Review: Seidio EXPERT portfolio case for iPad

Seidio adds to the list of pro-oriented iPad cases. (June 18th, 2012)

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Product Manufacturer: Seidio

Price: $54.95

The Good

  • Slick, professional look
  • Reasonably thick padding, microfiber lining
  • Solid typing mode

The Bad

  • iPad held in place with semi-adhesive glue
  • Upright stand mode doesn't work
  • Completely exposes iPad's sides
  • Slippery lid triggers sleep/wake functions, no matter if closed or folded back

One of the iPad accessory trends I find slightly absurd is the drive for a "professional" style. It might be a bad idea to turn up at a business meeting with a cartoon skin, but most cases are straightforward enough that there's no need to swathe an iPad in leather, or add half a dozen snaps or buckles. Seidio's EXPERT portfolio case manages to avoid some of the cliches, but in our review, we'll see if that makes it a genuinely good product.



Design & Features



The one thing that qualifies the EXPERT as a pro case, in fact, is the use of faux leather. White, brown, black, and purple versions are available, but in any circumstance it manages to look very slick at first glance. Neat grooves line the front, and the Seidio logo is tastefully etched into the front and back.



Those grooves are functional as much as aesthetic. The lid is modeled after Apple's Smart Cover, meaning that it can be rolled back into a prism shape and used to prop an iPad into typing or upright positions. Right away, though, the EXPERT begins to run into problems. While the typing position is actually remarkably comfortable and sturdy, the upright mode is totally impractical. After repeatedly adjusting the lid and even rolling it up in the opposite direction, I couldn't get the case to support a third-gen iPad for more than a few minutes -- inevitably, the weight balance caused the iPad to tip over backward.















Actually, just the way you install an iPad in the case is flawed. Instead of sliding your tablet into a frame or slot, you have to apply it to a semi-adhesive surface. This does a remarkable job of holding things in place -- even turning the case upside-down shouldn't cause an iPad to fall out -- but aligning things properly is a bother, and ultimately any kind of glue will lose its grip over time. Clearly this idea was a cost-cutting measure, rather than a feature.



The case also isn't terribly protective. I should note that it's reasonably thick, and uses a soft microfiber lining. The edges of an iPad are completely unprotected however, and in the short space of testing one corner of the lid started refusing to press flat. In theory the unprotected sides should at least make it easier to reach buttons, the mute/rotate switch or the dock connector, but in practice it can be annoying to graze your fingers along the sharp edges of the case.







Perhaps the cardinal sin of the EXPERT involves its sleep/wake magnets. The lid slides around far too easily, which can turn an iPad on and off repeatedly. As if that weren't bad enough, the same problem can occur when the lid is folded all the way back; just a slight change in your grip while reading or playing a game can put an iPad to sleep. Any good case design should be able to avoid this, and it certainly wouldn't be professional to have your iPad clicking on and off during a meeting or while you're passing through airport security.



Conclusions



The EXPERT is just not worthwhile in light of other portfolios from companies like Marware, SwitchEasy, or Incipio. Exacerbating the situation is the case's $55 pricetag; it might be a tolerable purchase at $20 or $30, but there are so many flaws and so few advantages that I can't fathom who would want the EXPERT at full cost. There are other options which are cheaper, offer better protection, and function the way a case should.

by Roger Fingas


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