by Brent Dirks
July 4, 2013
The FactsCompany: G-Form Product: XTREME Price: $59.99 Compatibility: iPad mini Website: g-form.com Date: July 4, 2013
The BasicsAccessory manufacturer G-Form relishes in torture-testing iOS devices protected with its cases. If the company isn’t tossing an iPad from near outer space, a base jumper is seeing what would happen if a protected iPhone was dropped in a free fall of more than 1,000 feet. Probably not surprisingly, both devices survived without a scratch and worked just fine. And with the introduction of the iPad mini late last year, G-Form has recently introduced the XTREME case for the smaller tablet. Much like with the Extreme Grid case for the iPhone that I reviewed last year, the top draw of the XTREME is its unique Reactive Protection Technology. G-Form claims that the RPT material absorbs a whopping 94 percent of the force generated from any drops, hits, or other collisions. Once the impact has been dispersed, the material is designed to return to its normal, soft state.
Use And FeelG-Form is well-known for featuring big and bold designs on its iOS device cases, and the XTREME is no exception. The back of the case is adorned with a large “X” design that helps protect the iPad mini and help you stand out in the crowd. Along with the black version I used, the case is also available in blue, red, and silver. Getting an iPad mini inside the case is easy. Since the material is flexible and elastic, just bend the case back and slip it over the tablet. While the bottom Lightning connector and speakers are open, the power and volume buttons are protected with the same RPT material. Thankfully, unlike some other iPad mini cases, the back camera lens isn’t covered. All four corners of the case also feature added protection, which is really nice to see. At first, I was a little weary of the XTREME and worried if my iPad mini would be harder to hold with the case. But my fears were quite unfounded. The case is extremely comfortable to hold and use on a daily basis for long periods. The XTREME does come with a included foldable magnetic screen cover that is meant to mirror the function of Apple’s Smart Cover. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in practice. The magnets that hold the hinge of the cover to the iPad itself must battle against the squishy RPT technology. And as a result, it can barely function as a cover or stand. After a few days of fighting with the cover, I removed it and never looked back. I’m not a screen protector or cover fan anyway.
How Long Will It Last?Before entering the accessory game, G-Form got its start by using its RPT technology to produce protective gear, like elbow pads and knee pads, for extreme athletes. And I’ve used the XTREME for the better part of a month, and it still looks and feels as good as it did when I opened the package. I expect it could easily take whatever an iPad mini user could throw at it, literally and figuratively, for a long time.
How Does It Stack Up?Compared with other rugged cases for the iPad mini, the XTREME does a very nice job holding its own. Since there is no built-in screen protector, I’d rank it just slightly ahead of OtterBox’s Defender series for the smaller tablet.
- Unique and lightweight design.
- Reinforced corner protection
- Easy to hold and use the iPad mini in both vertical and horizontal orientation.
- The iPad mini is held firmly in place with the protective elastic layer.
- No screen protector.
- The included foldable magnetic screen cover is flimsy and not worth using.