While everyone’s needs are different, our ideal iPad case is as follows: thin, light, protective, and usable. That’s the killer combination, and of course a nice design is important too. This ideal combination is pretty much exactly what the Belkin Cinema Stripe offers the New iPad 3 (and iPad 2!).
The Cinema Stripe is a folio style case with a built-in stand, magnetic smart lock feature, and a magnetic seal. It’s covered in a plasticky faux-leather. While faux-leather isn’t for everyone, I actually find the look and feel of Cinema Stripe to be pretty enjoyable. Plus, it holds up well and doesn’t easily show greasy finger prints (which I loathe!). The inside of the case is covered in a soft microfiber.
The New iPad 3 snaps right into four rubberized corners inside the Cinema Stripe case. It’s the perfect fit and still allows for easy access to all ports and buttons. There’s a camera hole cutout on the back which is large enough to not obstruct picture taking. Just remember, you can’t fold the cover behind iPad if you plan on taking a picture.
Belkin did a great job at figuring out how to offer iPad multiple viewing angles that are sturdy and work well. The design is similar to many of the other folio cases, where iPad tilts and sits in a groove on the inside of the front cover. Belkin’s competitive advantage is that instead of one or two grooves to stand iPad at one or two angles, it has an array of small grooves that allow you to stand iPad in a multitude of landscape angles. The Belkin Cinema Stripe can also prop iPad at a good typing angle. This mode is similar to Apple’s iPad 1 case, where the front cover is folded along a crease and placed under a slip on the back of the case.
So is the Belkin Cinema Stripe case for the New iPad 3 and iPad 2 the ideal iPad case? It hits just about all of our requirements: thin, protective, and very usable. Considering its sleek design, it’s actually heavier than you may think. The only disappointment is that the magnetic auto-wake smart lock didn’t work at all (the feature was enabled in the settings). According to Amazon reviews, this was an issue for some users. This wasn’t a huge upset considering we find that most auto-wake cases aid in battery depletion. We enjoyed the smart professional design as well as the available color schemes, but ‘to each his/her own’. The Belkin Cinema Stripe is currently available in blacktop/gravel(pictured), indigo/overcase/gravel, and light-pink/white/gravel. It can be purchased from Amazon for $37.49. At just under $40 it’s a great case, even if the auto-lock feature doesn’t work.
The Good: Works for iPad 2 and New 3, thin, durable, protective, good access to ports/buttons, great stand at various angles and affordable.
The Bad: Magnetic auto-lock feature didn’t work at all and its heavier than expected.