Accessory Review: Griffin CinemaSeat for iPad

Do you like Griffin’s CinemaSeat? Do you own one? Are there better alternatives? Sound off in the comments!

Digital media has become so important in our lives to the point that we feel virtually lost without it. From sending text messages to watching television, technology has become an important aspect of our modern lifestyle. When you’re driving in a car, it’s no different. More recent car technologies range from Bluetooth headsets to portable electronic chargers.

Griffin offers many different accessories of their own that can be used within the car, such as the CinemaSeat; a headrest video case for iPad. It’s a great accessory if you’re carpooling or going on a long road trip, and you’ll soon find out why. For those with the new iPad, don’t forget to check out the matching CinemaSeat for iPad 2.

About Griffin

Griffin Technology is a worldwide leader in their domain. The accessory company has been designing quality accessories for portable electronics for nearly two decades. Their products can be found virtually everywhere; from Apple Stores to your local major electronics retailer (think Best Buy). The company has grown to serve nearly ever corner of the world with their products for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and many other devices.

I’m a huge fan of this Nashville-based company, whose workspace and employees are both down to earth. They make funny videos and seem to really enjoy what they do. I can’t stand a company that treats its customers like robots, and I accredit Griffin for doing just the opposite.

What’s Included

There are no additional accessories that are included with the CinemaSeat.


The CinemaSeat is designed to fit snugly on the back of a car seat’s headrest. There is a black, adjustable Velcro strap on the back of the case that wraps around the two metal headrest supports with a hook-and-loop closure. The strap is well-gripped and the iPad holds up very sturdily. The viewing angle is very comfortable and relaxing; perfect for a long road trip. The case doesn’t overlap or cover the screen whatsoever, so you get a full viewing experience for videos and movies.

The case itself is made of a padded faux leather and fabric frame with stitching along all of the edges. The front is pretty hard, while the back is more soft. It covers the entire backside of the iPad along with most of the front bezel. There is a stretchy, meshed pocket on the back of the case to bring along small accessories like headphones or a sync cable. It’s a convenient idea, but it’s hard to reach the items in this pocket when the case is up against the headrest. The entire right side of the iPad is uncovered with smaller openings for the speakers, dock connector, headphone jack, and microphone. The foldable strap on the back is branded with Griffin’s logo.

While the CinemaSeat is certainly designed to be used for watching videos and movies, it certainly can be used for many other purposes. One such thing that you can do is connect a Bluetooth keyboard to your iPad and type documents or notes at face level. It’s perfect for any task that requires little to no use of the multitouch screen (otherwise, I would imagine your arms would become quite tired).

It would be nice if you could purchase the CinemaSeat in different colors. As of this writing, grey is currently the only color offered. This is great if you have a car with a grey interior, but not so great otherwise. The car that I took these pictures in (a 2010 Kia Forte) has a mismatching black leather interior. The grey does look very nice against the white iPad 2.

Score: ★★★★


The CinemaSeat isn’t necessarily designed to be as protective as a regular case, but it is still offers a considerable amount of protection. The case is somewhat protective against minor drops, wear and tear, dents, and abrasions. On the flip side, there is the entire right side of the iPad left exposed which poses a considerable risk of not only collecting dust, but scratches as well. Plus, the CinemaSeat really only caters to those that use their iPad without a case in the first place.

Score: ★★★

Value For Money

You can get your own Griffin CinemaSeat for iPad for $44.99†. This includes free basic shipping within the contiguous lower 48 United States through May 31st, 2011. I find it rather ironic that the CinemaSeat for iPad 2 currently retails for $39.99†, especially considering that it is a newer-generation device in comparison to the original iPad.

Regardless, the CinemaSeat is well-worth its price tag. It does exactly what you would want it to do, with little flaws, and in semi-protective fashion. You’re also backed by a 1-year warranty and 30-day return period with a 20% restocking fee if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase.

Score: ★★★★★

Final Thoughts

The CinemaSeat is a good in-car entertainment system that alleviates the boredom of both a short commute (if you’re carpooling) or a long road trip. It isn’t the most protective accessory on the market, however, so it’s important that you take this into consideration if you’re contemplating buying this headrest case. Nonetheless, it’s another great Griffin product that gets a favorable recommendation!

Overall Score:

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
Thanks to Dave at Griffin Technology for the review sample. This review conforms with Griffin’s reviewer policy.

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