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Hard Candy's Shockdrop protects iPad Air with minimal weight penalty

By Jason Perlow for ZDNet

As I mentioned yesterday in my piece discussing the waif-like design of the iPad Air, there is no way in hell I am going to use that device without a protective case on it.

It's been sufficiently proven to me that the device is an utter magnet for getting its screen wrecked, and I am not about to let my new $900 toy get damaged by my first accidental "whoops" moment, AppleCare+ plan be damnned.

As everyone knows I'm big on polycarbonate/silicone rubber case designs for both tablets and smartphones. I've used products from OtterBox, Trident, Griffin as well as Lunatik and I think all of those companies have good solutions, but they come at a cost -- significantly added extra weight and bulk. They can easily double the weight of your device.

For some of us, the added weight is not a big concern, particularly for those of us using tablets and smartphones in field applications where the chances for physical abuse is high. Or for those of us with kids, even.

But some people want just a decent amount of protection without adding a lot of extra weight. One of the major marketing points of the new iPad Air is that it weighs only one pound, so anything added on top of that is going to negate that weight advantage.

Shortly after buying my iPad Air last friday I searched for immediately avaliable polycarbonate/silicone cases that I could get shipped quickly from Amazon. The only product that I saw was the Hard Candy Shockdrop ($50) a company I was not familiar with.

Being that I would rather have at least some kind of impact protection on my iPad Air rather than none, I ordered it. The product is avaliable in a bright red (which makes your iPad look like a high-tech Etch-a-Sketch) or black.

The Hard Candy Shockdrop for iPad Air (product site) differs from products like the Otterbox Defender/Griffin Survivor/Trident Aegis in that it is not a complete clamshell enclosure wrapped with silicone. Instead, it's a polycarbonate top frame that includes a permanent screen protector which is then wrapped with the silicone, which is advertised as being 6mm thick on the backing and front and 10mm thick on the corners.

The total weight penalty is 9oz, which brings the iPad Air to 25oz when enclosed in the Shockdrop.

While I think $50 is a lot of money when compared with similar-priced products with a lot more protective material on it, I still like this case a lot, and it may be a good option for those who primarily intend to use the product at home and not for field use.

The bezel/display elevation is substantial enough to protect the screen from a flat fall and the silicone wrapping is nice and thick so it should be more than good enough to handle routine bumps. I also like the anti-slip texture on the silicone backing.

Have you ordered the Hard Candy Shockdrop for your iPad Air? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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