The Shell is a new iPad case from TRTL BOT – a California based iPad and iPhone case designer. It fits both the iPad 2 and 3, and is designed to be both eco-friendly and functional. TRTL BOT is very committed to eco-friendliness and The Shell reflects this – it is made from recycled plastic, manufactured in the USA, and even the packaging and shipping materials are made from recycled cardboard and paper. It has a number of unique features that make it a case well worth considering for parents, including one on many parents wish lists – a home button protector.
The case is a hard plastic shell that extends out around the iPad giving it a kind of buffer zone, where if you drop it the case hits the ground rather than the iPad. The case adds about 1 1/2- 2 inches to the height and width of the iPad, and about 1/2 inch to its thickness. I asked the company about its ability to protect the iPad in a fall, they told me that in in-house testing it meets IEC 6060-1 drop test standards (which is for hand held medical devices, drops at 1 meter/ 3 feet). My son also decided to test it out by (accidentally) dropping it 3 feet onto a hard wooden floor and both the case and iPad survived without a mark.
A very useful feature is the retractable home button cover. There is a flexible plastic cover over the home button, to activate the lock you slide a plastic tab under this. When it was on my five year-old twins, my eight year-old son and my husband all could not operate the home button. I am able to operate the home button with the lock on, I guess I have stronger fingers than my husband! In the past we have tried other home button covers and my kids could still operate the home button with them on, so I was quite impressed that this stopped them . Switching the cover off is a two-handed operation and a little fiddley, but that makes it much less likely a child would learn to do it.
It has a built-in carrying handle, which can be used both to carry the iPad and as a stand. The handle works well for carrying and slipping your hand through it keeps the iPad secure when using it without a work surface. The stand has 2 positions – movie and typing modes, both are in landscape orientation. In “movie mode” it is very secure and seems to actively resist tipping. In typing mode it work well when used as intended, if you put a lot of pressure on it then it will tip to a lower angle, but still doesn’t fall (makes it wobbly to type on then, but not likely to damage the iPad).
The case also acts as a volume enhancer re-directing sound to the front of the case, and increasing the volume by about 20%. It also comes with 2 lanyard holes, so that you can attach a carrying strap to it, a camera straps work well for this. This is useful if a child needs to carry it around e.g. to use in school. I think both of these features may be of special interest to those using the iPad for communication, using an AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) app.
The cover although bulky is pretty lightweight. It is a hard plastic, but has some texture on the surface to give it a less slippery feel. It is less grippy than a latex covered case like the Gumdrop Drop Tech, but this is case is suitable for latex allergy sufferers. The case closes with 2 latches, but I wouldn’t be concerned about a child opening them, as they are hard even for an adult to undo with bare fingers. A kitchen spoon is the approved tool for opening them !
The one thing I would like to see as an extra option is a built-in screen protector, but the company has no current plans to make one as they have not found an eco-frendly way to produce it in the USA. It does work fine with a generic stick-on screen protector or a Zagg Invisible Shield. I also find it a little tricky to disconnect the charger as there isn’t much room for your fingers where the case surrounds the charging port.
Overall, if you are looking for an iPad case that is family friendly, I would definitely recommend The Shell. It passed the test with my family- they couldn’t operate the home button with the lock on, it was durable, easy to use, the stand was stable, the carrying handle felt secure, my children couldn’t remove the case and it protected the iPad when it was dropped.
PROS: Home button cover, recycled, made in the USA, built in carrying handle, 2 position stand, drop protection, case increases iPad volume, option to add carrying handle, lightweight, no latex.
Cons: No built-in screen protector, detaching charger is a little fiddly.
My rating 4/5 stars.
It retails for $74.95, is available in Black, White or Green and can be ordered directly from TRTL BOT, international shipping is available.
If you would like to win this case, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA only due to postage costs.Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!