gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

XGear Live Thin Shield And Silhouette iPad Cases

There’s no shortage of people out there who want their iPad protected with a minimum of bulk and, often, a minimum of aesthetic interference. The iPad is a beautiful device, indeed, and the Thin Shield is an excellent case for showing it off, whilst remaining theoretically more durable than hard plastic alternatives. The Silhouette is quite the opposite, plating the back of the iPad in black leather.

The Thin Shield is, to the iPad, what the XGear Frosted Flex is to the iPhone. A back-to-basics, transparent silicone case (although the frosted flex is, as its name suggests, frosted and so is the Thin Shield) which is surprisingly high quality.

Indeed, the Thin Shield surprises me again and instills a new hope in me for silicone cases, which have oft been hanging off the bottom of my list of preference when it comes to iPad protection. The iPad looks great in the Thin Shield, and the frosted effect gives the silicone case a really high quality look and feel that most others lack. Mould lines are present, and can be felt with a finger, but are well disguised and the outside of the case is smooth yet satisfyingly grippy (I prefer the feel of the frosted inside more, personally).

The Thin Shield offers all-round edge protection, with cut-outs for all the important bits and a fairly typical cover for the rocker switch, through which your push is translated. Sadly the cover is a little ridged, making operating the volume rocker a little bit of a chore- there are cases which transfer your button presses far more satisfyingly.

The Silhouette is decidedly less protective but covers the corners and back well and provides an attractive, imitation leather rear for those who are tired of the stock iPad look. It’s basically a clip-on plastic shell with a glued in inlay and this simple approach makes for a good-enough case with unhindered access to the iPads ports and buttons.

What bugs me about XGear’s iPad cases is that they’re overpackaged. The boxes they come in are at least 3 times thicker than they need to be. I’m no packaging designer, but when it comes to silicone cases I don’t think they need that much protection in transit. They are… you know… flexible!

The cardboard box inserts that sit behind the boxed iPad cases would be the ideal place to include a screen protector, but sadly neither of these products come with one which is a shame, but not a deal-breaker. Ultimately the Thin Shield and Silhouette are good cases, but not perfect. Sadly, my recommendations when it comes to iPad cases otherwise tend toward very expensive options.

The Thin Shield would be my main recommendation for a silicone case, despite the slightly hard rocker switch cover, and is actually pretty good value at £16.99.

The Silhouette is slightly less to my liking, simply because there are more aesthetically pleasing alternatives out there. It’s also slightly more expensive at £17.99 but this does put it almost £9 below said alternative.

The Silhouette is, however, also available in red. An alternative which looks far more striking and would be great for any fans of the colour. There’s also a carbon fibre version to match the iPhone case of the same style.

Saturday, October 30th, 2010, iPad.