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ipadpencilreview

iPad Pro review: the Pencil is mightier than the stylus

Man skating, done in SketchBook app

iPad Pro review: the Pencil is mightier than the stylus

ipadprofordrawing

by Tablets for Artists

Note: here’s a post about what’s new on the iPad Pro 2017 (10.5″ and new 12.9″)

Features

12.9″ (diagonal) Retina display, LED backlit, multitouch
4GB RAM, 32 GB and 128 GB models (memory not upgradeable)
Wi-fi and cellular models. Wifi superior to regular iPad
Resolution: 2732 x 2048 (5.6 million pixels, 264 ppi)
Colors: silver with white faceplate, gold with white faceplate, Space Gray with black faceplate
Adjustable refresh rate increases speed
A9X chip with 64‑bit architecture, fast enough to edit 4K video
Speakers directly in unibody enclosure; four hi-fi speakers
Magnetic connector connects keyboard and other accessories
8MP camera
Sound adjusts according to tilt

9.7″ iPad Pro:
2GB memory
2048 x 1536 resolution (also 264 ppi)

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iPad Pro 12.9″ with Apple Pencil

What’s in the Box:

iPad Pro
Lightning to USB Cable
USB Power Adapter

Optional Accessories:

Apple Pencil
Apple Smart Keyboard or third-party keyboard

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Overview

Update: Additional info about the 9.7″ iPad Pro further down the page. The main advance of the smaller one is the display.

The first thing I noticed about the iPad Pro was how much lighter it feels than it looks. It’s rail-thin, but has a sturdy build. The screen real estate is generous, giving 78% more space than the iPad Air 2, and there’s enough bezel to let you hold the tablet by it. I like the subtle silver trim, a bit of tinsel for the holiday-season release. There’s even a matching silver band near the charger end of the Pencil.

You can keep the screen print-free by using the Apple Pencil, whose sleek, white surface brings to mind a pipette. I’ve always found inspiration in the sight and smell of worn graphite nubs with their flaking ochre paint. But this colorless, plastic implement feels just familiar enough, and its blankness begs you to add color and life. Whereas the MacBook had a pressure-sensitive, Touch Force touchpad, the iPad Pro put that into the screen, and integrated it with the Pencil. It brings to mind Steve Jobs’ pronouncement: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” (I think we can move past his anti-stylus stance at this point). But for all the great design, it isn’t a complete artist’s paradise, as we will see.

The Pro’s size is the main difference from an ordinary iPad tablet. It’s a heck of a lot faster, too, with performance rivaling many desktop computers, both Apple and PC. It has a powerful graphics and adjustable screen refresh rate, which lengthens battery life. The high-res retina display screen has great color and is sharp as can be. You could probably find a needle in a photo of a haystack.

The ppi is 264, about the same as the Surface Pro 4.

Portability

At about a pound and a half, it’s light enough on its own to carry around easily, but not that comfy to hold in one hand, or hold up to read in bed. The size requires a bag big enough to hold a laptop. And after adding a protective hard cover and keyboard, you end up with as much weight as a laptop.

Drawing with the Apple Pencil

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Apple Pencil. (Click image to see it at Amazon)

 

 

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Apple Smart Keyboard keys

 

The long, elegant Pencil, powered by Bluetooth, has terrific accuracy. There’s no parallax or jagged lines around the edge, no skips or stepped lines. The processor uses Force Touch to provide pressure sensitivity. Tilt and rotation feel natural. You even draw using the Pencil with the tip on its side to do shading. The line is quite soft and natural looking, like a 4B pencil. It’s the best stylus for drawing that there is. Kudos to Apple for continuing to innovate.

appleipadproreviewdrawing

Soft, natural-looking pencil lines

Below are lines and shading done with the tip and then, going toward the bottom right corner, with the side of the Apple Pencil.

applepencilreview.lines

 

Palm rejection works well, unless you put several fingers down at the same time, then it gets confused, but that’s to be expected.

In keeping with the minimalist creed, there are no buttons on the Pencil, and no eraser–a cap covers the non-drawing end, and you take off the cap to plug in the Pencil to charge it. There aren’t settings for the Pencil, you just pair it with Bluetooth and that’s it.

The Pencil is comfortable to hold, though I think it could feel heavy after drawing for long periods. One neat thing is that you can grip the pencil near the non-tip end and use some wrist action to draw loosely, as you might with a charcoal pencil. This is made possible by the shape of the tip, and the weight helps. Because a fair amount of the tip can leave marks, the Apple Pencil reminds me a bit of a woodless graphite pencil, which I enjoy using in my non-digital time.

Some of the brushes took time to settle into a shape slightly different from what I’d drawn, as if to impart the effect of liquid ink. There was no such delay or change using the Pencil for pencil lines.

There’s no “tooth”; the glass screen is slick. The Pencil’s tip has a hint of cushioning but is pretty hard. It’s difficult to say if or how much the tips will wear down. So far, Apple is not selling replacement tips. If it shows signs of wear, you can rotate it while drawing to keep it sharp, as artists often do with graphite pencils.

One annoyance is that there’s no way to attach the Pencil to the iPad Pro. There’s no pen loop, USB holder, slot, or magnet, as on the Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4.  There’s no ridge to stop it from rolling should the iPad be resting at an angle. You gotta have a plan for that.

Worse, the little cap that covers the charger can easily get lost, leaving the charger vulnerable. It would be nice if the cap could fit over the pencil end while the pencil is charging, but it doesn’t.

applepencilreview

Is that a charger cap in your hand, or an aspirin for when you lose it?

You can’t use the Apple Pencil on other iPads, only the Pro. Bluetooth styluses and keyboards will still work; the Pencil pairs with the iPad Pro via Bluetooth.

man skating for illustration friday site

You can draw with the side of the tip of the Pencil. Drawing at a less sideways angle with the Pencil brought better and more realistic results. Drawing directly with the side didn’t look so much like a pencil mark as a soft, spongy brush or big crayon.

 

ipadpencilreview

This dog is practically drooling over the Lightning Connector.

You can use your finger to make playful marks while also using the Pencil.

My handwriting looked pretty natural, but it felt like a bit more effort to write, and when writing in cursive the letters flattened out a little. That doesn’t happen with Wacom.

ipadproreview.pencil

You can put your John Hancock onto documents.

In the Notes app, you can pull up a virtual clear plastic ruler and move it around with the Pencil or your fingers, and use it to draw straight edges. Very cool, and useful for drafting. You can use apps that have layers, such as Sketchbook Pro.

You can only use apps, not full desktop programs. There’s no easy way to access your files to open them in different apps, and, annoyingly, no central way of saving them.

Display: 12.9″ iPad Pro vs. 9.7″ iPad Pro

The gorilla glass is pretty slick, and the Pencil slides across it, but it isn’t as slippery as some screens. Colors look great.

Both the larger and smaller iPad Pros cover and slightly exceed the whole sRGB gamut. The 12.9″ iPad Pro has excellent color accuracy, and the 9.7″ very good, with a very bright screen, about 430 nits. The larger Pro is less bright, at about 375 nits. The smaller one, though, has TrueTone color, which adapts itself to your surroundings, and is supposed to emulate paper. Don’t worry, you can disable TrueTone in the settings if you want.)

It also uses a second color gamut, the DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut. That’s what’s used in 4K UHD TVs as well as digital cinema. It also has Night Shift, which takes out the blue light that keeps you up (similar to fl.ux, a free Windows app). The smaller iPad Pro has virtually perfect color accuracy.

So is the amazing screen a reason to choose the smaller one? Maybe, but I still prefer the larger screen. Hopefully Apple will make the next version of the larger one with an equally great display.

Lightning Connector

Now instead of just charging your iPad, the Lightning Connector is bidirectional–it can give, and take, power. On the iPad Pro, it serves to not only charge the device, but to connect a keyboard and charge the Apple Pencil.

Battery Life

The Pro has 10 hours of battery life, and the Pencil lastsfor 12 hours on a full charge. And charging the Pencil for just 15 seconds, a deed akin to sharpening a wooden pencil, gives you 30 more minutes of drawing.

The charging port is on the side of the iPad Pro, so that the Pencil point sticks out at a perpendicular angle into the air–so be a little careful in crowded coffee shops.

User Reviews

The iPad Pro pushes pressure-sensitive tablets into the mainstream. Some users are finding that it substitutes for a laptop and a tablet, while some who already have a laptop and tablet can’t find much use for it and think the size is awkward. It wears many hats (caps?)–people are using it as a TV, a newspaper, ebook reader, a way to get work done on planes, trains, and buses, and a not-the-most-efficient laptop once you connect a keyboard. One iPad Pro review by an attorney praised it for saving a lot of paper, as you can pull up and sign PDFs so easily. It is ideal for paperwork. Professional artists doing an iPad Pro review seem to pretty much agree that it’s a sketchbook, not a substitute for a computer with desktop apps. Using the Apple Pencil for drawing is a hit with most people. Many iPad Pro and Apple Pencil reviews rave that the Pencil beats Cintiq pens. I do agree that it gives a new level to the digital drawing experience, and is fun as well.

Pros

Pencil has excellent accuracy
Tilt and rotation sensitivity, including using the side of the tip
Excellent palm rejection
Good for note-taking
Portability
Generous size
4:3 aspect ratio
High-res screen
Fast
LTE options
Good for tasks such as signing documents, dealing with PDFs–can replace a lot of paper

 

Cons

Cost
No way to tether Pencil to the iPad, or the end cap to the Pencil
Lack of eraser tip
OS doesn’t allow for convenient file management
Cannot use full programs such as Photoshop
no USB port
No SD card slot; storage not upgradeable
Screen is slick
Pencil is a bit heavy

Optional Accessories

 

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Apple Pencil. Click image to see at Best Buy
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Apple Smart Keyboard. Click image to see at Best Buy
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The Verdict

Is the iPad Pro a substitute for a laptop? Not really. Even using the iPad Pro with a keyboard is limiting. The keyboards for it can’t provide touchpads, you can’t use a mouse, and you can’t adjust the angle of the screen.

Is it a substitute for a Cintiq? Not really. You can only use apps with the iPad Pro, pressure sensitivity is app-dependent. The Pencil is not the issue here, nor is the screen. It does supply more of an “experience,” and solves the small, irritating issues with lines that affect Wacom, N-trig and other digitizers. But the OS is limiting. You can’t use full Photoshop or Illustrator or do efficient file management.

On the positive side, I think anyone could pick this up and intuitively go with the flow, just draw, without any learning curve, and that’s motivating. Drawing could get pretty addictive, especially with the ability to share the drawings so easily. Even the Wacom Cintiq 6D art pen doesn’t perform the side-shading feat. Beginning or hobby artists would love this, and professional artists would enjoy it as a very cool-looking digital sketchbook. I have no doubt it will be popular.

Apple hasn’t deigned to tell us how many levels of pressure sensitivity there are. Guess we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it.

See the iPad Pro on Amazon

There are some handy, low-cost accessories out there that solve the annoying problem of the loose cap that can roll away. They add a little weight, but many artists are happy with them.

 

Here’s a cool Apple Pencil clip:

Alternatives

If you’re looking for a less expensive digital sketchbook, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ with S Pen or the 2017, higher-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, both Android tablets with a Wacom digitizer.

Update: Here’s the new Surface laptop (Surface Pro 5)

 

The Toshiba dynaPad, a mobile Windows 10 tablet, is also one to consider if you’re seeking a portable sketchbook. (note: this product is older now and no longer being made).

The Surface Pro 4 is probably the main competition to the iPad Pro as far as non-art issues; the Pro 4 will let you use Photoshop.

Accessories

If you’re looking for a handmade iPad Pro case that with an amazing set of positions, read our post about the FlipSteady.

Read all about the top drawing and graphics tablets.

end of iPad Pro review

See top iPad drawing apps.

See best artist tablet PCs

Apple releases iPad Pro with Apple Pencil Stylus

Well, the big day is here. Apple is releasing the iPad Pro, with a larger screen and features like multitasking is here! It will have more speed as well as features like multitasking and a split screen, similar to Android tablets such as the Galaxy Note. The iPad Pro will have a 12.9-inch diagonal screen with 5.6 million pixels. Now that’s resolution! It will start at $799.

Here’s a look at the new, $99 Apple Pencil Stylus.

Astropad: Turn your iPad into a Cintiq?

Astropad app gives your iPad Cintiq-like powers

This week saw the Astropad app launch. Its pitch is that it can “turn your iPad into a professional graphics tablet.” Now your iPad becomes an input device.
It works over wifi or a USB. It can handle up to 60 frames per second, fast enough for animation and video (though not for sophisticated gaming, but you wouldn’t create or play those on the iPad).
ipadcintiq

To use Astropad, you need a Mac that runs 10.9 (Mavericks) or later and any iPad running iOS 8. Watch a video here.

It’s using your iPad as a graphics tablet/input device–so what’s on your Mac will be mirrored on your iPad.

Pressure sensitivity is dependent on your having the iPad styluses that are best for art, as well as the apps that give you the sensitivity.

Besides regular iPads, it works with the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.

If you use an iPad Pro, you’re getting a lot of the functionality of a Cintiq, though it doesn’t do all the same things.

It would be nice if Apple itself made more iPad and Mac compatibility, but it took the Astropad developers, who run an independent studio, to do it. Perhaps next comes a way of hooking up Android tablets.

You can download a 7-day trial from the Apple store.

Duet Display is an iPad app that’s similar but works with both Windows and Mac.

Best rugged iPad case: Five tough choices

Best Rugged iPad Case: Five strong contenders

The best rugged iPad case should be something you only need to buy once. These types of cases are the most protective. Some are military grade. Some are waterproof. Some have keyboards. Some seal the tablet in a hard, tank-like shell, while others buffer it with bouncy material. Most are drop-proof to a certain height. Some come with screen protectors that keep liquids from seeping in. A durable iPad case is a good choice for families with kids, or any active adult.

These are five of the top rugged iPad cases out there, selected for their high quality, features, and user praise.

For pointers on what to look for in a rugged case, please read our article.

 

Griffin GB35108 Survivor Extreme-duty Military Case for iPad 2, 3, 4 (4 is also called 3S)

Griffin GB35108 Survivor ipad case

This military-grade Griffin Survivor iPad 1,2, and 3 case might be the best rugged iPad case for you if you work out in the field, on a dusty construction or sports site, take photos out out in the elements, or have kiddies who spill milk onto the screen. It’s waterproof and dustproof.

The Griffin’s hard polycarbonate frame is surrounded by robust, soft silicone, protecting it from shocks and vibrations. The silicone’s inside has a relief waffle pattern that adds air cushioning, and the back has a tread design that provides additional padding against drops. A built-in screen protector protects the screen from dust, wind, and rain.

Raised silicone edges provide a buffer if you drop the tablet directly onto its screen, but the screen could still be damaged depending on the fall. A sleeve would provide additional protection.

The included small workstand clips cleverly onto the case. You can take off the stand and unfold it so that it will hold the iPad in different positions (only in landscape mode).

The silicone surroundings have hinged plugs that cover the iPad’s ports, connector, and lens.  A clever indentation in the silicone lets you keep the rear-facing camera port open as long as you wish by “buttoning” it down.

This durable, rugged, waterproof case adds almost a pound to your iPad.

Comes in 5 colors

Weight: 15.2 oz.

See more reviews and info

 

 

Lifeproof Fre for iPad mini 1, 2, 3

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A popular choice for the best rugged iPad mini case is the Lifeproof Fre. It protects against dirt, snow, water, and drops. It’s waterproof for an hour up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) and drop-proof for up to 4 feet, by military standards.

The Fre’s transparent back shows off the Apple logo. The rubber around the case makes it grippable and provides padding for the edges and a little buffer in case the iPad falls on its screen. It it does not provide thorough screen protection, so as with any case that leaves the screen exposed or with just a thin screen protector, you might want to get a sleeve as well. The Fre comes with a super thin, clear screen protector as well as a removable shoulder strap.

All the ports, controls, and buttons are accessible. Its sound-enhancing features make the iPad even more enjoyable for listening to music. The case has an anti-reflective optical glass lens for the camera, so it won’t distort or blur your photos and videos.

The description on Amazon is vague about which models this case is for, so we checked with Lifeproof and it is for the iPad 1, 2, and 3. It plays well with retina and the iPad mini 3 touch ID.

Lifeproof’s customer service is prompt and replaces cases if anything goes wrong.

Weightwise, the case is barely there–just 130 grams. If you want something non-bulky, this might be the best rugged iPad case for the way you roll.

Colors: Black, White/Gray

Weight: about 4.6 oz. (130 g)

More reviews and info

 

The Fintie Casebot Tuatera Series Uni-body Hybrid Case for iPad Air 2 (iPad6)

 

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Made of hard polycarbonate plastic, the affordable Tuatara protects the iPad3 on all sides, encasing it in a reptile-like hard shell. It has a built-in screen protector with good sensitivity. Under the polycarbonate is a layer of TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane. TPU is like a soft plastic. It’s far less flexible than silicone, but it doesn’t pick up dirt, lint, and oils the way silicone can, and it’s easy to clean.

This case is easy to put the iPad into. It is shock-resistant (but not military-grade), and its internal grooves and “air padding” help regulate heat and moisture. It is  light and not bulky. It will not interfere with the iPad Air 2’s ambient light sensor or Touch ID. The camera and port cutouts line up well. The screen protector will protect somewhat from liquids and dusts, but not from drops

This is inexpensive, so we’ve picked it as an best rugged iPad case that’s competitive with more expensive cases, and a good choice for families with kids.

Comes in 6 solid colors.

Weight: 10.4 oz.

Read more reviews and info

 

Gumdrop Drop Series – Military Edition, for iPad5 (iPad Air)

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Gumdrop Drop Series Military Edition iPad 5 has more protection for the iPad5 (also known as iPad Air, the first model) than the regular Gumdrop cases, which are also rugged, but this one is even more so. This one is made of silicone and hard polycarbonate, with the soft silicone on the outside. The corner bumpers are reinforced. There is a protective ring around the iPad camera. The screen protector is removable in this military edition.

The case is not waterproof. It does not come with a stand, making it lighter than the Griffin models that have stands. All ports and buttons are covered. This case has had oil hand-applied to the silicone outer layer to make it repel dust.

Comes in 9 colors

Weight 12.8 oz

See more reviews and info

Gumdrop Hideaway with Stand for iPad Air2

Gumdrop cases command loyal fans. Some just love the look and feel of them.  Gumdrop’s siliconized rubber bumper surrounds the whole iPad and raises a bit more cushion for direct screen drops than some other rugged cases (still, try not to drop the iPad onto its screen).

The rubber covers the whole back and protects all the ports, but they are still easily accessible. A hard internal plate protects the iPad from drops up to 6 feet. The attractive, sporty, tire-like tread texture makes the case fun to hold and gives it a no-slip grip. The rubber does produce a bit of static that picks up dust.

The Gumdrop is pretty easy to install–you have to push down on the rubber all around the iPad, rather than just snapping the Ipad into the case, but it’s simple. A Gumdrop may be one of the best rugged iPad cases if you have kids.

If you want a durable, but not military-grade, iPad with a stand, try the Gumdrop Custom Hideaway with Stand. This is a good case for kids and has a “fun” look and feel. It’s not quite as protected as the military one, but it’s still very durable and has most of the features.

gumdrophideawayipadair2

 

Unfortunately, the iPad Air2’s light sensor is covered by this case, so auto-dimming will not work.

7  bright colors. Weight 1 lb.

See more reviews and info

ZAGG Rugged Folio Case: best rugged iPad case with a keyboard

zaggruggedbookipadair

If you’re looking for a really durable iPad case with a keyboard, this might be the ticket.

Like some other rugged cases, the Zagg Rugged Folio is made from layers of polycarbonate and soft silicone that will protect your iPad Air from drops. But the Zagg also features a stainless steel plate under the keyboard for more drop protection as well as a stable surface to type on.

Rubber runs around the edges when the case is closed, to keep out dirt and dust. The island/Chiclet-style keyboard attaches and detaches via strong magnetic hinge. It’s easy to detach the keyboard if you choose.

Some cases require a bit of gymnastics to take the iPad out and put it in, but this case is easy to install.  The case is durable and protects from dust and dirt when closed, but if you’re in a windstorm while the case is open, dust could get into the keyboard. For most uses it’s fine.

It’s NOT waterproof; the iPad ports and buttons are not sealed inside the case.  The case does not come with a screen protector, but you can add one.

My favorite part is the keyboard with its choice of dimness and lighting colors, making typing relaxing or stimulating as you wish.

The case takes four forms: Keyboard Mode, Case Mode, Video Mode, and Book Mode. In Keyboard Mode, your iPad becomes like a Mac laptop. You can open or close the cover to any angle for comfortable typing and viewing. In Case Mode, you can detach the keyboard and just use the case.

In Book and Video Modes, you can turn the screen on the hinge, so in Book Mode you have a slate, so you can read. You can re-attach the keyboard to the back while in Book Mode. In Video Mode, you look at the screen while the keyboard faces away from you (watch the video below to see all the modes).

The lithium polymer battery keeps the keyboard going for up to two years! There’s a battery monitor that lets you see the power left (1-4 lights go on). The keyboard charges via mini USB, but you can wait two years between charges.

The case is quite heavy at about a pound and a half, so with the iPad Air, about two and a half pounds, heavier than some laptops. It’s also not waterproof. But it’s very solid and makes your Air into a well-functioning laptop-tablet hybrid.

Despite it’s not being waterproof, this is very useful and versatile, and could just be the best rugged iPad case for the mini.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsXXeGROiuU

See more reviews and info for the Zagg Rugged Folio

 

Browse all rugged iPad cases on Amazon.

 

Here’s how to tell what model iPad you have:

from http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201471
iPad Air 2. Year: Late 2014. Model nos. A1566, A1567

iPad Air. Year: Late 2013. Model nos. A1474, A1475, A1476

iPad mini 3. Year: late 2014. A1599, A1600

iPad mini 2. Year: late 2013. Model nos. A1489, A1490, A1491

iPad mini. Year: late 2012. Model nos. A1432, A1454, A1455

iPad (4th generation). Year: Late 2012. Model nos. A1458, A1459, A1460

iPad (3rd generation). Year: early 2012. Model nos. A1416, A1430, A1403
iPad 2. Year: 2011. A1395, A1396, A1397
iPad. Year: 2010. Model numbers A1219, A1337

end of The Best Rugged iPad Case: Five to Consider

Finding the Best iPad Case Part 2: What to Look for in a Rugged Case

Finding the Best iPad Case, Part 2: What to Look for in a Rugged Case

by Tablets for Artists

best ipad case

“Let’s switch to FaceTime!”

IPads are used in the military for everything from logistics to chatting with family back home. IPads get knocked about in deserts, jungles, and Jeeps, in extreme dust, in freezing and hot temperatures, and they see action like few back home ever see. Many iPad cases for sale are made to military-grade standards.

But civilians have bumpy lives too. They travel. Their kids treat iPads like bouncing balls. And face it, everyone is a klutz at least some of the time. A military-grade case can be the best iPad casefor active people.

Companies have responded to the challenges the active lives of iPad owners by making tank-like containers that seal in the device so it’s snug as a bug. Some of these are waterproof or water-resistant, dust-proof and drop-proof to a certain height, and some have hand or shoulder straps. Not all rugged cases have everything. Try to think of features you can and can’t live without.

Before purchasing a rugged iPad case, consider:

Weight. How much weight does it add?

Screen clarity. Does it come with a screen protector that lets you use the screen? Does the screen protector protect from spills? Is it removable? Is it sensitive to your touch, or do you have to press hard to get it to work? Try pressing the buttons. Try it with a stylus.

Is it waterproof? Water-resistant?

Does it have a wake/sleep mechanism? Most covers have magnets that do this.

Holding it. Does it have handy features such as a belt that you could attach to a hand, arm, or leg? Not everyone would use this, but if you’re out in the field, or a teacher giving a talk who uses the iPad to refer to notes, this feature can be useful. Or maybe it has a shoulder strap?

Grip. Does the grip slip?

Stand. Does it have a stand? Does it work in several positions and the two modes, portrait and landccape? Many stands are landscape-only.

If it has a built-in screen protector, can you still use your own, at the same time? Or as a replacement?

Protection. How is the padding, screen protection, corner protection?

Cutouts. all ports, plugs, and cameras accessible? Does the case protect the ports?

Mic. Is the mic blocked?

Appropriateness for your iPad. Is the ambient light sensor and retina functions working with the case, if they are supposed to?

Materials.  Most cases are made from materials such as silicone, hard polycarbonate,  or TPU (a soft plastic), rubber, or siliconized rubber. Some say silicone, though more flexible, can attract dust because it picks up electrical charges. TPU is harder but easier to clean. Pure rubber is natural. None of these are better in quality than the others, it’s just personal preference. Many durable, rugged cases combine hard and soft materials.

Fit. Is it easy to install and remove the iPad?

Features. Is there something you really need–a keyboard? Would it need to be built-in, or could you use a separate one? If you’re an artist, maybe the best iPad case for you has a notepad and pen loop.

Safety and wear and tear. Does it have little pieces that could break off? This is particularly important if you have children, as it could be a safety issue.

Price. Some are fairly expensive, but there are some affordable ones that work almost as well. The best iPad case for your lifestyle isn’t always the most costly one. A lot goes into these cases and getting the details right. Sometimes some batches will not fit iPads as well as others. In that case, using a company with good customer service will matter, in the event of a problem.

Customer Service: Is the manufacturer reputable and responsive?

Remember:

Check to make sure which iPad model you have and that your case is right for this model. There can be subtle differences in iPads even if they almost the same.

CLEAN your iPad screen before putting it into a screen protector.

By considering all these points, whether you decide you need a rugged case or not, you can find the perfect iPad case for your life.

Read our reviews of five of the best rugged cases.

Browse rugged iPad cases on Amazon.

end of Finding the Best iPad Case, Part 2: What to Look for in a Rugged Case