The Apple iPad Pro is a larger iPad than most users are accustomed to and, therefore, requires special handling. Any case for it should fit in with the intended use and be compatible with Apple's Apple Smart Keyboard (or Cover) and pencil. This iPad's extra weight and size make drop protection very important. I look at the UAG Composite Case with a critical eye.
I have been handling my iPad Pro with kid gloves because it doesn't hasn't had a case. The day I picked up the iPad Pro in my local Apple store, I purchased the Logitech Create Keyboard/Case. However, despite its great keyboard, it had other problems. So I returned it.
What I learned since then is that the iPad Pro is a different kind of tablet, and the scaling up from 9.7 inches (iPad Air/2) to 12.9 inches doesn't adequately convey the new way one must handle this larger very technical instrument. The size, which towers over the 2015 MacBook, demands a new kind of thinking. This thinking extends to cases. That is, one has to expect that a larger, heavier iPad is protected with appropriate materials in size, construction and weight. In turn, the bulk, combined with a possible keyboard cry out for the iPad to have its own space on the desktop.
With all this in mind, I was pleased to receive the Urban Armor Gear Composite Case for review. Right away, I realized that the design of this case meshed with the mentality I had developed for the use of this large iPad. In every area of design, this case stands out. Here's my accounting.
Shown reclined 20 degrees with my own Apple BT keyboard
Open ports. Every port, sleep/wake, volume, speakers, audio jack, and of course, Lightning port and camera, is open. The thickness of the material around the ports protects the buttons, but one doesn't have to painfully punch through heavy rubber to activate buttons. I love this thinking and design value.
Easy Install. The edges are made of TPU and are just the right thickness and stiffness to make insertion and removal easy and yet hold the iPad firmly in place. This is a delicate engineering balance, and UAG hit it just right. The last thing you want to do is wrestle with a large iPad, pry it from the case with difficulty, slip, and drop it on the hardwood.
Presentation. When used with a standard Bluetooth keyboard on the desk, one wants the case to have a built-in kickstand, and UAG has done this well. An aluminum—not plastic—stand pops put and sets the iPad Pro at five different positions. They appear to be about 10 degree increments, so one can go from about 10 degrees back to a healthy 50 degree recline. The mechanism on the inside is recessed so it doesn't scratch the back of the iPad Pro. The hinge mechanism and closure tabs are robust. Best of all, the aluminum doesn't add a lot of weight.
View of inside, well padded, before installation.
Drop Protection. Mandatory for an iPad of this size is very good drop protection. That's because a larger iPad like this is likely to be used in many operational situations in aviation, the enterprise, government and military. This case meets MIL STD 810G-516.6 for drop testing. While I didn't do any of my own testing, the feeling I got from handling the combo was that the iPad Pro is well protected.
Low weight. Despite its size and thickness, this case is not too heavy, adding only 380 grams (13.4 oz) to the (Wi-Fi) iPad Pro's 713 grams (1.57 pounds).
Grip. In addition to the rubbery edges, the back of the case has a Frog skin design for enhanced grip.
Apple Pencil holder. This may seem like an oddball, even ugly, addition, but when one thinks about the likely uses of this larger iPad, a holder for the Apple pencil is brilliant. Where else can one put that Apple Pencil when on the move?
View of Apple Pencil holder and aluminum stand in stowed position.
This case is serious looking, rugged yet fairly light.
Compatibility. This may be the most thoughtful of all the features. An edge panel is removable so that one can attach an Apple Smart Keyboard or Cover. UAG has thought of everything.
Colors. It comes in three colors, charcoal ("Scout"), red ("Rogue") and blue ("Cobalt").
Packaging and Warranty
This case ships in a strong, clear plastic box that shows the product, and the features are displayed on the case with callouts. The warranty is one year. It arrived in a thick, brown paper envelope, protected in a plastic bag, unscathed.
I cannot think of a single design element that Urban Armor Gear has overlooked. All those little nits I look for in a case like this have been dealt with beautifully. Plus, the price is very, very reasonable for a case with this many features. If you're looking for an iPad Pro case that can be used with Apple's Smart Keyboard or Smart Cover, offers military grade protection, and is light and well designed, I highly recommend this one.