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The Best iPad Cases Reviewed, For Bibliophiles and Ballers

ipad cases
Apple's newest wundergadget is many things: e-reader, photo viewer and supreme opportunity for retail catharsis. But the iPad is, in fact, still a computer: a hard slab of metal and glass that doesn't exactly warm the cockles of one's heart (and palms). It's a bit heavy, a little delicate and because of its slick surface, not terribly comfortable when you're trying to hold it with one hand. For those using it for any sort of heavy-duty typing, combining the iPad with a wireless keyboard presents its own set issues (the angle of the screen on your desk, to name one).

We'd argue that your choice of iPad case is a significant one: for something that's going to go on the road, into work and even to bed with you -- as it's jostled, passed around and gripped along the way -- the appropriate case becomes a key part of the tablet experience. Here are 11 great options for holding and toting your new best friend.

Creative

The DODOcase is a hand-crafted beauty, designed and built in San Francisco that utilizes traditional book-binding techniques. Inspired by the beloved Moleskine journal, it's pretty much guaranteed to class up any situation -- many orders thus far, in fact, have come from artists and photographers looking to use their iPad as a digital portfolio. It's made from faux leather and bamboo, which provides strength without adding much weight. The cover folds back so you can prop your iPad up at an angle, allows access to all buttons and ports and, like the Moleskine, has an elastic strap to keep closed while you're on the move. You'll have to wait 4-6 weeks for delivery, but it's easily worth it.

Price: $49.99

High Society

For the most elegant iPad toters among you, Austria-based Hard Graft makes a pretty stunning iPad folio. Constructed from 100-percent wool felt and vegetable tanned leather (we're not sure which vegetables), Hand Graft's case is like a full-body massage for your iPad. You'll have to pay extra for shipping from Austria, and the case is sold out, but orders start up again April 19th. But hey, it even has a pocket for your iPhone. For those looking to make their iPad even more of a status symbol than it already is, Vaja makes some rather posh leather cases with removable covers, customizable with Swarovski crystals if you're into that sort of thing.

Price: $89.99 and $350, respectively

Klutz

If you're looking for a simple, all-around case to protect your iPad, crowdsourced design hub Quirky has the Cloak. Quirky constructed a non-slip rubber option that lets your iPad slide in through the top. The back props up the iPad in either portrait or landscape view (with multiple angle options for the latter), and the hinge clicks into place where you need it. The multiple color options make this the perfect case to leave on all the time: it's eminently grip-able and the rubber padding will soften some of the blows when your iPad gets tossed around (while being thin enough not to be a bother). Belkin and Incase make some cover-less options as well.

Price: $42

Craftsman

Those looking for a homemade case with a homemade vibe have some good options on Etsy. Janine King Designs has an assortment of nice sleeves and bags for the ladies, and Blythe King makes some really pretty (and nicely padded) sleeves and socks from vintage patterned materials. Finally, ColcaSac has some earth-friendly sleeves with outside pockets for other gear.

Price: $34.99 – $79.99

Traveler

Incase's Travel Kit Plus is a great option for those looking to make the iPad the hub of their portable office. Along with a padded pocket for the iPad itself, there's an additional compartment designed to hold all your accessories. A large Velcro pocket is built for your Apple Wireless Keyboard, while two elastic bands manage your cables. There are additional pockets for your charger, viewing stand and even an old-fashioned notebook. The plush faux-fur lined interior makes for excellent scratch protection.

Price: $59.99

Hunter

If you're looking for a more rustic way to transport your high technology, Temple's got you covered Its iPad satchel comes in either waxed-canvas-and-leather or entirely leather constructions, and both fold out for viewing your iPad either vertically or horizontally. There's room in the other side of the satchel for accessories, and the padded shoulder strap provides extra support. As its creators note: "We want this case to look like a portfolio your grandfather may have pulled from the closet to remember 'days from a better time.'"

Price: $149 - $189

Office Worker

Speck's PixelShield and PixelSleeve cases are pretty straightforward approaches to toting your iPad around. The textured, padded neoprene case fits your iPad all snug-like, with a micro-fleece liner that won't scratch the screen. Each model has a handle on either the horizontal or vertical end of the bag -- depending on whether the "briefcase" or "lunch tote" look is more your style. Makes a nice option if you prefer using your iPad sans case, but want to deflect light rain or flailing elbows when moving it from place to place. (If neoprene is your thing, Incase and Belkin make similar products, without handles but with an included stand from Incase and an outer pocket for the Belkin.)

Price: $39.99

Bookworm

Designed in Minnesota by two self-described bibliophiles, BOOK is about as close as you can come to transforming your iPad into a, you know, "book". Each one is handmade in a studio in Minneapolis by two artists who use 100-percent wool felt for the interior lining. You can even customize your spine and cover text for an extra five bucks. There's nothing fancy going on here: no special pockets, no features and you have to physically take the iPad out of the BOOK to actually use it. It's not "tech" at all. But isn't that the point?

Price: $89.99

University-Bound

Cut from a solid block of recycled aircraft-grade aluminum, Drawcase is the metal briefcase of iPad sleeves. It's lightweight, with an impact- and crush-resistant shell (no word on whether or not it's bulletproof, however), and the inside is lined with protective foam to keep your iPad comfy. It closes up tightly thanks to the help of embedded magnets, and will be available in a range of rather beautiful colors when it ships, which should be any day now. It won't be crushed by heavy unmentionables or college textbooks, which should hopefully be obsolete sooner rather than later.

Price: TBA

Design Nut

If you want something to match your ski lodge interior and/or coffee table, the Vers iPad case fits the bill. Like the other products in Vers' line, the case is hand-crafted from solid hardwoods and bamboo and reinforced with steel for added support. There are openings for accessing the charger port and volume controls, and a little fold-out kickstand pops out for hands-free viewing. Woodsy and durable.

Price: $79.99

Rugged

It might not look (or sound) the part, but Hard Candy's signature bubble design provides great protection for the rugged outdoorsman. As the name would imply, the case is flexible plastic, but more heavy-duty than your standard neoprene set-up. The molded case features fitted rubber bumpers that keep your iPad in place while you climb Kilimanjaro, and the soft interior lining treats the screen nicely.

Price: $49.99

Tags: accessories, apple, apple ipad, AppleIpad, belkin, blythe king, BlytheKing, BOOK, cloak, colcasac, dodocase, drawcase, etsy, features, hard candy, Hard graft, HardCandy, HardGraft, incase, ipad, janine king designs, JanineKingDesigns, list, pixelsheild, pixelsleeve, quirky, speck, temple, top, vaja, vers

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