Over the last five years Griffin has become a household name amongst the tech savvy, manufacturing protective cases for nearly every new Apple product released. In continuing with their tradition, they have a slew of new products on the way for the iPad.
Griffin was nice enough to send us one of their newest protective cases for the iPad. The AirStrap is a premium case that engulfs the iPad in a thick rubber frame with a stabilized strap on the back, allowing you to hold the iPad in one hand effortlessly.
The main packaging for the case consists of a printed cardboard packaging, the packaging illustrates how you can use the case with the iPad. There’s also a brief description of how the case functions.
Pulling the case out of the main cardboard package you’ll have to rip off the cellophane that surrounds the product. When I first felt the case I was surprised by the bulk of it. I thought the case was going to add an immense amount of bulk, so much so that the combination would be too much to handle for every day use.
From he images above you can see there’s quite a bit of material there. The back of the case actually has a contour shape to it, this is molded to give you good grip when holding the iPad.
Spin around to the outer side of the case, you have perfect cutouts for all of the ports except for the volume buttons and the sleep-wake button, these are molded into the case.
Fitting the iPad into the case is pretty much a breeze. You can see the fit in our unboxing video. The iPad just slides into the case, the ridges will hold it in place while giving you some shock absorbency if you happen to fumble the iPad onto a flat surface. The fit is very snug and all of the cutouts are near perfect. You can tell Griffin definitely put some time into the R&D.
However, not everything is perfect here. The molded buttons are extremely hard to press and they offer little tactile feedback. You must press extremely hard to put the device to sleep or to adjust the volume. While you can press the buttons, you have to put a lot of effort into it. I think the case would be better if they would have gone ahead and cut the buttons out like the rest of the ports.
Other than the button issues the fit of the case is supreme. All of the ports align perfectly and there’s no gaps for dirt and debris to get in your iPad or in-between the iPad and the case, everything sits flush against the iPad’ chassis.
The selling point of the Griffin AirStrap is as the name implies. The case features a double neoprene layer, the top layer is spliced into a rubberized strap and the bottom layer of the neoprene is the full back of the AirStrap case. The strap lays flush with the bottom layer of the neoprene, this is good because it means the strap is going to be snug.
There’s enough tension on the strap to keep it from flopping around. Since the back is made out of neoprene the strap will stretch to your hand, but will also keep it’s original shape once you remove your hand. The likelihood of the strap stretching out over time is pretty slim, as long as you don’t have cinder-blocks for hands, you should be alright. The build quality of the strap is very good and it should hold up for the life of your iPad.
The underside of the strap has adequate grip, it’s covered in raised rubber grips / nubs, they are very reminiscent of a non-slip-grip work glove.
WHO’S IT FOR?
To be honest, I’m not sure who the AirStrap is marketed to. I would like to lean more toward doctors and nurses mostly because they seem to lug tablets around quite a bit these days. The AirStrap would most likely put a little ease on their hands during long work days. Office workers and the like could also benefit from the strap.
If you have no interest in the strap, but are intrigued by the contours of the case, then I would say this is definitely a selling point and for those of you that wished your iPad had a little more beefiness, then the case is for you. The contoured shape comfortably rests in your hands and it makes the iPad comfortable to use and hold.
I do have some concerns about the strap. More so of how you hold it, if you plan to hold the iPad in horizontal mode instead of the illustrated vertical mode, you might find some discomfort in your arms or you may become fatigued rather quickly. This case seems to be favoring vertical orientation more than horizontal. Everybody’s anatomy is different though, so while it may not work for me, it might be comfortable for you.
I definitely think there’s a market out there for the AirStrap. Griffin might be going after a niche, or they might be selling the case to a certain market, I cannot say who will buy it, or who should. The case is definitely worth a look even if you have no plans on using the strap. The extra bulk and contoured edges might be enough for someone. After using the case for a bit, the extra bulk definitely is comfortable.
At $39.99 on sale, you cannot beat it for the price. The Griffin AirStrap provides adequate protection, and it’s sturdy enough to take a good jolt, however I wouldn’t recommend throwing your iPad on the ground.
• Contoured shape adds good grip to the iPad.
• Rubberized strap gives good grip to the skin, won’t slip easily.
• Neoprene is comfortable and long lasting.
• Port cutouts are extremely precise.
• Molded buttons are extremely hard to press.
• Strap is not ideal for horizontal use for most people.
• Extremely tough to get the iPad out of the case. At times we felt like we could crack the screen of the iPad if we weren’t careful.
I am going to rate the Griffin AirStrap a 4.5 out of 5 on The Mac Universe rating chart. The case is great for all around protection and usage. The strap is an added bonus for those that need the extra protection.
Legal: The views expressed in this review are those of The Mac Universe and it’s writers. We were not paid to review the above product. Product reviews were free of charge. We abide by a strict review policy and we aim to deliver unbiased reviews no matter the product.
Please read the Griffin review policy for a better understanding. http://bit.ly/griffinreview
We would like to thank Griffin for giving us the opportunity to review their products.