The Marware C.E.O. Hybrid iPad mini case is a very nice product. It's a great looking and well made case. The stitching is impeccable. Marware sells the case in five colors — carbon black, black, pink, red and purple. The cases are made out of high quality leather on the outside. On the inside is soft gray microfiber. There are three cut-outs in the microfiber that the screen rests on giving three viewing positions. When closed these three cut-outs cushion the screen that create lines on the iPad mini screen that are easy to clean off. This is inevitable due to the design of the case.
Marware C.E.O. Hybrid case for the iPad mini
Installing the iPad Into the Case
To insert the iPad mini into the C.E.O. Hybrid is a simple matter of sliding the iPad in the case and pressing down on the bottom two corners until you hear a satisfying snap. There is a slightly ungainly elastic band that can be pulled over corner protectors to either keep the iPad snugly shut or securely opened without the other side of the case flopping around.
All controls are accessible
The Problematic Elastic Strap
I can understand the reason for having the elastic strap is to keep the case opened so you can hold the mini using a flexible hand strap just below — or above — it depends how you hold it. The cut-outs that the edge of the mini rests on gives it its three display positions. The strap would not be needed to keep the case safely closed if the C.E.O. Hybrid were designed differently.
Flexible hand strap
As it stands, when you close the case, the sleep/wake function is enabled and the top is held to the bottom by a tab on the top and bottom. But these tabs are too short and leave around a quarter inch gap. If one of the tabs were a bit longer and reached the bottom of the case, closing would be more secure and the elastic band would be unnecessary. The other tab would need to be shorter or else it would cover the power button. When closing the case, the elastic strap seems like a kludge.
When using the handstrap to keep the case open, the elastic also seems a bit kludgy. The elastic fits easily onto one corner, but not so well on the other side which the iPad mini slips into. This edge covers about three quarters of the landscape edge and stretching the band over this long piece of leather just feels wrong.
The Viewing and Typing Positions
The three landscape viewing angles are done quite well and all three add value and sturdily hold the iPad mini in place. But the advertised typing position is another story. As far as I can tell, there isn't one that is sturdy enough for typing.
Three viewing positions
The video shown below doesn't show the typing position, but setting it up according to the packaging results in the bottom edge of the iPad mini resting on a ridge of leather that covers one quarter of the bottom. With three quarters of the bottom exposed, typing is not an option since typing just a few strokes causes the iPad mini to fall off the ridge. When it does, the bottom of the tablet is not connected to the case and every keystroke makes the mini bounce up and down on the case. This was not well thought out.
Sometimes it's frustrating when an accessory comes very close to being perfect but isn't due to a few unfortunate and easily correctable missteps. This is one of those times.
You Need A Case
iOS devices get knocked around a lot, and the smaller the iOS device, the more it will be tossed about. iPhones and iPods get the most wear since they are summarily tossed in your pocket. Full sized iPads suffer the least wear since they larger, heavier and not as portable. The iPad mini falls somewhere in between. Weighing less than 3/4 pound, it can be carried in places that a full sized iPad can't. iPad minis will be knocked and jostled more than their bigger siblings and that's why it's so important to get a carrying case whether it's this one or another one.
Inside the C.E.O. Hybrid case
Would I Buy It ?
Yes I would. At least until something better comes along. This case isn't perfect, but it gets the job done. It's the best one I've seen so far, but there is some room for improvement. The price is fair and the quality, materials used and construction are all excellent. I just wish a bit more thought was given to the design, and it had a decent typing angle.