Today we give Griffin's first iPad 2 case a good looking at, and to say we were unimpressed would be doing a disservice to cases we've been unimpressed with. There are so many things wrong here that we hope we even remembered to cover (cue groans) them all. See us give the Elan Folio Slim a big, hairy eyeball right after the jump.
We should have known. We really should. After all, the Griffin Elan Folio Slim case was being sold the same day as the iPad 2. One can only imagine how fast Griffin must have worked to get this case designed, manufactured and into retail channels the same day as the iPad 2's release. That had to be the cause of some design issues, right? 

Right! Oh well.., it was only $39.99 (+ tax)...

To be fair, the design of this case is very similar to that of Apple's very own first-generation case, a case loved by some, maligned by others. At bighugenerd we fall into the former category. While we recognized its shortcomings, for at-home use the Apple case was hard to beat. It added very little bulk to the original iPad, and, most importantly - it protected the iPad from household scratches and scuffs by covering every side and corner. This is something we like to see in all iPad cases.

So, the Griffin Elan Folio Slim, then...

At first, glance, it looks quite well-made. But don't be fooled. The outer cover is made of some fake-leather-something material. The inside is a grey suede-like-something material. Who really knows what these cases are made of anymore?

The case has cutouts for the bottom dock connector, the front camera, rear camera, microphone, speaker, volume/power etc. 

But Griffin made a rather significant design mistake. More on that in a bit...

The Case of the Problems with the Case

The problems with the Elan Folio Slim start as soon as you begin using it. Sliding the iPad 2 into the case is easy, and a little flap protects the left side of the device by sliding under the iPad 2 once it is in position. Just like Apple's first-generation iPad case. But then you start to notice how things just... don't fit very well. The best way to describe the feel of the case with the iPad in it is "sloppy." The white-stitched edging wasn't loved very well as it was sewn into the case, causing some mis-stitching along the edges, and... wait... what's this? 

No, that's not a hair. It's one of numerous rogue threads I had to snip off the case. Not exactly what we had in mind for $39.99, with tax or otherwise.

But it doesn't get much better from there. The cutouts look like they were made on a Friday night, after one too many beers. Here's the camera cutout, for example. We figure you could fit roughly three iPad 2 camera lenses in that space.


I suppose it does still fulfill its purpose. It just does so without any grace whatsoever. 

A more troubling fit/finish issue with the Elan Folio Slim is that with the iPad in it there's a huge gap between the glass and the material in portrait mode where all kinds of dust and crud quickly gathered for a party. Take a look.

You could fit a small family in between there! I even tried to! I failed, but I did find a piece of honey-wheat pretzel in there after a few days. The pretzel was yummy, so I suppose to put a positive spin on this: The Griffin Elan Folio Slim! With Food Storage Capabilities! Available now for $39.99!

No. Not convinced either.

The Design Flaw

So, getting back to that little design error, then.  Let's go back to the picture with the rogue thread. 
See, when holding the iPad in portrait orientation, the top of the Griffin case actually covers the ambient light sensor, which is located just above the front camera lens. This means that the iPad won't automatically brighten the display when you go outside, because - to the light sensor -, it's always dark, since it's covered by the case. Oops.

So What's to Like?

We appreciate that Griffin recognized the value of Apple's first-generation iPad case. And uh... it's definitely a case... that... you put your iPad in? We're really struggling to find other good things to say!

So What's Not to Like?

The fit and finish is pretty awful, the stitching along the edges isn't straight and frays easily, the camera cutout is huge and not centered, the ambient light sensor is blocked, the case wreaks of cheap and yet... it costs $39.99. Did we mention there might be tax on that?


We feel slightly guilty (only slightly) for being so harsh in this review. If Griffin had worked on this one just a tad longer, it really could have been a great case. As it is, we feel quite robbed. We ended up giving this one away so that we wouldn't be reminded how much we spent on it.

We award the Griffin Elan Folio Slim a well-deserved two nerds.

PS As we were giving this away, we noticed a hole in the case for the iPad 2's speaker that wasn't even cut out properly. We snapped a quick picture with a phone. Oh dear, Griffin. Oh dear.
5/12/2013 02:56:45 pm

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Sliding the iPad 2 into the case is easy, and a little flap protects the left side of the device by sliding under the iPad 2 once it is in position.

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