Incipio iPad Case Reviews: Lexington, Smart Feather, and NGP

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If you’re using an iPad in your law practice, adding an iPad keyboard or combination keyboard/cover can increase your iPad’s utility.

Incipio offers a number of cases to keep your iPad protected from the world, including the Lexington, the Smart Feather and the NGP.

Of the three, the lexington was the best and an overall solid product.

The lexington

Unlike it’s cousins reviewed below, the lexington covers your entire iPad, as shown above. It’s made of micro suede, which gives it a nice feel and a decent look (see more on that below). It has a magnetic screen cover—which is the first case I have seen other than Apple’s smart cover to have that feature. The magnet means your iPad turns on/off when the cover is pulled back or flipped over.

You can also adjust the screen cover to provide a slight incline for typing, or a stand position for viewing things on your iPad (similar to the Apple smart cover). The case also has a little buckle to make sure the case is closed and holding your iPad nice and tight.

There are two main issues with the lexington. One, although it looks and feels comfortable, it does not look very professional. It looks like a dress shirt and khakis from Kohl’s department store—perfectly acceptable, but not particularly memorable. At the same time, it works well. Compared to other cases that look nicer, but don’t work as well, I’d take the lexington ten times out of ten.

Two, the buckle needs some work. It’s just another flap of micro suede that fits into a little pocket of micro suede. Trying to buckle and unbuckle was like trying to put on or take off wet socks. Speaking of which, the micro suede has a funny smell. Not wet sock funny, but noticeably “plasticky.”

Overall, the lexington looks like it makes your iPad comfortably and it is comfortable to use. The real downside is that micro suede looks like . . . well . . . micro suede. If you are ok with that, this is a solid case and deserves a 4/5.

The smart feather

The smart feather has a nice feel to it, looks nice, and is ultra thin as advertised. It includes a screen protector, but the screen protector is a separate piece of thin plastic that adheres to your screen. I have never been a fan of screen protectors.

One, I hate the way they reduce the screen’s sensitivity. Two, I hate how they look—it’s almost a given you will have one crease or air bubble in your screen protector.

Whether you use the screen protector or not, the actual case does connect with Apple’s smart cover so that you can completely encapsulate your iPad, if you desire.

It’s nice to have that option, but it’s also pretty lame that you need another product to make the smart feather useful.

So the real question is if you already have a smart cover, should you get a smart feather? I say nay. It’s a decent product, but I actually prefer the feel of the iPad over the matte finish of the smart feather. Plus even though it interplays with the smart cover, it’s not exactly a snap to connect the two products.

Overall, the product gets a 1/5 if you don’t have a smart cover, and a 2/5 if you have a smart cover. In other words, there are plenty of better options available, including the one below.

The NGP

Similar to the smart feather, the NGP only covers the backside of your iPad. It includes the same screen protector as the smart feather, which as outlined above, is pretty lame in my book.

Like the smart feather, it interacts with an Apple smart cover. In other word, it’s not that useful unless you also have a smart cover.

The cover is made out of a “next generation polymer.” In terms of look and feel, it looks like hard plastic with a matte finish and it feels like hard rubber with less gloss. It actually looks much harder than it feels.

I don’t think a pure “protector” is all that useful unless you don’t care about having a keyboard or being able to prop up your iPad. I can live without a keyboard, but being able to prop my iPad at various angles is a must have for me.

The case feels much sturdier and looks better than the smart feather, so overall the NGP gets a 2.5/5. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just doesn’t do much.

 

 

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  • Tim

    The magnetic closure is far more common than you think. I’ve only had an iPad for around 2 weeks, but the overwhelming majority of cases I’ve looked at have that feature.

    It seems, though, unless lines up just right (within a few millimeters) the magnets don’t do much good.

    • I’m surprised by that. I’ve reviewed a fair number of cases for Lawyerist, and this was the first cover that had the feature.

      That said, I’m happy to hear other companies are integrating that feature, it seems fairly stupid to not include it.

  • The Apple Smart Cover remains the best iPad cover there is, with the possible exception of sweet retro cases. I don’t know why anyone else even bothers.

  • Tim

    I won’t even consider the smart cover because it only does half of the job. It doesn’t protect the back.

    I know Apple now has the smart case, but it doesn’t look as good as many, if not most, third party cases, and it doesn’t give you as many viewing angles when using it as a stand.

    • Why does the back need protecting? It’s solid aluminum.

      • Tim

        As the typical Apple owner, I want my Apple products to remain as “purdy” as possible for as long as possible. As the owner of an aluminum MacBook Pro, I can tell you how easily the aluminum can get scratched.

        Granted, putting the iPad in a case hides some of the beauty, but it does protect the “re-sale value.” I recently sold an old MacBook Pro to Gazelle, and lost $100 in value because of what I thought were minor scratches, so I’ve become pretty anal about scratches on the aluminum surfaces.

        • I guess I’m an atypical Apple owner, as my iPad was my first Apple device. I don’t care if it gets scratches, as long as it lasts. But I’m also not interested in re-selling it. When I upgrade, my iPad will go to my wife, then my kids. When they are finally done with it, it will go to eBay, if it still works.

          • Tim

            It’s an age-old conundrum for lovers of Apple products (or at least those who love the industrial design). Do I show it off or do I protect it?

            • For me, the conundrum is do I add bulk or keep it nice and thin? And if I keep it nice and thin, how long will I be able to use it before it breaks or becomes unusable from scratches and dents? My Nexus One is nearly two and a half years old, and I haven’t used a case for most of that time (and not much of a case when I did use one). It’s resale value is nil, but I also haven’t been walking around with a giant protected-phone bulge in my pocket (or worse, a belt clip) for the last two and a half years.

              But then, I don’t consider resale value when I buy a car, either. I buy used and drive them until they die.

              • Tim

                I’m getting that way with electronics. I have a serious craving to dispense of a case for my iPhone 4S, but since it’s basically a block of glass, I’m very nervous to do that. It just looks so much thinner and nicer without a case, though!

                For the iPad, I’m using the Marware CEO Hybrid, which is very thin, but feels very protective at the same time.