In case you didn’t notice, Apple released their iPad tablet in April of this year. It’s been a bit of a success, and there have been several accessories released for it. Okay, there have been a LOT of accessories released for it, and I personally have tried out quite a few cases and covers for the iPad. Julie knows that I’m a fan of cases for gadgets, so she thought of me when Hard Candy sent some iPad covers to The Gadgeteer. The Hard Candy covers are similar in style and function, so we’ll discuss them in one review.
Hard Candy Sleek Skin
This case is my favorite of the Hard Candy cases I tried for this review. The Sleek Skin is made of TPU rubber, so it feels similar to silicone cases. Unlike silicone cases, TPU doesn’t collect lint. This skin case comes in Sugar Cube (clear), Ice Blue, Sunny Orange, Pink Pearl, and Green Melon. I received the Ice Blue.
The Sleek Skin case fits the iPad very well. There are cut-outs for the docking connector, all audio outputs, and buttons. The screen and the home button are completely exposed, except for a small strip of TPU along the outer edge of the iPad’s bezel.
This case is transparent, so you can see the Apple on the back of the iPad quite well. You can even read the information at the bottom of the iPad.
This case is very thin, and it changes the dimensions and the weight of the iPad very little. There is no extra thickness around the edges of the sides, so there is no extra shock absorption if you happen to bang your iPad against something. Because it is so sleek, you might find it fits into other pouches or cases that won’t accommodate other, thicker skin-type covers. This case covers all the aluminum, so it will be good for protecting the body against scratches and scuffs. Because it is so thin, you MAY be able to use it in a dock, but I don’t have a dock to check that. The TPU frame around the screen isn’t very stiff and you can pull it away from the screen without meaning to while you are holding the iPad by the edges. That doesn’t mean it falls off the iPad, just that you may feel your grip is slipping if the edge moves.
There is no protective clear screen sticker with this case. However, there is a TPU screen protector that buttons over the screen for extra protection while you are transporting your iPad. The cover fills in the screen area exposed by the body of the case. Tabs on the corners of the screen snap onto little buttons on the corners of the iPad cover. The TPU sticks a little to the screen, so the cover fits closely. You cannot operate the screen with the cover in place. However, you can snap it onto the back side of the iPad when you are using the touch screen.
This is a very nice cover for the iPad. I like the translucent colors that let me admire the beauty of the iPad’s design. This case isn’t quite as “grippy” as some TPU cases I’ve tried, so it doesn’t improve my hold on the iPad as much as I’d like. I do really like the screen cover. That’s a great way to add some screen protection to the iPad without adding a lot of bulk when I have the iPad in my gear bag.
Hard Candy Street Skin
The Street Skin is also made of TPU, but this case is thicker and has a “harder” feel than the Sleek Skin. The Street Skin has 3mm of TPU rubber at the corners and edges. This case has a “tire tread” design – hence the Street name, I suppose. I would imagine that the case is 3mm thick in all the “tread” areas. Therefore, this case does appear to be more protective against shock than the Sleek Skin.
The Street Skin comes in Clear, Black, and Pink. I was sent both the black and pink cases. I photographed the iPad in the pink case; it shows up better against the black iPad bezel. The pink case is less opaque than the black case, but it is not as transparent as the Ice Blue Sleek Skin.
Again, there’s a small frame of the TPU material around the outer edge of the screen bezel. The aluminum back and sides are completely enclosed by the protective case. As with the Sleek Skin, the edges can pull away from the screen when you are holding the iPad. As a matter of fact, the Street Skin doesn’t fit against the glass as smoothly as does the Sleek Skin. Because of the tread design, the back of the case does feel “grippier”, and you feel like you have a better grip on the iPad when it’s in the Street Skin than when in the Sleek Skin. This case is thick enough that I don’t think you’ll be able to use a dock while the iPad is in this skin.
There are cutouts for all the buttons and connectors. There is a bit of overhang at the volume rocker. I think this is caused by the “tread” at that point. All the controls and connectors are easily used, though.
Like the Sleek Skin, there is no protective screen sticker, but there is a TPU snap-on screen cover. This cover doesn’t fit as well as the one for the Sleek Skin. You can see a bit of a gap around the cover in the photographs. The gap was worse with the pink skin, but the black skin also had gaps. Again, you can snap the screen cover on the back of the case when it’s not in use.
Hard Candy Squish Skin
The Squish Skin is a silicone case. I noticed that this skin has a petrochemical smell that has lessened with use. I don’t like the smell, but my daughter describes it as a “burning charcoal briquette” smell which she likes. The Squish Skin comes in one transluscent color called Clear Bullet and in five opaque colors: Black Rubber, Kirby Pink, Buster Blue, Gamer Green, and Orange Shock. I was sent the Orange Shock.
Hard Candy describes this skin case as “more protective than bubble wrap.” This case has a “puffy” look around the sides and corners because of air-filled chambers around the edges of the case. You can see the structure of the interior of the edges in the above picture. If you look at the pictures on the Hard Candy site (link above), you can see this structure from the outside with the Clear Bullet case. I really like the way the clear case looks. This case seems like it would be the most protective against edge shocks of the three styles in this review.
The Squish case completely covers the back and sides, and it comes up over most of the screen bezel as well. The Home button is completely covered, but its position is marked on the skin.
The silicone is very flexible. While it fits well over the screen bezel, it is very easy to pull it away from the screen with your thumb while holding the iPad. The silicone material is very slippery. There are finger grooves molded into the back along all four sides. Despite these groves, the Squish case did not improve my grip on the iPad.
There are cutouts for all buttons and connectors. All were easily accessed through the case. You won’t be able to use the dock while the iPad is in this case.
There is no screen protector of any kind with the Squish Skin.
Hard Candy has iPad cases in a style to fit most any user’s need and desires. I prefer the “skin” type case for the iPad, and I especially like the snap-on screen protector with the Sleek and Street Skins. These Hard Candy cases can protect your iPad at a moderate cost.