Protect your Apple iPad in style with our pick of the best iPad cases, sleeves and covers.
Once you've shelled out upwards of £600 for a top-end iPad (or even if you're compromised on 'just' £329 for the cheapest iPad model available) you want to keep it safe, protected and in a pristine state for as long as possible. Which is where the wide range of iPad cases, sleeves and covers come in.
An entire ecosystem of third-party manufacturers exists to supply protective accessories for Apple's iPad and iPhone, although Apple itself offers some options you may wish to consider. Here, then, are our top 5 iPad cases, taking into account value for money, quality of protection, looks and portability. (Click the product name to read our full review.)
1. Perfect for… Apple loyalists: the Apple Smart Case
Never let it be said that Apple doesn't listen to its customers. One of the biggest criticisms of the Apple Smart Cover (a folding flap that covered the iPad's screen or converted into a clever stand) was that it didn't protect the rear of the iPad. A couple of years of complaining later, the company came out with the Smart Case, which is pretty much the same as the polyurethane Smart Cover but with a built-in rear cover.
When shopping for iPad accessories, Apple's own-brand versions will tend to be among the more expensive options, but they're sure to be beautifully made (even if we're unsure about the colour schemes for these polyurethane cases - the leather Smart Covers were much smarter, in our humble opinion) and are built from the ground up to offer optimal integration with the iPad's features.
Perfect for… the well-heeled fashionista: Gucci champagne leather iPad sleeve
When iPad & iPhone User put together a feature about fashion houses and their tablet accessories last year, it was tough getting the big labels to pay attention to a humble technology magazine; the only ones to defy the haughty, Devil Wears Prada stereotype were Orla Kiely, of the ubiquitous leaf print, and the industry powerhouse Gucci. We were delighted, then, to discover that Gucci's iPad sleeve was the best of the bunch; perhaps that's why they were so keen to show it to us.
The lightweight, sturdy and attractive champagne-coloured leather sleeve we looked at in December is of course 'last season' now, if not even more retro than that; but luckily a very similar model is available from this website for £170.
Perfect for… sturdy protection: STM Stash iPad bag
This iPad bag is pleasingly hard-wearing; in testing we felt confident that an iPad stored within was safe from pretty much all civilian-level impact and drop damage, thanks to the sturdy canvas exterior and the padding and reinforcements within.
It’s a practical bag, too, with two extra zip-up pockets on the front and a sleeve-style opening on the back. Yours for £34.96.
Perfect for… the busy exec on the go: Bergame Portfolio
The Bergame is an ideal iPad case for taking to meetings and attending formal events, as well as for everyday use.
The iPad is secured in the case by slotting into a pocket, fastened with velcro. The microfibre anti-scratch lining and elastic strap secure your iPad further, and add an extra element of style.
The Bergame portfolio case also has five positions for your iPad, four horizontal slots that work really well for watching movies, typing and chatting on FaceTime, and can be adjusted to suit your preferences.
Perfect for… the travelling typist: Accuratus iMage iPad case with built-in keyboard
The iMage high-quality faux leather case ensures your iPad is safely protected, but the star of the show is the detachable keyboard, able to operate up to 10m from your iPad. The layout is the standard key arrangement Apple users will be familiar with. The compact size means touch-typing will need a bit of practice. Chunkier-fingered users will find the larger keys a bonus.
This is a well-made combo: ideal for any iPad user looking for a new case, and who dislikes the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
Bonus option for fans of clever gimmicks: the Taylor Smart Stand Sleeve for iPad
It doesn't make our top 5, but we can't resist giving this clever case-cum-stand a mention. The sturdy front flap folds into various structures that support the iPad at an angle of 22 or 45 degrees, designed for watching videos or typing. A quirky but practical alternative.