Product review: Contour Designs iSee for iPad Soft Touch Hardshell

December 27, 2010

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Dennis Wurster @ 11:15 am

Years ago, I was the proud owner of a brand new 5G iPod, and I was shopping for a case. After listening to recommendations from other CIDER members, I decided on the Contour Designs iSee. It’s been a fabulous case, which allowed the iPod to still look like an iPod, but added some protection, and a removable belt clip. Over the years, I was happy to discover that the belt clip was a replacable item, and that I could order another for $3 shipped. So when I took delivery of my iPad recently and wanted a case, Contour was the first company that came to mind.

The iSee Soft Touch Hardshell is an all-new product for Contour Designs for the iPad and iPad+3G. The case protects your iPad and the included multi-mode stand lets you display your iPad like a picture frame or at a gentle tilt which is more comfortable for typing. I’ve found the iSee to be a great addition to my iPad environment.

My review unit arrived in its retail packaging, which was slim and well thought-out. I found that these descriptions would carry over to the shell as well. Product photos on the box clearly outlined the main features of the shell, and served as the main documentation for the product.

There was only minor assembly required, and it was completed in less than one minute. Once the shell was removed from its packaging, I merely needed to sandwich the iPad between the front and rear panels, and pinch at the edges to click the pieces together — no tools required. The pieces aligned perfectly, and didn’t require an undue amount of pressure to join.

According to Contour Designs, the shell is made of a “Soft Touch” plastic. I found the translucent shell to be silky-smooth to touch, but offered additional grip than the aluminum and glass would otherwise. Even though I didn’t start dropping my iPad once I had it installed, I felt that it would offer significant protection for drops on hard surfaces like tile or cement.

The stand is really the star of the show. It came as two pieces which assemble to make an X shape. Depending upon the orientation of the X, you could choose between two angles to display the iPad. You can set the iPad into it in landscape mode to watch movies or slideshows, or let it stand tall in portrait mode. There is enough clearance for the iPad to remain connected via its dock connector in every orientation. There are small grippy rubber feet on the bottom of the stand, which are welcome on the otherwise smooth plastic legs.

Contour calls the color of the procuct clear, but I found it to be more of a translucent ‘frost’ than clear. It fits the iPad very well, and offers some amount of protection, without getting in the way. The shape is very pleasant to hold in the hand, and there are no sharp corners or edges, even at the seam. All of the iPad’s buttons, ports, and screen remain fully accessible.

On the off chance that you’d want to remove the shell, that’s easy too. A coin placed into a recess can be twisted to pop apart the two halves.

The iSee is backed by a 1 year warranty against manufacturing defects.

I can truly recommend this product as being a good value at the list price of $39.95, but I’ve found it for as low as $25 shipped when I followed CIDER’s Amazon link for the iSee shell.

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