The choice to go with an iPad over a computer has required us to think about all sorts of ways to make our tablet experience as functional as possible, including making sure the cases and protective sleeves all suit the needs of a travelling cyclist.
There are an incredible number of iPad cases, covers, stands and keyboards floating around to choose from. The following is our rationale for deciding on the cases we’re taking travelling!
Criteria 1: Do we need to use a keyboard or keyboard case?
We weren’t sure if we would want to use a seperate keyboard with our iPads, but as is so often the case, experimentation proved to be the key and after a few hours of playing on my iPad it was confirmed: the keyboard wasn’t required! I was able to type at a speed fast enough to not warrant the thick case or the additional bulk that a keyboard would add. We also figured if we really wanted a keyboard, we would be better off just buying a laptop which actually ends up being thinner than an iPad and keyboard combined.
Criteria 2: What type of case will be most useful for typing and viewing?
We wanted to be able to prop the iPad up to watch movies, and also prop it into a comfortable typing position. Flat bench typing just doesn’t work all that well! A lot of cases offered these features, namely the Smart Case by Apple. Others offered even more positions, but really we only needed the two.
Criteria 3: What type of case will offer the most protection against being dropped?
We were worried that we would drop the iPads whilst we were using them. You know, just let its smooth surface slip through your fingers! If you haven’t seen the drop test for the Smart Covers – check it out! We also thought it would be good to protect the back and edges from any drops too.
Criteria 4: How do we protect the iPads in our pannier bags?
We wanted to be able to protect the iPads as well as possible whilst we were riding over rough terrain. This would mean a protective sleeve of some variety! As we’re into saving space, we also looked into fitting two iPads into the one protective sleeve.
Criteria 5: How do we minimise the size and weight of the cases and the covers?
We didn’t want all of the cases and covers to make the iPads bigger and heavier than just taking a laptop on our trip. After all, the idea was to minimise weight and bulk, without compromising functionality. We also didn’t want the iPad cover to add much bulk to the already slim iPad.
After assessing all criteria, we’ve picked:
Kensington Protective Cover Stand for both iPads
Weight: 199g each
Size (LxWxH): 277x192x20mm
Pros: Two position (typing/viewing) stand. Very protective. Hard plastic back cover. Velvet on the inside of the cover which cleans the screen. Magnets hold the cover closed.
Cons: Not as light as other cases. Cases magnets don’t hold the cover down as well as similar products. Case makes the iPad a bit bulkier than similar products.
Hard Candy Bubble Sleeve (One sleeve fits both iPads)
Size (LxWxH): 290x210x50mm
Pros: The case houses two iPads in their Kensington cases. Hard EVA outer shell. Soft padded interior lining.
Cons: None. However, if we were only storing one iPad in it, we would consider it a bit bulky.
Weight comparison to a laptop
Our bombproof total package weight of two iPads, two cases and one protective sleeve came to sub-2kg, just!
Comparing apples to apples with a laptop – one iPad, case, hard cover and charger is 1240g. The MacBook Air 11″ is (1040g), charger with short/long cable (193-335g) and protective case (454g) for a total of 1687-1829g. We save effectively 500-600g by going with the iPad over the laptop, but seeing as though we both have a tablet, the iPads are about 1000g per person for everything!
The Kensington case makes our iPad experience more pleasurable, by offering the typing and viewing positions. Not only is it a useful stand, but it protects the screen and back of the iPad in the undesirable instance that it gets dropped.
The Hard Candy case offers the travelling protection for our iPads, storing everything within its hard shell and offering excellent internal padding for the rocky roads.
I can’t think of two products that protect the iPads to the same extent as these for the same weight!
Our iPads still work out lighter than laptops – so we’re happy!