It’s pretty comical when one sets out to find a case or an accessory for their favorite gadgets and get hit with a sense of blandness when shopping. It seems like most of these companies all put in orders for the same products from the same Chinese manufacturers and sell them all at the same price points. Fun isn’t it? Thankfully a couple of companies stand out with their design and quality to differentiate from the crowd. M-Edge is one of those companies and the new Incline Jacket for the iPad 2 is no exception. With clean lines and good quality, is this the best iPad 2 case out there? Hit the jump to find out.
Desgin & Build Quality
The Incline Jacket has a very clean design throughout. I wouldn’t quite call it minimal, but it doesn’t want to get in your way. It’s warm and inviting without being over designed. It really pairs well with the Apple design across all of their products, and the iPad especially. The case is made for daily use and entertainment. Similar to the iPad Smart Cover, the Incline Case uses a folding system to prop up your iPad in a variety of positions. Unlike the Smart Cover though, this has complete coverage for the front and back of the iPad. The iPad is an extremely well built tablet, but having complete protection is surely a life saver, or at least gives you piece of mind.
The exterior is made out of a Microfiber leather exterior which is extremely pleasant to the touch. It’s very smooth and seems very durable. You also get 7 colors to choose from . The stitching around the case is spot on perfect, without any cheap threads hanging around or misalignment. The grooves on the front cover lend to a nice look for design purposes, as well as becoming grooves to prop the iPad up in various positions. These grooves give you multiple angles for typing, media playback and really any other stand you want for it. Again, think Smart Cover with complete protection. Speaking of protection, the case is pretty strong and will protect the iPad from plenty of abuse.
The iPad itself gets locked into an extremely secure mounting system that’s used on the Nook Latitude Jacket case as well. It locks in tight, and doesn’t want to let go, which is really what you want when carrying around a $500 tablet. This does tend to make it a little tough to pop the iPad out of the mounting system, but by no means impossible. The rest of the interior is lined with a soft micro-suede material to keep that glassy screen remaining glassy.
From a design standpoint (and quality), the folks at M-Edge seem to have nailed it, but there is one glaring omission…..they don’t use the “new” magnet system that the Smart Cover uses. They really don’t use anything except good old gravity to keep the lid closed. It works when the iPad is lying around and the cover works when in stand mode, but it just seems like a magnet system would have really been a huge addition. It could keep the cover closed as well as operate the sleep/wake function the same way the Smart Cover does. I wouldn’t say this hurts the case in the scheme of things, but rather it would have been nearly the perfect case for the majority out there.
The magnetic system aside, the case has been a pleasure to use. When closed, it doesn’t bring much bulk to the iPad itself which is a huge factor when deciding on a case to get. The iPad is slim, and you want the entire package to stay that way. The design is beautiful and friendly enough to use in a boardroom as well as the local coffee shop. My wife flips the cover this way and that while using it as a stand when cooking with AllRecipes and no longer has to worry about lying it around on the counter. My daughter (20 months) gets to use the stand when we go out for a bite and she finishes her meal before the rest of us. There’s something magical about propping up a Tinker Bell movie during dinner out to bring a serene calmness to the table.
When not in stand mode, and using the iPad as a tablet in your hand, the case starts to lose its magic a little. If you’re a righty, like me, then some of this isn’t as big of a deal. When you flip the front cover of the Incline Jacket around to the back side, you will notice the left side is a little bulky. This comes from the protection from the “spine” of the case. It is necessary when you have a case that covers the front and back and is used as a stand in various positions, but this leads to a 3/4″ grip on the left side that’s good or bad depending on your take. For a righty, this isn’t as big of a deal. For a lefty, it’s something to think about. And because of the various angled stand positions the case performs, the left side flops a little from the rest of the case. The front cover also doesn’t get any help when tucked behind the rear either. It just kind of hangs out waiting for you to close it. Again, having some magnets strategically placed on the back of the case could really benefit the Incline Jacket in a couple of scenarios.
Access to the 30 pin connector, volume controls and power buttons are all completely open. In fact, the iPad pretty much sits there in a naked form and isn’t being covered by some cheap leather bezel to keep it in place. I love it. It leaves the good looking iPad on display. Heck, it’s nice picking a white or black iPad and being able to still see whether it’s white or black. One really positive aspect ( I think) is that the camera is covered completely by the rear of the case. This feature won’t make you look like a complete moron trying to take grainy, washed out and barely visible pictures of your kids playing. All kidding aside, all you have to do is insert the iPad upside down with the home button on the top and you have full access to the camera….which probably isn’t a good thing.
The Incline Jacket from M-Edge is a really good case. It really is. The design is excellent as well as the quality of the materials. This isn’t a re-branded Chinese case that everyone sells and slaps their own logo on. It’s unique, simple, classy and extremely well made. I just think of what it could have been. It could’ve been one of the best, if not the best case on the market had there been a magnetic system or something similar to keep everything tight and under control. In stand mode, the Incline Case is very sturdy and won’t give you any worries. When closed, you get protection and a clean look that anyone should like. As is stands, you get a solid case with 7 colors to choose from that will take care of most needs. I like it a lot, but I’m also looking forward to the second generation of it.