How to Buy the Best Quality iPad Pro Case (Expert Advice)
Updated April 2021 -
Every 18 months or so Apple releases new tablet computers. Sometimes the cases for the previous generation models are compatible, sometimes they're not. If you're someone who's in the market for a new case for your Apple tablet, you've come to the right place.
We've created a list of what to look for when seeking out the best quality iPad Pro folio to protect your Applet portable and to meet your needs too.
How Most iPad Pro Cases Are Designed
Most iPad Pro cases start with a data set typically stolen from Apple's supplier and they create their sample cases off this data. The problem with the majority of these products is that they are engineered in the abstract but you use them in the concrete, in reality.
Another way of saying this is that they work great in the computers they are designed in but work terribly in the real world. They're great when they first arrive but quickly deteriorate to the point where they are cracking, the fabric covers peel off and you are left with something headed for a landfill or your local recycling center.
After testing many of these covers, it is clear that the problems are caused by the poor engineering of the molded parts of the cover. The molded parts are engineered and then molded in a non-stressed state. Once you install them on your iPad Pro, the plastic is stressed with some areas under compression while other areas are under tension.
This never lets up as long as the cover is on your tablet. Over time the material gives way and the plastic begins to crack and fall apart. As one area fails this puts even more stress on the other areas that remain, causing them to fail even faster. It's a downward spiral.
Needless to say, these are some of the worst quality iPad Pro cases out there and amazon sells a lot of them. For some reason, people buy these types of covers because they have been brainwashed into thinking that putting the cheapest folio you can find on the most expensive tablet computer made is a good idea. It's not. It's a bad one.
Recently a friend of mine asked what I thought of some "quality iPad Pro cases" she saw on eBay. They were Buy It Now offers for covers shipped to her door from China, for $10 a piece.
"The shipping cost more than the cover", I informed her. "But they're so pretty", she replied. She ordered two. These covers were the molded plastic type that clip onto the body of the iPad. The plastic was very thin and translucent. Both had covers that protected the screen as well.
20 days later the covers arrived and she was so happy. Yes, they were pretty and initially, they worked very well. About 2 weeks later I got a call from her frantically explaining that the corner of one of the cases had broken off. "I didn't drop it, I didn't do anything to it, it just cracked off!", she exclaimed.
I asked her how the other corners were holding up and as she was looking another corner fell off! Moreover, there were cracks in all the others as well as around each port and button. She was very disappointed. "How much did you pay for these again?", I asked. She got really quiet.
If you look at the three pillars of product design: value, style, and functionality, these covers proved to be a very poor value. Yes, they were cheap to purchase but they were also cheaply made. Yes, they had style, but for how long?
Any case you purchase should be designed to protect. That is the purpose of its existence. If the cover you purchase falls apart quickly it cannot protect. Not only that, you've wasted your time searching and now you'll have to search again. How much is your time worth?
For the case in question, its purpose was not to protect. It was to separate you from your money. In this instance, it was very successful. For you, it's a bitter shopping experience and one we hope to avoid going forward.
Choosing a Good Quality Case
The first way to ensure you're choosing a good quality iPad pro case is not to choose a bad one. Like the story above, the price will be a telltale sign of what your experience will be like and how well the folio will work. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the plastic covers above will be folios made by hand out of a material like leather.
With so many factories pumping our hundreds of thousands of iPad Pro cases, where do they all go? There are only so many store shelves. Sure, the virtual store shelves of online retail are endless, but with such overproduction, it always ends up as a race to the bottom. Shop smartly.
Many of these low-quality cases end up at your local discount store where they were sold as closeout items for pennies on the dollar. Many retailers have gotten burned and have grown very cautious about stocking an overabundance of cover offerings.
Apple has put itself on the same treadmill that Sony was on with their Walkmans thirty years ago and Nike is still on with their sneakers. The product life cycle for the iPhone and iPads is so much shorter than for Apple's other portables, their MacBook Pro laptops.
The desktop computer life cycle seems downright glacial compared with the fruit fly cycle of the iPhone and tablet. This is one of the main reasons why making iPad Pro cases is such a minefield.
As Apple's tablets enter yet another round of redesigns and next generations, I wonder if we will see a maturation of the market for protection solutions. Will tablet users grow tired of spending for low quality-covers that seem fine out of the box, only to crack, peel, and fall apart a short time later, causing further spending to keep the tablets protected? This is what you want to be wary of.
I wonder if this time around some of the customers who have gotten burned trying to save a few bucks on cheap tablet covers will break from their past behavior. Will they realize that they purchased the most expensive computer tablet on earth? Do you want to protect it with the cheapest case you can find?
What's the old saying, penny wise and pouch foolish.
A Quality Case is Good Insurance
A unique way of thinking about buying a high-quality iPad Pro 11 case or 12.9 case is to think of the purchase as buying insurance. Apple products have some of the highest resale value in the tech space.
Certainly more than their PC competitors. If you purchase a quality case to protect your Apple portable, you are almost guaranteed to receive a much higher price once it comes time to replace the tablet or laptop.
Because the hardware will look brand new. Just like with a car, a nearly new-looking used car will always command a much higher price than one that looks worn, abused, and tired.
Buying a quality case will ensure your investment in Apple's latest tablet will be protected. So this time next year with you've got your eye on the next-generation model, you'll be able to get the maximum amount for your slightly used, pristine Pro.
When reviewing your options in iPad Pro cases, think about the following:
• How will I be using my Apple tablet?
• What environments will it be needing protection from?
• Who is making this case?
• How long have they been around?
• What are the reviews for the model I'm interested in?
• What materials represent quality to me?
• Do I want a case quickly slapped together on a speed line or hand-made with care and precision?
• How is the iPad held in the folio?
• How do I interact with it?
• What are my "must-have" features?
• What can I live without?
• Do I need a secure place for the Apple Pencil?
• What about other functions like a place to store papers or cards?
Think about the features you'd like and how well they are integrated into the design of the case you are considering. Just because a design claims to have a "pencil holder" doesn't necessarily mean it's well designed or integrated into the design with any real thought.
Many manufacturers are just sewing an elastic loop to an outside seam and calling it done. It doesn't matter to them that the elastic loop doesn't securely hold your $100+ Apple Pencil, that it easily slips out and can be easily lost because of this.
What is Quality?
In "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" Robert Pirsig's seminal road trip tale, his main character is a man driven to the point of madness by trying to define what quality is. It's a deep thing, completely subjective and relative to most people.
I'm sure the people who made all those low-quality iPad cases I mentioned above thought that they were making something of quality. Does anybody go to work every day and think, "Awesome, I'm going to make some junk today! Real crap. Oh my God this stuff is garbage! Can't wait to put more of it into the world!".
Each of us has brought something at some point in our life that would fall into the junk, crap, and or garbage category if we were asked to describe it. Did we make that purchase knowing the product was "less than"? Or did we make that purchase thinking the product was "good quality" only to have it fall apart, break, or somehow not meet our expectations?
And that is the key thing to remember when shopping for the best quality iPad Pro case to meet your needs, that they're your needs. What is important to you might not be important to someone else. The needs of someone working on a construction site would be much different than the needs of an advertising executive.
The need for protection is the same. It's the execution that varies. Luckily, the tablet case market is big enough to provide quality solutions for almost everyone.
How to Choose the Best Quality iPad Pro Case
Now that we've discussed what not to buy, let's talk about what makes a quality iPad Pro case. As discussed before, you need to consider how and where you plan on using your Apple tablet. If it's for work or in a professional environment, choosing a design that reflects this professional aesthetic is a good idea. A professional leather iPad case is probably going to cost more upfront but should return an excellent ownership experience for as long as you own the Apple tablet.
Often a quality case will be made one at a time, by hand using methods that are centuries old and combining that with state-of-the-art technology where it will be the most beneficial. It's the"best of both worlds" approach to product design. A company like Rolls Royce uses the same philosophy.
Leather is an excellent material to craft a quality case from. It's a material that rewards craftsmanship and care of assembly. So often you can tell the people who assemble them do so with great care and a real passion for their work. This is revealed in the stitching quality and attention to detail.
Unfortunately, all this passion, craft, and art gets distilled down to an image on a screen and a price next to that image. It's hard to sell quality online. So the price sets the expectation.
Leaving out the $1000+ diamond-encrusted, celebrity-promoted designer covers, the best quality iPad cases will typically cost about 10-15% of the price of the tablet. This is a reasonable expectation for a quality piece that should last longer than you'll own the iPad.
Is it worth the price? This is where the manufacturer comes in. Find out how long they have been around. Read the reviews and better yet, talk to someone who owns the case that you're interested in. Getting a non-filtered, first-person account of the ownership experience will tell you a lot.
Think about how the tablet is held in the case. It is using a form of adhesive? What happens when the adhesive wears out? Will it damage my tablet when I need to remove it? What about a plastic tray? We've discussed the issues with hard plastic trays earlier. Are magnets or a polymer material being used to hold the iPad secure?
How the tablet is held in the folio will speak volumes of how protective the case will be. Apple's keyboard folio does not protect the venerable edges and corners of the iPad. A well-designed folio will ensure that the corners and edges are protected in some capacity. Again, how much protection you require is based on your needs, but some protection sure is better than none.
Features, Options, and More
So we've established that a quality iPad Pro case will be made from a material that will last and assembled in a way that will last. We've talked about being conscious of how a folio fits into your life and the environment you're going to use it in.
We've discussed price and touched a bit on value. But what about the functionality? Having a well-made case that doesn't do what you need is going to undermine your user experience. What are your "must-have" features and what can you live without?
Some features to think about are an auto-on/off cover that turns your iPad on and off automatically. Do you need a place for the Apple Pencil? Look for a secure storage method if this is on your list.
What about protection for the Apple Pencil when it's in the charging position? Again, Apple's cases leave the Pencil hanging out in space, easily knocked off and lost. A quality case will provide a storage place and protect the Pencil when charging.
Other features you might not have thought about but might be a good idea to have is a place for business cards, papers, or even the charging cable. Some folios expand these storage options and add a shoulder strap to create more of a shoulder bag. Other folios have pockets sewn to the covers, or slots on the inside to hold these items. Magnets can also be used to secure accessories to the case.
Overall the best quality iPad Pro case will be the one that checks the most boxes on your list. It will feature long-lasting, durable materials and manufacturing processes, an intelligent design that solves your problems and provides and an outstanding user experience.
It will include your "must-have" features and options to expand functionality. Moreover, once purchased, you'll never want to be without it. If you can find a folio that meets these criteria, you will not be disappointed.
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"The best quality iPad Pro case will check all your boxes..."