Apple’s designs are considered some of the best in the tech industry – when “best” is based solely on looks. But as for functionality from a design standpoint – well, there is none. Ergonomics seem to occupy the backburner during the design process while aesthetics are pushed to the front, creating the need for accessories that make holding and using the devices an easier task.
Luckily for us, accessory manufacturers are everywhere, and most of them do a pretty good job of fixing that design problem. One such manufacturer is CueTab, the maker of the CueTab iPad case. I was given the chance to test it out on my new iPad. I’ve had the case for a little longer than two weeks, so head past the break and read the rest of my review!
CueTab sent my red case in a simple plastic sleeve, which in turn was inside a USPS box. Inside the case itself is a piece of paper that serves as the “instructions” on how to use the case’s features, although they aren’t very helpful. If you were expecting more substantial packaging or literature, then I’m sorry to disappoint you.
Design and Quality
As I’ve stated – and you’ve seen – my review case was red, but CueTab offers five other colors: black, blue, green, pink, and transparent. The color shows up on the plastic that surrounds the iPad; it looks good, but it likes to pick up grease from your fingers. In other words, it feels gross after a while until you wipe it on something.
The CueTab case does not cover up the screen, but the response to that is of course subjective; if you like your screen out in the open and easily accessible, then this case is a serious contender for you. Personally, I feel that if I’m going to cover up any part of my device, the screen should probably be protected, too, even if it adds bulk or wastes a few seconds to get to the screen.
Another complaint I have about the plastic is its stiffness. Putting on and taking off the case is a major pain since it’s so stiff; to make matters worse, there’s no straightforward way to actually get it on, so you’re left to figure it out on your own – a process that took me a good three minutes. Thankfully, it’s not so stiff that it’ll wreck your tablet by clamping down on the glass or making you push too hard on any component.
Every cloud has its silver lining, although in the CueTab’s case (no pun intended), it’s a black lining. One of the main features of this case is its handle/stand on the back. The company hopes that it will allay the iPad’s lack of ergonomics and thankfully, it does.
The stand can be moved to any position because of the ring that it fits into. This allows you to use it in landscape or portrait depending on what you’re doing. Most cases only give you one orientation in which the iPad can stand, which makes this a nice departure from other manufacturers’ cases.
There’s also a handy “wrist strap” on the back of the case, underneath the stand’s closed position. If you slide your hand in all the way, it’s actually pretty comfortable and you can use the iPad while you walk around with it. I’m normally pretty wary about using my iPad while I walk, but the plastic strap was secure enough that any worries I had quickly vanished.
Like I said, the stand also doubles as a handle. Again, my wariness quickly faded away – this is one sturdy case!
When I first took the case out of its plastic wrapper and put it on my iPad, I was a little worried that it wasn’t a high-quality case. The stand was a bit wobbly (at first) and the cutouts for the iPad’s buttons and dock connector were a very tight fit.
It wasn’t until after I shimmied the case for a few seconds that I could depress the sleep/wake button at the top and plug in my charging cable. After our tango, however, my iPad was fully functional inside its new case.
As for that wobbly stand, it took me a little while to realize just how it works – which is why it was wobbly in the first place. The stand can be clicked into four different positions, each allowing for a slightly different angle of elevation. The first click doesn’t happen for a while, which means that you’ll have to pull the stand (which, at this point, is loose and will not prop up your device) away from the case until it’s at a right angle from the ring in which it sits. When the first position is locked in place, the stand will no longer move until the other positions are reached. Once in place, the stand does an admirable job of holding up the iPad.
I’ve never heard of CueTab before, and this is the company’s only product. But after spending two weeks with the case – and learning about its quirks – I can safely say that I’m a fan of the company’s product. I’ll be watching out for more CueTab products in the future.
As of the time of this writing, you can pick up your own CueTab case (in any color) for just $19.95 from the company’s website. The original price is $34.95 each – and even at the more expensive price, it’s a good deal.