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RainyDayGiftGuide 2011 : iPhone and iPad Cases

There is no denying the explosive increase in sales of smartphones and tablets in 2011. The phenomenal growth of those devices also meant a healthy demand for related accessories. Companies offering cases for personalization, protection, or both went into high gear and churned out a huge variety of offerings. We looked at a LOT of iPhone and iPad gear, reviewed the ones which  appealed to us, and selected accessories from those for the 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. We know they work because we have used them for work.

Even though LifeProof is a newcomer, they have managed to generate a lot of buzz in the crowded space of iPhone cases. There are other cases out there that will make the iPhone impervious to the elements, but a LifeProof case will protect the iPhone from everything (water, dirt, snow, shock) without being a hulking case. So if you don’t want to worry about your phone, then LifeProof it.

Of course, not everyone needs LifeProof level of protection. For those folks, Otterbox has a number of cases which will be perfect for them. Otterbox cases are incredibly tough, thoughtfully designed, and will protect the phone from the everyday hazards (as long as no water is involved).

Still, many iPhone owners just want something to protect the phone from scratches and keep it looking new. There are literally hundreds of options. The one we like is the Trim Series from NavJack. You can see the full collection at Digital Foci. Like most iPhone cases, the NavJack will not protect the phone from water damage. But in the off chance that your phone does happen to go for swim, quick action and ready access to the DeviceDryer may save the day. The DeviceDryer from Digital Innovations is a reusable bag filled with desiccant. With any luck the drying beads may suck up enough of the moisture to prevent any damage.

When it comes to iPad protection, options are just as plentiful. The choices (case, folio, sleeve) depend on how you like to carry the iPad. Maroo’s stylish cases come with attractive artwork for those who want some flair to their cover.  modulR offers a system with mount, stand, and straps for the tablet. Hard Candy has a great line of colorful sleeves for those who like the their iPad naked, but protected when traveling. For users who want a well-protected iPad, the Defender case from Otterbox is the best protection money can buy.

We used to have strong negative opinions about cover/keyboard combo that would essentially turn the iPad into a netbook or mini-laptop. After using the Logitech and the Brando, though, we now realize that we have been COMPLETELY wrong in our original assessment of this accessory category.

The Brando wireless keyboard is one of the best integrations of a case with a keyboard we have used to date. The advantage the Logitech has over the Brando case is thinness, as the Brando case will make the iPad more than twice as thick. For some, this added bulk will be a deal breaker. For others, it will be a non-issue.

The iPad is fun, but it can also be a serious business tool. Users who want a more business-look to their iPad case will find no better than the SENA iPad2 Executive Folio . We reviewed it in detail in back May. Sena has always taken great care to produce protective cases that are completely customized to individual devices. Their iPad2 Executive Folio is no different. The case is comprised of selected calfskin Napa leather. With use, the leather adjusts and softens to develop a glove-like fit to the iPad.

We hope these recommendations will make your 2011 tablet gift-giving decisions a little easier. Happy Holidays!!!

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