as it does in better (and not much more expensive) cases.

There is a latch on the back that the cover folds into giving you two viewing positions in landscape that are very close to the the same angle. Tilt it one way you get one position, tilt it the opposite way and there's the second position. Most other cases offer a good number of useful viewing, and some offer typing, positions.

Would I recommend it ?

No, I wouldn't. There are many other cases that are near the same price and offer a world of convenient functions, are made out of better material and are well designed. This is a very poor example of something seemingly rushed to market with little or no attention to fit, finish, design or detail. You can do much better when shopping for an iPod mini case.

Update, January 5: According to iGearUnlimited: "we will be liquidating our inventory of the portflolio case and discontinuing the product."

Product: iGearUnlimited Portfolio Case for the iPad mini

Company: iGearUnlimited

List Price: US$39.99

Pros:

The case will protect the screen.

Cons:

Poor design, too big for the iPad mini, camera holes don't line up, too thick to use the screen well, controls hard to access, poor material, limited viewing angles, no display on/off function, too expensive compared to the competition.

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Comments

Paul Robinson

Glad to see a thorough, critical, hard-hitting review!  There are not that many on the web on the bigger name sites as they avoid offending businesses/advertisers and simply aren’t that detaild oriented.  So, this was a refreshing change.

By the way, are you related to, perhaps the son of, Terry Winograd, who did that fantastic early artificial intelligence work with computer, machine recognition of blocks and how to stack them?!  I read his papers/reports and work way back then and he was doing brilliant work!

David Winograd

Thanks for the kind words. We at MacObserver call them as we see them. But we do try and back up and deficiencies we find with evidence and often pictures.

I don’t know Terry Winograd, but I do know his work and have read a good deal of it.

Matt

I was a click away from buying this case & then I read your review. What is a good case with similar protective qualtites as the iGearUnlimited iPad Mini Portfolio Case you reviewed

David Winograd

I’d wait a bit. Since Apple was very secretive about dimensions, so it took some time to design them and cases are just starting to roll in from overseas.

You can check the Marware CEO Hybrid review I did, but I have another from Marware and one that I really like from Brenthaven that I’ll be covering over the next week or so.

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