I-nique is a company that has been around for ages, and I’ve used (and reviewed) cases from them for years. They generally make some pretty nice cases, sticking more to the traditional leather/fake leather style cases and skipping the plastic cases that are getting more popular these days. Their most basic iPad model is the Veggie, an envelope-style pull-tab case made from artificial leather. Read on to see how it is!
Envelope style cases look like you’d imagine from the name; like an envelope for your tablet. The advantage of such a case is that you get decent, cheap protection when carrying the case while rocking the device “nude” when you’re using it- something many people prefer. That also means no issues with docking stations and accessories, because the case isn’t on all the time. Pull-tab cases are a version of such envelope cases that have a band inside the case which is used to pull out the device, making them much easier and quick to get out than on normal cases (especially those designed to sit on all the time).
These types of cases, the Veggie included, also have the advantage that they’re a lot more universal than other cases, because you don’t have half a dozen cutouts for everything. While this version of the Veggie is custom made for the iPad, it would work with a whole range of devices that are about the same size. In fact I plan to use the Veggie with the iPad 2 when I get one, until I can find a full time case.
So, what makes the Veggie special? Well, as far as envelope cases go, this is probably the most stylish one I’ve seen. It almost looks like a zipped up dress jacked, with black artificial leather covering most of the case and separated in the middle by a visible seam. The top of the case is made of gray artificial leather, which sort of “disappears” under the black part in a curved v-shape- hence the similarity to a dress jacket. The front has a decorative metal button, while the back has the pull-tab coming out of it. This tab/flap goes around the open top of the case to secure the iPad in place and then locks by means of a circular carabiner hook.
This method of locking the iPad in place is a heck of lot more secure and stylish than what most such cases go with, which is a simple loose tab that you tuck in between the case and the iPad. It’s a bit of a hassle to open the carabiner to free the pull-tab, but definitely worth it to not have that tuck-in tab, a push-button or velcro.
When you insert the iPad into the case, the pull-tab gets pushed in with it, putting itself around the bottom of the iPad. When it’s time to take it out you pull the ring at the end and the iPad pops up in a manner that would certainly have been described as magical if the case had been made by Apple.
As for protection, the case offers excellent protection for putting your iPad in a bag or for carrying around when not using it. The edge of the case is protected by the case’s seam, which is the right balance between hard and soft to really help if you were to drop it. The case will also protect against scratches and dirt which are the main reasons you’d want such a case when you otherwise use you iPad naked.
On a sidenote, I’d be interested in a version of this case with elastic sides that could accommodate and iPad with a case already on it- like the Speck Candyshell case that Allen reviewed and that I’m also using for my iPad these days. That sort of case is easier to use when the iPad is actually being used (unless you need a stand) but doesn’t protect the screen in a bag. I’m not saying the Veggie should have elastic sides, I’m just saying it would be a nice new product to offer. I’m sure I’m not the only one to use that sort of case and find myself in need of a travel case.
All in all, the Veggie is great.Envelope style cases aren”t for everyone and I personally prefer a full time case, although the iPad is very nice without a case as well. If you prefer to use your iPad that way but still want to protect it when traveling, this is a great case for the job. Simple, yet a few steps ahead of the competition in my opinion, both in design and the locking mechanism for the flap.
I-nique is a UK company so their prices are in British pounds, putting the Veggie at £19.99. That’s pretty cheap considering it’s Europe, where the official Apple case is almost twice that. They also have another version of the Veggie called the Apocalypse (same price), which has a dragon imprint on the front. I’ve had cases from I-nique with imprints like that before and the detail and quality in those cases was awesome, so if you like dragons I’d definitely check that version out. The Veggie is the more traditionally classy one, so you can choose for yourself. If this is your style of case, I can definitely recommend it!