Accessory Review: TabGrip for the iPad

While drudging through the maze of booths at CES, I came across the friendly folks from TabGrip.  They were demonstrating their iPad accessory, a multi-functional stand that protects and displays the iPad in multiple positions.  I was reluctant to abandon my toddler-proof Otterbox case and the piece of mind it provides, but as I was in Las Vegas, and he wasn’t, so I decided to give the case/stand hybrid a chance.  I was much relieved to shed the bulky weight of the Otterbox.  I had nearly forgotten what an elegant piece of technology a naked, or nearly naked iPad can be.

Read on for more pics and my review of the TabGrip.

The Build

The TabGrip consists of rubberized plastic and durable TPE.  The center backing section is thick and flexible.  The four side grips are dense, semi-hollow plastic which keeps the added weight to a minimum.  Each of the four grips also act as fully adjustable hinged legs for standing up the iPad at different angles.  I was nervous when I saw the band of reinforcing metal inside.  I feared they would come into contact with the back of the iPad and cause scratches.  The metal is recessed, however, and never touches the device.  The case stays on through tension, so one merely inserts the iPad in the slots and it stays on.  It has enough give to accomodate screen protectors and reportedly even the front/rear combo InvisibleShield, although I did not test this myself.  I did try the TabGrip without any screen protector and later with a front screen shield, with no discernible difference in the installation or use of the TabGrip.

The Look and Functionality

The semi-case offers a nice industrial feel while not hiding the beauty of the iPad itself.  The grips are ergonomic and add an easy-grab handle to each side of the device.  They offer a little leverage when holding the iPad with one hand, and a thicker grasp when holding with two, which prevents cramping in the hands.  Each grip is a hinge, allowing for landscape display, banking for typing or portrait display.  I found it very handy and useful for pulling the device in and out of my carrying case, reading and placing on a surface for viewing.  At one point I had to stand it on a hotel desk while cross-checking some information on my phone, and being able to quickly and easily deploy the attached stand was a pleasure.

For protection, the TabGrip relies on a principle similar to the iBallz protector.  The grips absorb shocks and raise the iPad, so the near naked back and screen don’t actually come into contact with surfaces.  However, unlike the iBallz, the corners of the iPad are left completely unshielded.  I am still reluctant to put my iPad in a toddler’s hands without a full enclosure.  As for docking, each of the hinges on the shorter sides of the device provide pass-through docking for the standard Apple 30 pin cord.  It’s nice that they placed them in both hinges so one doesn’t have to remember to line up a specific grip when installing.

Overview

The TabGrip has its niche in the iPad accessory market.  It is a well-built, thoughtfully designed, lightweight hybrid case.  It offers true functionality by adding comfort grips and built-in multi-display stand.  It is aesthetically pleasing for those wishing to protect their iPad while not hiding the iPad itself.   Users of the TabGrip must be confident in their abilities to transport their device without dropping it in a way that could crush a corner.  The TabGrip is currently $39.99 with free shipping at TabGrip’s website.  To see a video of the TabGrip in action, visit their YouTube channel.

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