WaterField Designs iPad Ultimate SleeveCase: Review
Over the past few months, I’ve really grown to love my iPad.
Lately, I’ve been taken a lot of trips and the device has been clutch; I’m actually starting to travel exclusively with the iPad rather than having two schlep two devices: the iPad and one of my laptops (partly because the iPad is TSA-friendly and I can just leave it in my briefcase). But, with all of my gadgets, I’m constantly searching for new ways protect what is so dear to me. Plus, I’m a little bit more nervous with my iPad because of its somewhat vulnerable design– if you drop it on its 10-inch screen, it’s all over. And, I’m not an iPad “coucher” meaning my tablet actually leaves the confines of my home. It’s a double whammy.
A few weeks back, I mentioned WaterField Designs, a chic San Francisco Design Company. As it turns out, I’m a big fan [see our review of one of their iPhone cases here]. So, when I had the chance to snag one of the their new iPad cases a few months ago, I jumped at the opportunity.
For the last two months, I’ve been using the case on a weekly basis comparing it between a number of other popular options including Apple’s own Folio Case, the dodocase, and a few others.
In this TechTrackr.com Review, we’ll examine every nook and cranny of the Ultimate SleeveCase for the iPad. Does it live up to the high expectations the company has set for itself? Does it fare well against some steep competition? Keep reading to find out!
WaterField Designs must’ve realized that messenger bags are making a comeback when they created the Ultimate SleeveCase. Essentially, the case offers an elegant method of transporting your iPad.
In comparison to Apple’s folio-style case, the iPad Ultimte SleeveCase is a radically different feel which I accredit to the case’s concept (more on that towards the end).
The dodocase, another favorite amongst the blogosphere, is definitely more fragile than the SleeveCase. I would definitely feel more comfortable carrying my iPad in the SleeveCase than the latter. Why? Because of the SleeveCase’s excellent protection “feature-set” …
I mean in terms of protection, the case does a great job. Inside the case, there’s a thick layer of Ultrasuede® padding– it essentially cleans the iPad’s screen each time you take the case in-and-out.
On the outside, there’s high-grade neoprene that’s wrapped in a ballistic nylon shell.
The case stays fastened shut thanks to a strip of Velcro. Surprisingly, it’s very secure– the case kind-of hugs the iPad. When the iPad is inside, it’s a near perfect fit: not too tight, not too loose. The iPad almost slides in.
But, as you can see above, there’s not much room for anything inside the case. Notice that every SleeveCase comes with a little pocket that can handle your standard iPad cable and a pair of Apple headphones. Adding a wall-charger to the mix is pushing it–the case almost looks bloated.
Now if you’re looking to carry more “stuff”, perhaps you’re better off buying a pouch in addition to the SleeveCase (more on that in a sec.) It essentially allows you to carry more tech garb.
When it comes to customization, you’ll have a few decisions to make that will ultimately dictate the look and style of your iPad case.
First, you’ll need to pick a trim. My review model features the leather trim ($59). Alternatively, WaterField offers a patterned fabric trim called Lead Indium which costs $55. I own WaterField products with both trims and I can say that I hands-down like the leather trim better– it’s well worth the extra four bucks.
Next, you’ll have to decide on the case’s orientation. You’ll have two options: horizontal or vertical. The horizontal orientation is ideal for carrying your iPad in a briefcase or a messenger bag; conversely, the vertical option is better if you’re planning on carrying your iPad in backpack. The orientation you choose has no bearing on price.
In addition, you can purchase a shoulder strap. Add-ons include D-Rings ($5), a simple strap ($9) and a suspension strap mini ($19). I didn’t opt for the shoulder strap. With that being said, the iPad is truly very comfortable to carry in the case alone.
Finally, you’ll have the option of buying a “pouch” which attaches to your case. I don’t think it’s really necessary. But, if you’re into cute little accessories keep the following in mind: the leather pouch’s going to cost you $27 while the Lead Indium version goes for $25.
If you ask me, the case only has major one downside: “the principle”. When you use the SleeveCase, you won’t be able to put any other cases on the iPad. So, when you take the iPad out of the case, there’s nothing stopping the ground from tearing the device to shreds if you accidentally drop it. Let me make this clear though: the SleeveCase does a great job of protecting my iPad while it’s actually in the case… but, when I actually need to use my iPad (meaning it’s no longer in the case), I don’t exactly feel comfortable using it in the “nude.” After WaterField realized how many people bought Apple cases (or maybe they just had an epiphany?), they designed the EXO Ultimate SleeveCase which allows you to tuck away your iPad even when it’s in an Apple or Folio style case.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that the case is both designed and made in good ‘ol San Fran. I must admit: I always appreciate a product more when I know it’s American.
The Ultimate SleeveCase is available directly from WaterField Desings at SFBags.com; the Ultimate SleeveCase starts at $55.
- Stylish design & form-factor
- Made from premium, high-quality materials (gotta love WaterField Designs)
- Secures the iPad well
- Protects the iPad: sufficient padding & soft, Micro-suede interior are a nice combination
- Interior actually cleans your iPad each time you take it in-and-out of the case
- Comes with a convenient accessories pocket
THE AVERAGE/ “SO-SO”
- Price– Expensive
- Add-ons are a little on the pricier side too– add up quickly
- Have to carry a naked iPad
TECH SPECS from SFBags.com
Safeguard your iPad with a properly fitted SleeveCase. Cushioned with high-grade neoprene and wrapped in a nearly indestructible ballistic nylon shell, the iPad SleeveCase functions as a stylish stand-alone case or can be inserted into another bag. And no need to take your iPad out of its snug compartment when going through airport security—it’s TSA Checkpoint Friendly. With its impact-resistant screen protecting insert and its scratch-free, screen cleaning Ultrasuede® lining, you’re good to go. It’s a slam dunk.
All in all, I’ve been really happy with the Ultimate SleeveCase for the iPad. It’s done an excellent job of protecting my iPad… in style. WaterField Designs continues to impress.
The case’s two “flaws”, the fact that you have to carry your iPad around “naked” and the fact that add-ons add up pretty quickly, ultimately cost this case a point.
Regardless, the build quality’s excellent and I can easily recommend this case to any iPad user.
Stay tuned– we’ll be taking a look at the EXO Ultimate SleeveCase also by WaterField Designs soon!
Do you already own the iPad Ultimate SleeveCase? If so, how are you liking it? If not, are did this review pique your interest.
Or, do you despise the iPad so much that you would never even think of buying the iPad itself let alone this case ?
Regardless of your preference, be sure to let us know what you think of the SleeveCase Review, WaterField Designs, the site in general, or even whatever else is on your mind!
VIDEO HANDS-ON Courtesy of WaterField Designs