IGearUnlimited's iPad Mini Custom case is a niche product that will allow you to have any picture that you love as the outer face of your iPad mini case. It's a really neat idea.
The case is extremely well made out of seemingly indestructible polycarbonate, which weighs very little. Using a unique three hinge design, the case never seems to get in the way.
Hinged Design with Soft Screen Covering
The inside of the case, against the screen, is soft felt-like material that protects the glass very well, and because it's slightly set back from the screen, doesn't leave dust lines that are sometimes found in other cases. Installing it is a breeze as everything snaps right into the correct places and all the controls, including the speaker grill, are unexposed but set back enough for excellent protection. You'll never have a problem plugging in earphones, the lightning adapter or getting at any controls. The design is excellent throughout.
Camera, volume and orientation openings perfectly aligned
Power, mic and headphone openings are extremely funtional
Speaker grill and Lightning port protected and accessible
As you can see, the case comes in white only. There are four sturdy positions that the hinged cover allows. The typing position is, to my fingers, perfectly placed. Flip it over and a tab fits into three horizontal viewing positions. These are a matter of taste; you are sure to find one that suits you. There is no portrait viewing position outside of laying it on a table which can be done with no angle at all. It lies quite flat. It also supports the sleep/wake screen feature and stays closed with a hefty magnet, which is an excellent feature.
A Variety of Decent Positions
To customize the cover, there is a web interface allowing you to upload and crop a picture that will be transferred to the cover of the case. IGearUnlimited suggests using a picture with a minimum of 300 dpi. I used a picture that I took with my iPhone 4S and, after cropping a bit, uploaded it in full resolution with dimensions of roughly 3,000 X 2,000 to ensure that the transfer would be as good as IGearUnlimited could provide. Here is the original picture down rezed for the Internet.
David, Regina, and my Grandchildren Cole and Eloise
After waiting much less than I thought I would, the case was delivered. I was disappointed by the color and sharpness of the transfer. There was a fuzziness to the edges that were originally sharp and the color had a strong orange tint overall. Here is a picture of the finished case:
Photo Transfer As It Appears On the IGearUnlimited iPad Mini Case
I also noted that in light usage, the bottom left edge of the case is starting to show signs of wear and an ever so slight bit of the picture in that corner is scraping off. This is minor since I believe that the process IGearUnlmited uses to fuse the picture to the polycarbonate is as sturdy as possible. But I do wonder what it will look like in a couple of years when I trade in this iPad mini for whatever marvel of technology will take its place.
Would I Recommend It?
As long as you are willing to pay the high price and don't assume that color accuracy, tone and sharpness will be as good as what you provide, I'd say yes. It's a good, well made case, but there are lots of those for around half the price. What you're paying for is the customization. If it's good enough for you, go for it. You can be sure that no one else will have the same case. But if you're just looking for solid and lightweight protection for your iPad mini, you can buy just as good for a whole lot less.