Disclosure : I purchased this case direct from the Apple Store for £59.95 (GBP), the review is my own as are my thoughts on the product.
With that said let me say I am a huge fan of Tech21 and the gear they put out. I have a Tech21 case on both my iPad Mini (2nd Gen) and my iPhone 7 Plus – both are still in perfect condition and their Tech21 cases have kept them looking effectively unused. It was then a no brainer for me that I would use a Tech21 case for my iPad Pro 10.5.
Off I trotted to the Apple Store in Belfast and picked up the Tech 21 Impact Clear (Rear) Case – costing a whopping £59.95 (GBP).
Prior to this I was using a : MoKo Case for iPad Pro 10.5 : http://amzn.eu/3umECES (NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK).
The Moko Case was great – a bargain in fact, however it wasn’t Smart Keyboard compatible. I had purchased a Smart Keyboard so needed a case that would work with it.
So along came the Tech21 Impact Clear (Rear) Case :
Everything was as expected – the packaging is top class, almost (not quite) but almost Apple standard packaging, a nice well constructed box, with an almost silky texture opens via a nice cloth pull tab to reveal the case.
But then really you should be getting this sort of quality at the £60 GBP price point.
As you can see this case has a built in ApplePencil holder.
The good news about this pencil holder is that it detaches, so if like me you keep you iPad in a protective sleeve they you can detach this holder to make that still an option – beats buying a new wider sleeve!
As you would expect from Tech21 all the cut outs are there and of course they are all perfectly aligned – the buttons all work, volume is easily adjusted, the screen is easily locked, the charging port is accessible and the speakers are free to pump out that lovely iPad Pro soundtrack. Perhaps most importantly the rear camera is unhindered by the case in any way.
The reason I originally purchased this case was for the Smart Keyboard compatibility. And that it has, the Smart Keyboard connects without issue and all options for using the Keyboard as a stand works exactly as it should.
So that all sounds good right? Nice packaging, detachable Apple Pencil holder, well cut and perfectly aligned ports, camera cut out, Smart Keyboard compatible, speaker holes, and 3DO drop protection. Of course it all sounds good.
But that’s all it does… sound good.
It pains me to say it but Tech21 have really dropped the ball here. Everything that is good are the basics you need from every case, it’s nothing special to get any of those things right. For me this case fails on too many levels to make it a viable daily option.
Firstly it is not screen shield friendly. The vast majority of users, especially those needing a tough drop proof case will be using a screen shield. When I put this case on mine it started lifting my screen shield, which was gutting at it was on perfectly, not a bubble in sight not a spec of dust underneath it. Now this case was trying its hardest to mess it up.
Secondly, and most disappointingly, it feels poor. It feels flimsy and weak, I trust Tech21 products everyday, however when I popped this rear on it inspired no confidence with me. I buy a good tough case to make my iPad tough, I don’t mind if it adds a little bulk, in fact in buying a tough case I expect it. However this felt weak and brittle, I instantly didn’t bond with it. I tried for a couple of days to see if I could get used to the case, I couldn’t. Its weak and brittle feel inspired no confidence in me, it had to go back. I simply couldn’t justify £60 for this case.
By the time I took it off the case had continued to conflict with my screen shield and it was lifting on all four corners, ruining the aesthetic of the screen and truthfully making it unuseable. Any benefit of having such a gorgeous retina screen was not gone by the huge bubbles creeping across the top and bottom of the screen.
The case was returned hassle free to Apple and the money refunded (which bought me a new strap for my watch 😀 ) and I went back to Amazon and puchased an i-Blason [Compatible with Official Smart Cover and Smart Keyboard] Clear Hybrid Cover Case [Updated Version] for Apple iPad Pro 10.5 inch : http://amzn.eu/240zpsi for a much more reasonable £16.99 (GBP). (NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK)
That is the case I am still using and will maybe do a review of it some time, but it should be suffice to say that the case has all the good points of the Tech21, but for me it just feels more substantial, also I could by 4 of these for one Tech21 case. I honestly can not see how Tech21 see the £60 price tag as justifiable for a slither of plastic with a touch of 3DO. I am still looking for the perfect iPad Pro 10.5 case but in the meantime the i-Blason case is my day to day option. If you are considering an Tech21 case I strongly suggest you go to a store to try it out, you may well love it, you may hate it, but make sure you are happy before you spend £60 when there are other very viable case options out there.