A Reasonable Choice: The Speck FitFolio for iPad Mini

I’ve been looking for a great iPad Mini case since I got my iPad Mini. I don’t find iPad cases to be all that thrilling in general. The only case I used on my larger iPad for any real length of time, was Apple’s Smart Case and even then, I wished that it was softer and that it didn’t have that obnoxious lip on the outside edge that cut into my skin. Apple doesn’t make a Smart Case for the iPad Mini, yet, and until it does, I’m going to have to search for a third party product.

As far as third party products go, Speck Products have been hit or miss for me. I’m not a fan of their iPhone cases, because they either add too much bulk to the phone, or they are cheaply made and start falling apart after a few months and with the average price of a case setting you back 35$, it should last longer than a few weeks before it starts to look like you’ve owned it for a decade. That was my experience with the Speck Fitted Case for iPhone 3GS and the Speck See Thru cases for Macbook Air. I went through two of these after being assured by Speck that the corners on these cases should not break with normal wear and tear, only to discover that they actually do. However, the Speck See Thru Satin Case for my original Macbook? I still have three of those and they still work great and fit great and have no issues. As a result of this history with Speck Products, I came at the Speck FitFolio for iPad Mini with more than a little bit of trepidation.

One of the joys of the iPad Mini is the fact that it’s, well, “mini”. It’s like the difference between holding a Macbook Pro and a Macbook Air. It’s small. It’s thin. I didn’t want a case that was going to add a lot of bulk to it and everything out there looked like it was a big sock made out of rubber. I wasn’t pleased with that look. I didn’t find it to be at all stylish and iPads should be about the form as well as the function of the device. Other cases didn’t stay closed when you closed them, or had an elastic band to keep them shut and I know from experience with similar products that those bands do fray over time. The Fit Folio isn’t any of those things. It’s cute. It’s slim. It does add some bulk, but not a lot. The stitching on the case looks great, I wish that it was done in a contrasting color because it looks that good. It’s made of “vegan” leather, which is to say, not leather at all and also a choice of fabrics. For an iPad case, the price is low enough that I can forgive it not being made out of actual leather. It also seems to protect pretty well and it comes in a great variety of colors and patterns. The interior of the case sports a snap in hard shell design that does not completely cover the back of the iPad Mini, making it easy to remove from the case should you want to swap it out. The snap closure is great and seems secure. I love the malachite color of the case I purchased. It’s vibrant and fun.

That said, I don’t love the case. It has a couple of drawbacks for me that make me feel like I should keep shopping for something better. For one thing, flipping the front of the case back so that you can use your iPad is uncomfortable. I find myself folding into an accordion shape, so that I don’t have to touch the microsuede interior.  The feel that of that microsuede is just odd and there’s also the fact that it picks up dirt like crazy, so in order to keep it clean, you shouldn’t handle it very much. If you’re a heavy iPad user, that means this case will look dingy within a couple of weeks if you leave it on all the time. Also, the microsuede interior on this case does not clean fingerprints off of the screen like the microsuede interior on Apple’s Smart Cover.

I don’t generally mind things being made out of synthetic leathers, as long as they don’t feel cheap and unfortunately, this does and it also picks up fingerprints if you pick it up without waiting ten minutes between handling the case and applying lotion to your hands. The exterior does wipe down pretty nicely though.

Contrary to some reviews on the Speck website this case does not have a sleep/wake feature, which is available on the Fit Folio for the full sized iPad. That just begs the question of why this feature wasn’t included on the iPad Mini variety. It seems a huge oversight to make, especially given that when the iPad Mini was released, the only case available for it was Apple’s Smart Cover. It was the first accessory I bought for my iPad Mini and I definitely got spoiled by that sleep/wake feature and do notice its absence on this product.

In spite of these failings, there are some things to like here. The Fit Folio is not bulky at all. It’s nice and slim and it doesn’t add a lot of weight to the iPad Mini. The access spots for all of the buttons and ports and etc are beautifully cut and do not interfere with your ability to use your device while the case is on. Then there’s the price. It’s the same price as the average Speck Product, right around 35$, depending on where you shop. As far as iPad Mini cases go, that’s a fair price for what you’re getting. If you want something nicer, you will pay more for it, but if you want something that does the job at a reasonable price, the Speck Fit Folio is what you’re looking for.