Gadling Gear Review: Justin Case Rechargeable iPad Battery Case

A few weeks back we reviewed the Props Power case for the iPad, which features a built-in battery that can greatly extend the life of your tablet while on the road. At the time, I thought that it was a unique product that delivered on its promise with the trade-off of also adding a considerable amount of thickness and weight. It turns out that case wasn’t quite as unique as I had originally thought, as there is another option available that offers similar performance in a slightly less bulky package and at a considerable savings. Two things that are difficult to argue against.

The Justin Case Rechargeable Power Case from Innovative Technology is designed to fit the iPad 2 and the iPad with Retina Display. It holds the tablet snugly while providing very good protection from accidental drops or the usual wear and tear that comes along with travel. Made from soft faux leather, the case has a nice feel to it, although no one is likely to ever mistake it for real leather. As you would expect, when seated properly inside the case, the iPad’s various buttons and cameras are unobstructed, allowing full access to all of the tablet’s features. A durable flap covers the screen and is cleverly held in place by a pair of strategically placed magnets. This is a nice touch that provides a little extra protection to the fragile display. A fold out stand on the back of the case also allows you to prop up your device, which comes in very handy when watching videos or making a Facetime call.

One of my main knocks against the Props Power case was that it added a lot of thickness to the otherwise thin and sleek iPad. That is somewhat unavoidable for any case that has a bulky battery built into its form factor and this model is no different. I will say, however, that the Justin Case is thinner than the competition; this makes it a bit easier to compromise portability for extended battery life. This isn’t a product that would ever be described as thin and light, but considering the fact that its target audience is likely to know this ahead of time, I’d say it does a fine job of balancing expectations on all fronts.At the heart of this case is an 11,600-mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the one found in the Props Power case, but still manages to perform on a similar level. The battery includes a micro-USB port for recharging and a standard USB port for passing that charge on to other devices. Innovative Technologies says that the battery is capable of providing a full recharge to a third generation iPad, the model that I was testing it on. I didn’t find that it was quite capable of putting out that much juice, however, delivering something closer to a 75-percent recharge level. Still, that’s not bad at all and should add an additional seven hours to the life of your tablet.

Since the battery has a standard USB port it can be used to recharge just about any modern device. That means while you’re traveling you can use the case to juice up your smartphone, a camera, iPod or a variety of other gadgets. Most will charge about as quickly as they will when plugged into a wall outlet, but higher capacity devices such as the 3rd and 4th generation iPad or similar tablets charge at a much slower rate, which can be disappointing when you really want your iPad fully charged and ready to hit the road.

The Justin Case has its competition beat in a couple of other areas as well. For instance, the Props Power case comes with a charging cable but no power adapter. That means you have to provide your own AC adapter or charge directly from your computer. This case comes with a nice USB wall plug that looks strikingly like Apple’s own iPhone charger only in black. I appreciate the fact that Innovative Technologies saw fit to include it in the box, eliminating the hurdle of finding a way to keep their product charged at all times.

The other area in which the Justin Case has a hands-down advantage is price. While it performs at a very similar level with its competition, it costs $50 less. Innovative Technology has priced their product at $70, which feels like a very fair price for a case that offers the ability to not only charge the tablet that it protects but just about any other device as well. That is a nice convenience to have when you own a smartphone whose battery doesn’t quite make it completely through the day when there isn’t a free outlet anywhere in sight.

While the Justin Case does come with a micro-USB cable that is capable of charging not only its batteries, but also other devices that use that format, if you’re an Apple-fan you’ll need to supply your own 30-pin or lightning cable. That is a small quibble for an otherwise solid product but one that buyers should be aware of before they plunk down their hard-earned cash.

If you’re a frequent traveler who spends a lot of time searching for a power outlet at the airport, the Justin Case may be the answer to your prayers. While it is just an average case on its own, the inclusion of the built-in battery gives it a unique quality that few other products can match. The fact that it does so at an affordable price truly sets it out from the crowd. An iPad equipped with this case could survive a full flight across the Pacific with power to spare, which is a pretty impressive feat really. This case will let you load up your device with all of the movies, music and games you’d like without worrying about running out of power at an inopportune time.

Gadling Gear Review: Pelican 1065 HardBack iPad Case

The iPad is a perfect travel companion, providing hours of entertainment and keeping us in communication while on the go. But Apple’s device can be fragile and it’s not always easy to safely carry it with us when we hit the road. Fortunately, there are a variety of good cases to help protect the tablet, although few provide the same level of security as the new 1065 HardBack Case from Pelican.

For years military personnel, explorers and travelers have depended on Pelican cases to keep their gear safe and secure under the most demanding of conditions. The company has built a reputation for providing products that are tough, dependable and impenetrable and their line of cases, designed for everything from laptops to firearms, are amongst the best in the business. They’re so good in fact that the company stands by all of their products with a lifetime guarantee, something that has become increasingly rare these days.

The 1065 HardBack Case puts all of Pelican’s years of experience into a compact shell specifically designed to protect an iPad or other 10-inch tablet device. Built from ruggedized, impact resistant plastic, this case is unlike any other. Not only is it crush proof, but it is also waterproof up to a depth of three feet and protects against a drop onto a hard surface from the same distance. The case’s airtight seal also prevents dust from getting into the electronics, while a built-in purge valve maintains internal air pressure making it easy to open at any altitude. To further protect our tablets, Pelican has lined the interior of the case with a foam liner that is designed to absorb impact without scratching the delicate screen.While testing this case I was continually impressed not only with its overall build quality but also its ability to stay tightly sealed even while absorbing a major impact. Pelican uses a durable latch that is easy to open when you want to gain access to the interior but still stays firmly shut while protecting its contents. This helps to prevent unintentional openings that can further lead to accidental damage to the iPad.

As you can no doubt tell, I am impressed with Pelican’s fantastic tablet case, but the HardBack does come with a few compromises. For starters, its rugged construction makes this case heavier than most as it tips the scales at 1.25 pounds. That’s more than the iPad itself and adds considerable bulk to a device that is specifically designed to help us travel lighter. Additionally, the 1065 is relatively small and thin with just enough room for a tablet inside. That means there is no space to conveniently carry an AC adapter, although most power supplies don’t require the same level of protection as the actual devices they power. Still, it would be nice to be able to carry both the iPad and its power supply in a single case.

Those few nit picks aside, the HardBack Case is one of the best options for travelers looking to safely carry their tablet to even the most remote and rugged places on Earth. Whether trekking through the Alps, sailing the Caribbean or simply trying to survive the perils of the modern airport, this is the case to have along on your next adventure. True, it does add a bit of weight to your pack, but if your travels frequently take you to demanding environments, the protection this case provides is worth the extra ounces. With a list price of $49.99 the HardBack won’t break the bank either, and considering the level of protection it provides, that seems like a real bargain compared to lesser cases that are on the market.

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: 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.

New Kensington PowerBack case is perfect for long-haul iPad use

The new Kensington PowerBack iPad case does four smart things in one – it acts as a kickstand, 4400mAh backup battery pack, speaker dock and MicroUSB sync/charge dock. At $129.99, it doesn’t exactly come cheap, but this is without a doubt one of the smartest iPad accessories released to date.

Combine the stand with a Bluetooth keyboard, and you’ll have the perfect replacement for a netbook, and enough juice to keep your iPad powered for an entire work day. It’ll soon be available for pre-order from Amazon, and you can signup to be notified when it is in stock on their product page.

Other new additions to the Fall Kensington lineup include a high power dual port wall charger, capable of charging the iPad (Wall Pack Duo Charger, $29.99), a similar power adapter for in the car (PowerBolt Duo Charger, $29.99) and an ultra compact high power single port car charger (PowerBolt Micro Car Charger $24.99). The full lineup can be found at