Apple new iPad
Orange Bear Hidden Mountain, £100
This leather case from new maker Orange Bear will fit an iPad 2, 3 or 4 - or any tablet that's the same size.
The reason for this is that it has two leather and two elastic straps which hold the tablet in place. It's held shut by two straps which slide through loops and hook onto metal studs.
By folding the case back on itself and attaching the straps it can act as a stand for watching videos (or using FaceTime).
The Hidden Mountain case is handmade and hand stitched, and we were impressed with the quality of both the finish and the leather itself - although you'd expect high quality at this price.
In terms of protection, the Hidden Mountain should ensure your iPad doesn't get damaged in your bag and may even survive a small drop unscathed. However, it's not in the same league as Maroo's £90 Drogo which offers more padding and better corner protection for the same weight. (Maroo also has a Nylon range which is £40 cheaper than the leather Drogo.)
However, that's not why you'd buy a high-end case such as this: it's more about looks and uniqueness.
There are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of, though. First, there's no camera cutout so you'll have to remove the iPad to use the back camera. Second, it's hard to use the volume rocker as the cutout in the leather corner hook isn't really big enough. All other ports are easy to access, though.
If you're after a top-notch leather case, also consider the Brunswick England case below.
Buy from: Orange Bear
Tech21 Impack Folio Leather, £55
Tech21 is fairly well known for its range of shock-absorbing cases and bags for laptops and smartphones. The Impact Folio Leather, which is also available in brown, fits the iPad 2, 3 and 4 and, as the name explains, is a folio-style case made from leather.
Your iPad slides in to the surround and is held in place by a tuck-in tab. The case offers "six-sided protection" and has the same D3O polymer integrated to help absorb impacts. You can't tell where D3O has been used, though, as it's not on show. (Tech21 says it's along the sides and at the corners.)
We like the fact the cutouts are minimal so hardly any of your iPad is exposed. Some cases don't do a great job of protecting the top and bottom edges, but the Impact Folio does.
The case hinges so it can be placed in one of three viewing angles, but the grooves are shallow and the design isn't as stable as Everything Tablet's 360 Rotating case.
The microfibre lining is quite grippy, but our iPad fell flat more than once during our testing.
Strong magnets hold the case shut and also turn your iPad on when you open the case (and turn it off when you close it).
The all-round protection theme goes a little too far as even the Home button is covered by the leather surround. Even after a few days, we still hadn’t learned how hard to push it for the home button to register. You could cut the surround, of course, but it's not ideal.
The Impact Folio is one of few cases to offer storage pockets (another being Belkin's Storage Folio). The front pocket is large enough for A5-size documents, and the rear roughly A6. If you're determined, you can store in-ear headphones in the front pocket, but it's not really meant for this.
It isn't over-priced for a leather case, but the covered home button and slighly unstable stand position means we can't give it a higher rating.
Buy from: Tech21
Brunswick England, £120
This all-leather folio should appeal to executives. It's well padded and adds plenty of protection. A fold in the rear allows it to function as a stand in two positions: one raised up for presentations, and a lower one that's still a little too high for typing. Folded back flat gives a shallow angle that's better for typing, but still not ideal.
Magnets in the cover turn your iPad on when you open it, but there's nothing to keep the cover shut. Magnets are meant to do the job, but they're simply not strong enough. All ports are accessible without removing the iPad from the case, though. The camera cutout is a touch too low, and left photos with a dark vignette at the top. Also available in brown and cranberry.
Buy from: www.proporta.com
Maroo Nylon Cover, £50
Attention-grabbing cases don't come much brighter than this: the Awanui's garish graffiti pattern is sure to get you, and your new iPad, noticed. The back is made from faux black leather, and it's a convincing look. We like the matching graffiti tab on the rear which the front slots into in order to turn the Awanui into a stand.
The blue suede lining provides a nice contrast, and there's a rubber insert which clamps the four corners of your iPad in place, providing protection at the same time. Inside the front cover are elastic corner straps to keep the Awanui closed, and they can also be used to hold it open when you flip the cover around the back. You can slide your hand under the wider elastic strap to help you holding your iPad with one mitt. There's a cutout for the new iPad's rear camera for when you want to take some photos or videos.
As ever, there's a range of other designs to choose from (the retro Mana II with its cassette logo is shown left) if the graffiti isn't your style. The Awanui isn't the cheapest, nor the lightest, but it's very well made, will protect your iPad and costs only £15 more than Apple's Smart Cover.
Buy from: www.coversandcases.com
STM Skinny 3 for iPad 3rd generation, £40
STM’s skinny range has been expanded to include the third-generation iPad. The Skinny 3 has a hard shell back, which the iPad clips securely into. The front is protected by flap, which can automatically wake your iPad. It also allows users to position the iPad in a typing position and a position ideal for FaceTime.
The micro-suede lining left us feeling confident that our iPad’s Retina display won’t be scratched, and there are cut-outs that allow access to all of the ports, buttons and functions including the camera and microphone. A minor quibble is that slotting the strap into position can be fiddly, but it does prevent the cover from slipping out of place. The Skinny 3 is available in Royal blue, black, pink, mushroom or berry (shown here). It's one of the lighest options.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
Incipio Premium Kickstand with Stylus, £35
The Premium Kickstand has been updated to ensure compatibility with the new iPad. In practice this means Incipio has added rubber covers to three of the four plastic hooks that hold the iPad in place. We found our new iPad slid comfortably into place and felt secure.
The tri-fold cover allows multiple viewing angles. Instead of a small hinge as with Incipio's Flagship Folio (above), the case is effectively three full-size panels and a rubber section on the inside of the front cover has three grooves that provide three different landscape positions.
For typing, you flip the cover backwards and open up a flap on the outside of the front cover which is held shut by magnets. It opens to an angle determined by three short ribbons, which hold the top edge of the iPad (when in landscape mode) in place at a comfortable angle for typing. It's a unique design that no other case here uses.
The Kickstand is made from tough nylon and is held shut by an elastic strap. The micro-fibre lining on the inside protects both sides of your iPad, but as with the other Incipio cases we've tested, there's a strong smell which we presume is caused by the glue that holds everything together.
Given the price, the bundled stylus makes this case good value - it's held in place on a loop on the middle fold of the case, so is on the inside when the case is shut. It's not the best-quality stylus we've seen, but it's fine for apps such as Draw Something. We found it tricky to get the stylus back in its loop, but other styluses should fit if you prefer to use a different one. See also: Best Stylus for Draw Something.
As well as black nylon, the case is also available in grey nylon and what Incipio calls 'black vegan leather'.
Buy from: www.amazon.co.uk
The TabToob is an unusual iPad case as it's aimed at kids rather than adults. It's a bulky - but lightweight - dense foam case which protects the iPad from drops and knocks.
As the TabToob's British designer freely admits, the case isn't about looking good; it's focus is on making sure your iPad remains in pristine condition even after the clumsiest of handling.
To that end, the TabToob really will protect an iPad 2, 3 or 4 being dropped onto a concrete floor from at least a child's height (see the video below).
It comes with a thick foam screen protector which attaches by four Velcro-style tabs. Along with the optional £5 carry strap, it means you don't even need a bag to transport your iPad.
The screen protector also doubles as a stand, but it's not something that kids will be able to set up themselves as it requires some skill to attach correctly.
Despite the hefty protection, there are well-placed cutouts for the front and rear cameras, power button and volume controls.
We found the Home button was a little awkward to access, as were any small on-screen buttons at the edges of the screen. However, overall, the TabToob doesn't impede the use of the iPad much, and at 165g, doesn't add much weight either.
One slight issue we found was the lack of an adequate cutout in the top half of the case for the headphone socket. It's difficult plugging in a pair of headphones and even harder to unplug them.
A more significant problem was removing our iPad from the case. The fit (on an iPad 3 and 4 particularly) is extremely tight. It requires considerable force to insert an iPad through the slot in the bottom of the case to begin with, and almost impossible to remove it. You have to use the headphone and power button cutouts to push the iPad out, but the tight fit makes it very tricky.
Overall, the TabToob does its job brilliantly, but it's best suited to being a permanent case for your iPad. If you plan to constantly swap it between cases, it may not be ideal.
Buy from: www.tabtoob.com