Slate Shield useful for using your iPad for photos, video
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Slate Shield useful for using your iPad for photos, video

By Danny Winget

We love our iPads. We love using them in every way to consume daily media and touch our way into productivity. There was one thing I loathed using on the iPad 2 -- its abysmal rear camera. Since the launch of the new iPad, the inclusion of the 5MP camera with advanced optics has increased users interest in taking more videos and pictures with the device.

I personally have tried to do this in public places and it is awkward. The iPad is large and too bulky to carry around and hold while shooting video or pictures. It also requires you to hold it with both hands while shooting video and pictures to stabilize for the best shot. What if there was a new way to hold the iPad in your hand while performing this task?

Do you long for an alternative way to hold the iPad in your hand while browsing the web and playing games while leaving one hand free to perform the touch gestures the application requires? Enter the Slate Shield iPad case. This new product features an adjustable hand strap built into the back of the case to slip your hand into. Will this unique strap alleviate the problem at hand or will it make you go back to the classic two handed method of holding your iPad? Read on to find out.

Build quality

The Slate Shield is built of sturdy black plastic that is thick and rugged. The case gives strong protection to the screen by surrounding the perimeter in case of an accidental drop. The case surrounds the iPad except for the top of the case where you insert the device. Even with this flaw I found throughout my testing that the case did a great job protecting my new iPad through a few drops. The ports are exposed nicely to access the various buttons, camera, and charging without any hassle.

The strap for your hand is flexible but well built. The included kick stand seems flimsy and cheap when you activate it, but when it is in place the stand works exactly as advertised. A nice addition to the package is the included screen protector and the capacitive pen stylus. Both work extremely well, especially the latter.

Impressions

The Slate Shield is built like a tank. Its thick plastic protects it from scratches and accidental drops and the strap on the back has not failed or broken. The circular rotator that gives the strap its movability is smooth and the kickstand does its job.

The only negative is the top of the iPad being exposed, but I am guessing this is more of an engineering limitation as there had to be a way to insert the device if they wanted a unibody plastic design. The build quality gets a thumbs up overall. The kickstand works to prop up the case landscape and in portrait mode but in the "typing" mode the flexible kick stand makes the typing experience unstable and makes the device bounce with each key press. It is not terrible but is noticeable.

The functionality

The hand strap on the back of the case does exactly what it says it does. You slip your hand into a flexible Velcro held strap that secures the iPad into the hand of your choice. This makes picture shooting and video shooting a breeze. The iPad can be stabilized without a problem with one hand leaving the other hand to focus on various spots and hit the shutter button. I can see this case being extremely useful for a person that uses their iPad camera often.

It also makes web browsing and video gaming a pleasure. There is one downside: the iPad is heavy and bulky. After an extended period of time you find your wrist to be uncomfortable due to the weight of the device and may find yourself setting it down on your lap or table.

I found myself only using the strap when I was showing pictures or playing Draw Something with the included stylus. As time went on I found myself not using the strap at all and went back to my old methods of holding the iPad. I found myself trying to lay the iPad on to a counter to use it but the strap on the back makes it awkward on a flat surface.

The strap itself cannot be taken off to lay flat on a table or desk. That I found to be the biggest drawback of the case. Maybe in a revision Slate Shield can make that part removable and give the choice to the consumer if they want it on there or not at the time of use.

Conclusion

There are a ton of iPad cases out there. If you use the camera on your new iPad often to shoot pictures or video I would recommend this case. The Slate Shield makes that operation a breeze and the iPad feels secure in your hand throughout the process. The strap on the back of the device is a great feature but cannot be removed. Many people use their iPads on flat surfaces and this case hinders that use.

You do have the option though to use the kickstand to bringing it to a typing stance, so if you like to use your iPad in that fashion then the problem will be non-existent. The Slate Shield gives you more than adequate protection on your device while giving you a new way to hold and enjoy your tablet.

The Slate Shield is available today for the iPad, iPad 2 and the New iPad for US$54.95. Visit http://www.slateshield.com/ for more details.

 
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