iCircle iPad case pairs protection with a pop-out stand
For a hefty $70, this cleverly designed case buys you a lot of style and versatility. But just how durable is it?
What's flat, black, circular, and holds your iPad?
(Quick note: The vendor's Web site isn't quite finished yet, so you may notice some placeholder text. But you can order the iCircle directly from Amazon if you're interested.)
The iCircle is a glossy plastic shell that clips onto the back of your iPad 2 or new iPad. Its most prominent feature: a circle that pops out from the rear and holds the tablet upright in either portrait or landscape orientations.
You can get the case in black with a black circle or white with a silver circle. I tested the latter, a shiny and gorgeous color combination.
I'm a huge fan of cases that double as stands, as I frequently find myself wanting to prop up my iPad for portrait-orientation reading (which leaves out Apple's Smart Cover -- though I should mention that the iCircle leaves room for one if you want to keep yours in the mix).
The iCircle's circle is exactly that: a hollow ring that pops out at an angle to hold your iPad upright. You rotate the circle 90 degrees to switch between portrait and landscape viewing, and rotate (after a fashion) your iPad to switch between high and low viewing angles -- the latter good for typing.
The added bonus of this design is that the circle, when retracted, is deep enough that it affords a really nice grip point for one-handing the iPad.
My big complaint with the iCircle is that it feels cheap. The shell itself seems like it would crack rather than absorb a fall, and in fact my review sample is already showing a slight fissure along one of the corners.
What's more, the spring-loaded arms that hold the circle are made of plastic and seem quite delicate. I suspect that one accidental bump of the circle while it's extended would cause it to break right off.
Update: According to a company rep, those arms are actually made of a "die-cast zinc alloy," and therefore should be able to withstand a good deal of punishment. They certainly look and feel like plastic, but I'm assured they're metal.
That's a shame, because I really like the iCircle. I just think that for $69.99, it should have a sturdier design.
What's your favorite iPad case? (Bonus points if you name one with a built-in stand.) I continue to like the.