Survivor iPad Case
Griffin Technology

By Seán O'Sullivan - July 19th, 2013


iDevice owners are spoiled for choice when it comes to accessories, with every niche well catered to. When I got my iPad, I decided that because I liked the vibrant, responsive screen so much, and wasn’t concerned about accumulating superficial damage, I wasn’t going to put it into a case. Instead I picked up the excellent Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, and left it at that.

A year later, I have been asked to take a look at the Griffin Survivor iPad Case. The box touts that it’s been made to conform or exceed US military specifications, and that was easy to believe as soon as I took the product out of the box and felt its heft and rugged, grippy texture.

The three layers of the product come assembled, so the first task is to disassemble it with the aid of clear directions on a small instruction card. After my initial concern that I was over-stressing the various components had passed, it only took a few minutes to unsnap the screen protector, peel the heavy silicon outer layer, and then pry off the main bracket.

Getting the iPad into the case the first time is another minor ordeal; but once it’s in, the fit was reassuringly snug, and it seemed worth worrying my fingernails over. I was absolutely and utterly convinced that the heavy outer layer, combined with the rear bracket, would protect it from falls and shock damage, and short of a pointed implement striking the front with force, the screen layer would also hold up to a licking.

Great protection with minor usability issues. Not too shabby.

Despite the drastic increase in durability, once in the case, the functionality isn’t hurt all that much. Responsive rubber nubs depress the volume, power, and home buttons, and flaps on the back expose the iPad’s rear camera, and speaker. A detachable kick-stand allows the iPad to stand freely in any orientation, and although it’s more shallow than I’d like, it certainly got the job done, and enabled me to continue working with my Bluetooth keyboard without much hassle.

The trade-off for this peace of mind is a moderate usability hit. It’s expected that going from a naked iPad screen to a protected one will require some retraining, but since the screen protector doesn’t sit perfectly flush (even after everything has slotted into place with a muffled snap), it takes extra effort to register input, making unforgiving twitch games somewhat frustrating. Furthermore, as a third-gen iPad owner who finds it uncomfortably heavy at times, having a case that effectively doubles the weight makes me even less inclined to use it without propping it up on something.

For my personal use, I’m not going to use the Survivor every day, but when I’m travelling or hanging out with my toddler nephews and nieces, I’m going to go through the slight hassle of putting on the case. This is a quality product with only minor shortcomings that provides absolute peace of mind for a reasonable price. If you’re an iPad owner looking for no-nonsense protection, the Griffin Survivor comes highly recommended.

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