The iPad Mini with Retina Display may look a lot like the original iPad Mini, but it's a tad thicker and has an extra microphone on the back that none of the leaked specs revealed.
The result of those small design differences is that many older iPad Mini cases don't fit the Retina version, and case makers have had to to make new, slightly modified versions of their existing cases. In other words, when you buy an iPad Mini case for your iPad Mini Retina, make sure it's fully compatible (all the cases listed here are).
As always, we'll be updating this list as worthy products come in.
Click the arrow above (or the image) to see the picks.
Photo by: Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET
Apple iPad Mini Smart Case
At $69, Apple's iPad Mini Smart Case is one of the pricier cases out there, but it's also one of the best. It comes in six colors (I tested the yellow) and one material: aniline-dyed leather. Like Apple's previous Smart Cases, the auto-wake cover folds into a stand and there's a microfiber lining "that helps keep your display clean."
The case fits both the standard Mini and the Mini with Retina and shouldn't be confused with the Smart Cover, which only protects the front of your iPad (I'm more partial to the Smart Case, though if you want to save some money and keep your device as slim as possible with minimal protection, the Smart Cover is always an option).
Incipio makes a few different cases for the iPad Mini Retina. In the past, my favorite has been the LGND, an origami-style case that folds back into a stand. That one's certainly worth considering, but I'm going to highlight the Lexington this go-round because I tested it and liked it.
Speck's Folio cases were among my favorites for the iPad Mini and now the company has tweaked the design with the introduction of the StyleFolio for the Air and iPad Mini Retina. This is a a relatively slim case that converts into a stand and has an improved clasp to keep the cover closed when your iPad isn't in use. Earlier folio cases from Speck left part of the back your iPad exposed when in stand mode, but the new model keeps everything covered.
Following up on the success of the StyleFolio, Speck has released a second, more expensive folio case called
DuraFolio. I thought the StyleFolio was a really solid case (it still
is), but the DuraFolio is clearly superior. It's just got a sleeker, more
durable look and feel and is the case I'm using most often on my iPad
these days. It currently comes in two colors (gray and pink), but expect more to colors to appear in the coming months.
Alas, the Moshi Versacover is fairly pricey, but it is one of my favorite cases. It's an Origami-style case that's thin and stylish and has nice microfiber finish (yes, the back folds into a stand). It's one of the slimmest cases that folds into a stand that you'll find for the Mini Retina (this case doesn't fit the standard iPad Mini, but Moshi also makes a Veracover for that model as well). Available in multiple colors.
I use the earlier version of this case with my iPad 3 and standard iPad Mini and it's held up well. What I like about it is that it's both thin and sturdy and has a built-in kickstand for video watching. Available in multiple colors.
MoKo, Invellop, and others make cases for the iPad Mini with Retina that are essentially knockoffs of Apple's Smart Cover -- but with a faux-leather finish. Needless to say, they cost a lot less. Like all knockoffs, they're not as good as the real thing, but at a seventh of the price, it's hard to go too wrong. Available in multiple color options.
As you'd expect, OtterBox is serving up its iPad tough case, the Defender, for the Mini Retina. Like other Defender series cases, it has a built-in screen protector along with a separate screen cover that that converts into a stand. It comes in three color options and will be available later this fall.
Tough cases for the iPad Mini are gradually arriving and the Pelican ProGear Vault Series is a strong competitor to the OtterBox's Defender Series case. This one isn't waterproof but it is water-resistant. Available in a few different colors.
It took LifeProof a little extra time to come out with its updated waterproof case for the iPad Mini Retina (it's available in white or black; strap not included). This model has a protective screen cover while the Nuud version doesn't (but it still keeps your iPad sealed off from water and dust).
LifeProof also makes several accessories for the case, including a separate cover/stand that attaches to the front of the Fre. It cost $39.99 -- or you can buy both the case and cover/stand for $119.99 or $10 off. No, these LifeProof cases aren't cheap, but they do offer excellent protection, particularly at the beach, around the pool, or anywhere near water.
Like Dodocase, Pad & Quill makes a number book-bound style cases in various finishes and color options. The company prides itself on the fact that its cases are made in the US (St. Paul, Minn.) and that it's a family operation. I like the Contega best because it coverts the best into a stand, but the company also has less expensive options available.
If you don't want to spend a lot, there are several simple, affordable cases for the Mini Retina, including the slim RooCase. It comes in a few different color options and is available as an add-on item at Amazon for a mere $3.99.
Note: This is not the only RooCase you can pick up for the Mini Retina. Other models cost a little more, but most come in under $10.
I've liked Element's Soft-Tec Folio line for both tablets and
smartphones. This Ducati-branded version is a bit pricey (it costs $10
more than the standard Soft-Tec case), but it's one of the nicer cases
out there -- it's both slim and durable.