bighugenerd
 
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We just reviewed Speck’s FitFolio, and found it a decent albeit unremarkable cover for the iPad 2, and we wondered if Speck could do better. Enter the PixelSkin HD Wrap to attempt the perhaps impossible. It’s a cover, an iPad 2 does indeed fit in it, and it’s definitely very pixel-y.  But do we love it? Find out after the jump.


At bighugenerd we appreciate case manufacturers trying out different things. The FitFolio and PixelSkin HD Wrap are both very different from each other, and we firmly believe more choices are better for the consumer. So, the PixelSkin HD Wrap, then. 

When you take it out of its cardboard cover, you can tell that, much like the FitFolio, Speck thought about this one before releasing it. 
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It’s a very solid piece, made out of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). This means it doesn’t get soiled very easily (in theory), and you can wipe messes off it, such as coffee or greasy stains. 

Getting the iPad 2 into the cover is definitely a case of one bit at a time, wrapping the TPU around the iPad 2 edges as you make your way around the case. It’s a little fiddly, will take a minute to do it, and getting the iPad 2 out is equally tricky.

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Once your iPad is in, though, you see how clean the case is from a fit/finish perspective. The iPad 2 fits perfectly and all the edges are aligned correctly. This is a real change from the FitFolio’s somewhat flawed build quality.

Its front cover replicates Apple’s own Smart Cover by folding into different shapes to prop the iPad up landscape for movies etc, or landscape for typing by slotting the front cover into a cutout in the case. It also does the good old book fold, for those with iBooks addiction.

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Speck has seen fit to cover the power button and volume controls, so you lose some tactility here, but you should get used to this pretty quickly. Cutouts are flawless for the speaker, microphone, camera and dock connector. Great stuff.

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While this case doesn’t feature Smart Cover technology to turn your screen on and off with magnets, it does feature micro-suction. Now, I don’t know about you, dear readers, but when I read this I immediately picture an octopus, with those little suction-y things on its tentacles. The reality is quite different. It’s basically a moderately sticky strip along the inside edge of the cover that adheres to the screen when you close it. Yep, that’s it.

And that’s a problem, for three reasons: 
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1.) The strip doesn’t feel very nice when you have the cover wrapped around your iPad 2, book-style. Your hands rest on it, and I keep thinking I have chewing gum on the back of my case. And I don’t even chew gum!
2.) The strip leaves a nice vertical line on your iPad 2 glass after you’ve closed the case. It’s easily wiped off, but you shouldn’t have to!
3.) The strip picks up all kinds of dust and lint that sticks to it. And then that ends up on your screen when you close the case!

And then there’s the aesthetic issues: With the case folded directly in half in landscape mode, there’s a little cutout for the front cover to slot into and hold firm, but the cutout bows a little as you can see below. And that's pretty ugly. As we know, the iPad 2 is an aesthetically pleasing device, so why do this to it? Why!?

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Which leads us to our next big issue:

The case lacks any real emotion. Wait, what? Yes, truly, this case lacks emotion. It’s a solid, hard, hefty (around 7oz!)  thing that does its job very well, but isn’t very comfortable to hold due to its plastic-y feel. It's also too heavy for our tastes (especially the front cover which is remarkably weighty). When you put your iPad 2 down on the counter in this case, it thunks. Yes, thunks. It makes that awful sound of ohdearithinkijustdentedmyiPad2. You probably didn’t, but the feeling is still there. There’s not that soft, happy padding I want for my iPad 2.  

And then there's the pixels. Yes, for those of you with Speck’s PixelSkin HD case for iPhone 4, this is very similar.

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Except with a small iPhone 4, this style of case works much better. On the larger iPad, we think this is one ugly case. Even worse is that there are so many areas where bits of food and dust can accumulate that within a day of usage we had a huge amount of crumbs and goodness knows what else in between the case “pixels.” I mean we like leftovers like the next person, but when it comes to iPad 2 cases this made us grumpy!
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Whew. It feels good to get this off our collective chest. 

So What's to Like?

We like that the case feels well made. It's easy to put into landscape-locked mode. And it does fit the iPad 2 very well.

So What's Not to Like?

Quite heavy (noticeably the front cover), leaves smudges on the screen from the micro-suction and the folds in the front cover. It’s subjectively ugly, objectively unemotional, and attracts crumbs etc in the grooves like you wouldn’t believe. 

Verdict:

We wanted to love this case just as we loved our PixelSkin HD for iPhone 4. But we just didn’t. It’s certainly not an awful case, and there are those of you out there that will snap this one up with glee. For us, though, we’ll keep looking for a case that gives us the warm fuzzies.

A disappointing 3 nerds out of 5.
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scott
4/20/2011 07:00:55 am

Thanks for this (and all of your other) review(s) - I was seriously thinking about ordering this case - but now I know I can save my money for something else....

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Yo
12/27/2011 03:41:55 am

I have this case and I agree with some of this, but it seems like you just wanted to hate this one. The only real problem I have with mine is the crumbs getting between the pixels, but there isn't a lot and they're wiped off easily. But I actually like the look of the case, I'm not an apple whore and don't want to flaunt my iPad around so I like the simplicity of it, it makes it look nice and sleek. And I thought the added weight was just enough to give the iPad a more solid feel but not enough to make it painfully heavy, I mean come on. And the micro suction really isn't just a sticky thing, it feels very slightly sticky to the touch mpbecause of the micro suction not a sticky adhesive and leaves no mark on my iPad like the review said. Anyways, might not be for this guy reviewing, but I love mine, wish it had the auto lock though, might try to ghetto rig a magnet on there myself

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