updated 12:54 pm EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Simple designs, different directions
On Tuesday Logitech announced several new iPad cases. Here at MacNN we were given a chance to try two of them, the Hinge and the Turnaround, both in versions for the iPad Air. Since they're relatively straightforward cases, we thought we'd give them a simple-hands-on rather than full reviews.
Let's start with the Hinge. It's a basic folio design, with a plastic shell to snap your iPad into, and an exterior cover layer. Neither is especially tough, but they're durable enough that you won't be worried about your iPad under most circumstances. It's also an especially attractive case -- the exterior is wrapped in woven gray fabric, while the interior has a smooth purple lining.
The real selling point, though, is its namesake. Many cases promise several possible stand angles, but in truth only one or two of them are stable. The Hinge is claimed to hold an iPad at any angle (in landscape mode) within a 50 degree range, and by some miracle it actually works as advertised. You do have to get used to the extra resistance when you prop up an iPad or close the case, but it's worth the tradeoff.
The Turnaround is similar in some respects, but even more stylish, looking like the stereotype of an "executive" notebook -- including subtle grain and a faux metal clasp. In reality, the case closes with a magnetic wraparound flap. That makes it a little cumbersome to open, but snapping it shut is a neat party trick, since the flap whips into place automatically.
Again, the main attraction is substance over style. The Turnaround's plastic shell rotates, allowing you to prop up an iPad in portrait mode, not just landscape. The value of this is questionable -- after all, how many apps only work well in portrait -- but well-executed. Unlike some other rotating cases, the Turnaround's frame is nice and stiff, ensuring that it'll hold at the angle you want it. Grooves in the lid serve as anchor points; these could be a little deeper, since our iPad slipped out of place a couple of times with heavy pressure, but that's a minor quibble.
A more serious problem is the Turnaround's tendency to scuff. In just a few days of use, we've already managed to spot white marks from where the case was resting on a relatively clean desktop. That would probably only get worse over months or years, and for that reason alone, it's difficult to recommend the case.
The Hinge is another story. It seems remarkably well-designed, and the lack of complexity may actually be a plus. It could become a daily driver here at MacNN for the foreseeable future.