Whenever I talk at seminars or write about choosing and managing iPads and other tablets for children one of my key pieces of advice is to get a good case. Given the cost of these devices (and how much they are typically adored) an untimely end when an iPad screen shatters after an inadvertent drop is likely to end in tears (and not just your child’s)! Whether you’re looking for a case for use at home or you’re looking to kit out an entire fleet of iPads at school getting the right case should be a top priority.
However, getting a great tablet case for kids isn’t as easy as it sounds. At Fundamentally Children we’ve looked at quite a range and have been disappointed by those that are overly cumbersome for tiny hands, make it hard to insert the charging cable, headphones or to access the buttons, dampen the sound or make the tablet bulky and hard to store or transport.
We’ve mentioned various cases we’ve liked in the past (for example, iPad cases) but the Gripcase range caught our eye recently and we’ve been delighted to have a chance to try them out.
A number of children covering a range of ages have had a play with these and we were particularly impressed with how ergonomic they were to hold. We had great fun drop testing them too (much to the alarm of onlookers) and are relieved to report that our iPads remained entirely unscathed! Obviously if the tablet were to hit the corner of a table or another sharp point the screen would take all the impact, however in most scenarios the raised edge around the screen prevents the iPad screen ever even touching the floor during a fall and the sides/corners are all well protected by the foam body. In fact the manufacturers tell me that the cases feature a “crumple zone” between the body of the iPad device and the bumper corners which absorbs the energy created during an impact and directs it away from the iPad device.
We tested 3 designs:
My personal favourite is the classic Gripcase. The children took to this one immediately and thought it looked “cool”, we observed how easy they found it to hold and carry around. It really is lightweight and whilst it makes the whole iPad wider it doesn’t feel bulky. Headphones (both straight and 90 degree sockets) and charging cables fitted in easily and all the buttons were accessible. Getting the the on/off button was a bit fiddly for adults but little fingers had less trouble. They’ve been in use for a few weeks, including being ‘out and about’ on various excursions, car journeys etc with no issues reported.
This case is available for the iPad mini, Air and iPad 2, 3 or 4.
Whilst not quite as eye-catching and unique as the Gripcase, the Gripcase shield does offer even more protection making it particularly appropriate for use with school iPads. This one is made of EVA polymer which is not just durable but (we’re told) scuff resistant and washable. It has a rim round the edge ensuring it was still easy for our little testers to hold. We also gather it has what’s called Sound Forward™ system which improves speaker and microphone quality, clarity, and volume – and you can tell. Unlike many tablet cases the sound seemed to be, if anything, better in the case rather than worse. Our only criticism was that it was a bit of a nuisance to get the tablets in and out of this case – but then hopefully that’ll only need to be done once.
We also tested the scribe which, as it comes with a keyboard, integrated stand and stylus would be a fabulous solution older children (or adults) wanting to use a tablet more like a laptop.The Stand
Whilst other than the scribe the cases don’t come with an integrated to stand, the separate stand is just what you need if you want to use the tablet to watch videos or make Skype/Facetime calls. There is a space to connect the power/sync cable even whilst it is on the stand too and we understand they are designed to stack – in case you have several of these for a classroom. We even heard of one mum using it to prop up recipe books when it wasn’t in use by the iPad!
Or buy from Amazon here.