Gadling Gear Review: G-Form Extreme Portfolio And Extremed Sleeve 2 For iPad

Last fall we favorably reviewed the G-Form Extreme Sleeve for the iPad, lauding it for its ability to protect our expensive devices while traveling. In developing that product, G-Form created new materials that are designed to stiffen on impact and absorb up to 90 percent of any impact. That ability was demonstrated very effectively with a video that shows a 12-pound bowling ball being dropped on the product from a height of three feet, leaving the iPad completely unscathed.

Since then, Apple had released a new iPad and G-Form has some new offerings of its own. The company has continued to refine its technology and now offers expanded options for other products as well. But the core of their business is still centered around their “Reactive Protection Technology” (RPT) and its ability to protect our gadgets while on the go. Here are a couple of those products that iPad users will find particularly interesting.

Extreme Sleeve 2
The Extreme Sleeve 2 is the evolution of the product we first reported on last October. It features a slightly larger interior that can accommodate both the new iPad and iPad 2 while equipped with Apple’s Smart Cover. In our previous review we noted that the Extreme Sleeve was too snug to fit the original iPad outfitted with Apple’s first case, and it had issues with Smart Covers and the second-generation tablet as well. Those issues have been addressed in the new sleeve, allowing iPad owners to travel with double the protection.

A larger interior isn’t the only upgrade to the Extreme Sleeve either. G-Form has also added an extra layer of their RPT material to the case and that layer now extends under the zipper, providing edge-to-edge impact protection for the iPad inside. The result is an all around better product for travelers who want to take their iPads with them without worrying about damaging it in transit. Those who like to travel light will be happy to hear that these new enhancements have not added weight or thickness to the product either.Extreme Portfolio
G-Form has also introduced a new Extreme Portfolio case that works with all iPad models or any other 10-inch tablet for that matter. Larger and thicker than the Extreme Sleeve, the Portfolio provides even more protection against external impacts while also offering functionality that isn’t available in the more compact sleeve.

Unlike the Extreme Sleeve, the Portfolio features a zipper that runs around three of its four sides. This allows for better access to the interior of the case, making it easier to take your tablet in and out as needed. The iPad is held snugly in place by rugged corner pieces, made out of G-Form’s proprietary RPT materials that enhance protection along the device’s edge. The front face of the case even includes an internal polycarbonate layer that adds yet another level of protection for the beautiful, yet fragile, Retina Screen. The result is a lightweight, yet tough, product that provides a satisfying level of security for tablet computers.

The Portfolio has a few other tricks up its sleeve as well. For instance, it includes a nice internal pocket for carrying important documents and folders. It also has the ability to act as an easel of sorts, standing the iPad up in either landscape or portfolio modes. This is a nice feature to have when watching videos on a plane, making a Skype call from your hotel room or giving a presentation at a meeting.

Both the Portfolio and Extreme Sleeve are water resistant, which adds yet another layer of protection for the electronics inside. This is good news for travelers, as the case easily keeps out liquids from accidental spills or surprise rain showers. Just keep in mind that they are water resistant and not waterproof, which means that while these products will repel a lot of moisture, immersing them completely in water probably isn’t a good idea.

I personally like to slip my iPad into the Extreme Sleeve before putting it into a backpack for travel. This gives me a good sense that my tablet is well protected while stuffing it under an airplane seat or in an overhead compartment. I think other travelers will appreciate that same sense of security when traveling with their tablets as well and considering the price of a replacement iPad, the $69.99 investment for the sleeve is well worth it. The Portfolio will set you back $89.99, but as indicated above, that case has a few extra features that could easily make it worth the extra twenty bucks.

Adventure travelers will especially appreciate both of these products as they allow you to take an otherwise fragile device with you to places you might not normally take it. For example, I can’t imagine visiting Everest Base Camp without the Extreme Sleeve and it would come in handy when trekking the Andes, climbing Kilimanjaro or cycling through the Alps too. If you’re visiting extreme places, you’ll probably want an extreme case to go with you. I recommend these two products.

Gadling gear review: DODOcase for iPad 2

iPads, tablets, Kindles and other tablet devises are making it easier to carry around hundreds of books and the entire internet in slim, lightweight devices. That technology needs to be protected, and, with the DODOcase, you can do it while nostalgically remembering what it was like to carry around an actual notebook. Remember those halcyon days? But a good iPad case is defined by more than its aesthetics. It needs to be durable, useful for all types of everyday use and slim. I’ve had both generations of the iPad and tried out several cases. Is the DODOcase a winner or just a pretty face? I put it to the test.The DODOcase is made to look like a notebook. Specifically, it resembles the lovechild of a Moleskin and a hardcover book. A faux leather exterior is wrapped around hard-but-lightweight bamboo to create a hollow binding that houses the iPad 2. The tablet fits snugly – and more importantly, securely – thanks to small rubber pads in the corners and the cover is kept shut with an elastic band.

At eight ounces, the DODOcase is incredibly light and, at 10″ x 8″ x 1″, preserves the portability of the iPad.

So far, I’ve simply described a handsome, portable iPad case. Theoretically, that’s what any case should do. However, besides looking attractive, the DODOcase is functional. It’s resemblance to a notebook is about more than just looks. It keeps your iPad disguised from would-be thieves who are likely less interested in your journal than they would be in your expensive gadget. While you should never leave your iPad unattended, if it’s cloaked in the DODOcase, most passers-by (or, perhaps, people cleaning your empty hotel room) will have no idea that you’re toting around anything more than your sketches.

A useful case will also act as a stand, and the DODOcase does allow for that. However, this is the one area where the DODOcase struggles slightly. The binding on the case cam be folded backwards to operate as a stand in landscape mode, but the faux leather exterior has trouble gripping some smooth surfaces. By staying true to the aesthetic of a notebook, the makers of the DODOcase sacrificed functionality in this respect. I was able to get the DODOcase to stand on wood, marble and plastic surfaces, but, on a handful of occasions, it took me several minutes to do so.

The DODOcase is completely unable to act as a stand when in portrait mode.

Lastly, the DODOcase does block the back camera, but, quite frankly, I do not see that as a major concern. So long as the front camera is available – which, of course, it is – I can use FaceTime, my primary camera need when it comes to the iPad.

The price tag for the DODOcase will raise some eyebrows. $60 is not cheap for a case, but it’s durable, very sleek and made in the United States (specifically in San Francisco). The inability to efficiently work as a stand on all surfaces is a negative that cannot be ignored, however, it is not a deal-breaker.

The DODOcase is an excellent case for the iPad if you are looking for a fashionable exterior that is well-built and discreet. The issues with its ability to act as a stand are mitigated with minimal effort. If you’re looking for a case that doesn’t proclaim to the world that you’re a techie, the DODOcase is right for you.

The DODOcase is $59.95 and is available directly from the manufacturer and on Amazon (where you can often find it on sale).

Gadling gear review: Sofshell case for iPad

If Santa left an iPad under you tree this holiday season, you’ve probably spent the last few days getting to know your new toy and discovering all of the fun things it can do. You’ve probably also admired how sleek and thin the device is, which is great when slipping it into a bag for travel, but can make it a bit precarious to hold on to at times. That’s where the Sofshell case from Sofproducts comes in handy. The very thin and tough plastic case, fits on the back of your iPad, delivering extra protection and a tighter grip at the same time.

The Sofshell case is made out of anti-slip, lightweight plastic materials that are just as useful when you are holding the iPad as they are when it is is resting on a slick surface. The manufacturer claims that with the Sofshell in place, the device will stay put, even when resting on a surface with a 70° angle, and from my own testing I’d say that is fairly accurate. Once I had the Sofshell installed on my iPad, no matter where I set it, it stayed in place. This provided a nice sense of security that my expensive tablet wasn’t going to slide off to its doom on the hard floor below.

Even with a case like this one, accidents can still happen of course, and gravity will take its natural course, sending your iPad tumbling to the ground. Fortunately, the Sofshell also provides some protection from those accidental drops as well, reducing the shock from a fall by as much as 43%. That can be the difference between a functioning device and an electronic tragedy, and once again it is nice to have that sense of security, particularly when traveling.
The Sofshell case is very easy to install on your iPad, but even better than that, it is also easy to take off. Similar cases can be a real challenge to remove from the tablet once they are in place, which can make them nearly impossible to keep clean over time. That isn’t an issue here however, and I appreciated the fact that this particular case came off the back of my iPad almost as easily as it went on. When it is in place, the Sofshell fits like a glove without adding much bulk, which is greatly appreciated by those of us who enjoy the thin, sleek industrial design that Apple is so well known for.

The Sofshell is designed to work with the iPad 2 and is fully compatible with Apple’s Smart Covers as well. Unfortunately, owners of the first iPad are out of luck, as the difference in design from the first to second generation devices were significant enough to keep this case from working on both tablets.

If you do own an iPad 2 however, you’ll find that this case is a great addition to your device, particularly if you find it a challenge to hold on to. The Sofshell does indeed make it easier to grip, particularly over extended periods of use. I also appreciated the extra protection the Sofshell brings to the iPad, especially considering that I take my device with me nearly everywhere. Frequent travelers will no doubt appreciate that protection as well, although the case is still a good investment, even if your iPad rarely leaves home.

The Sofshell case is available for $49.95 and can be ordered directly from the manufacturers website.