Book style cases are very popular with tablets because they both provide good protection for the entire device and they often have built in stand functionality. The Tri-Axis cases from Tuff Luv definitely have that, with their special design that allow you to prob up the case at essentially any angle. Read on for a review.
There are many versions of this case, with varying colors and materials used. There are also iPad 2 versions which work the same way but also has the magnetic sleep/wake feature. This review is for the faux leather iPad 1 case, but materials and fit aside it should give you an idea of what the other versions of the case look like and work like as well.
To get the iPad into the case you slide it in from the right and then lock it in place with a strap that has velcro on the end. The type of velcro this case uses is much thinner and less rough than normal velcro, giving it less of a grip but also a lower profile that doesn’t look so….velcro-y. It’s much easier to get the iPad out from this case than e.g the official Apple case, which is more of a semi-permanent fit.
Once in, the iPad is held in what can best be described as a protruding (faux) leather frame, where the entire right side (aside from the strap), all corners and much of the top and bottom is cut out to make it easy to access buttons and ports. It’s much less “caged in” than the Apple case which has only the necessary openings cut out, which causes ports etc to be misaligned very quickly. You’ll have no trouble fitting accessories into this case and access controls, with perhaps a few exceptions for wide dock connector accessories like FM transmitters or the Fiio E1. You also won’t be able to use the Apple iPad dock without removing the case, which is pretty much a given with this type of case (or any case, for that matter).
The case is a bit thick, which is partly due to the complexity (flaps everywhere) and partly because it’s all padded. It should provide the ipad with some very nice drop protection, and giving you a better handle on it at the same time, turning it into one of those “old fashioned” planners with lots of paper inside a leather cover.
The front of the case- the cover that folds over the screen- is locked in place when shut with a push button on the back of the case, so it doesn’t flap all over the place. Some cases use elastic bands for this purpose and some don’t use anything at all (Apple…), but a push button works as well as anything else. The inside of the screen cover is clad in some sort of microfiber material, much like the iPad 2 smart covers. Unlike Apple though, Tuff Luv doesn’t bullshit their customers by claiming that this material magically cleans the screen. It protects it, and that’s fine.
The outside of the case can look confusing and peculiar at first with “parts” seemingly placed at random, but it’s all part of the Tuff Luv case’s intricate stand feature. The cover is actually split in three parts and not completely stiff, made in such a way that you can fold the corners inwards but not outwards. There are also 5 flaps on the front of the cover that are secured to the cover with that “micro velcro” stuff. On the back of the case, you have a stand flap that is secured with a push button and that also has a smaller flap with “micro velcro” on the end.
So what do all these flaps and bends do? Well, the easiest way of explaining it would be for you to watch the video below, but I’ll give it a shot anyways. The large clap on back unsnaps from the push button, folds out and then opens its own “micro velcro” flap which then connects to any of the 5 other such flaps on the front cover, which you’ve folded around to the back for stand purposes. The whole thing is then locked together very securely using the “micro velcro”, so unlike many other such cases you have no chance of accidentally collapsing the stand. As someone who’s been close to having a heart attack from having the official Apple case fall over when propped up in “video mode”, I can’t overstate the importance of a system like this.
5 such flaps on the front means that you can adjust the stand to 10 different angles (5 the normal way, then 5 more by standing the case on the edge instead of with the cover flat down). This is all for landscape mode though- the Tri-Axis case’s special trick is those folding corners, meaning you can fold in those corners and stand the case upright in portrait mode. The Bi-Axis case they also offer has one such folding corner, the Tri-Axis has two, meaning the latter can also prop up the iPad “upside down”. This is more useful on the iPad 2 than on the iPad 1 as it would help control which way the front camera is pointing.
Overall the Tuff Luv Tri-Axis case is best described as an “executive” case- it’s something I can see office workers carry around, because of the rugged leather cover that makes it comfortable to carry on its own. The stand functionality is just brilliant; many people buy cases for the stand functionality alone, and the one on the Tri-Axis is so far beyond the simple Apple case or similar cases that it can’t be compared. You can prop it up to about 20 different positions and once it’s there it won’t buckle for anything, thanks to the velcro locking system.
Tuff Luv is emptying their stock of iPad 1 cases, so currently you can only get the bi-axis version for the iPad 1- but on the plus side, they’re all on sale. The different versions (including a special keyboard dock capable version) can be found here. For the iPad 2, cases are currently on pre order starting at £33 for the faux leather versions and ranging up to £70 for the saddleback leather versions. Different colors are available for each material, so you have a lot of choice. The selection can be found here.