When it comes to cases on iDevices, owners generally fall into one of two categories…shirts or skins. Falling solidly into the former, I feel that a naked iDevice is too vulnerable to slips, breaks, and scratches. I need to put at least some sort of back coverage on it to make sure it stays scratch free. Then there is my older brother Derek, who is happy to just let his iPhone and iPad run free wearing nothing but what Jobs gave them. He just tosses his iPad willy-nilly on a cluttered desk with just a Smart Cover protecting the screen and the iPad’s own will to stay blemish-free to protect the backside.
At least that was until Bluelounge’s Kicks, a system of two thin silicone-rubber rails which attach to the back of the iPad via a light 3M adhesive that wont mark your iPad. They provide an area of grippage and keep the back of the iPad from directly touching the surface of the table or workspace.
When I showed Derek the Kicks, he was immediately intrigued. He wouldn’t have to cover the smooth silvery back of his iPad or hide the Apple logo in order to get some much desired grippage. Installation of the Kicks was very easy. He simply peeled the backing and centered one vertically on each side of the back of the iPad, in-line with the headphone and camera cutouts. Making minor adjustments (for straightness) was simple as the Kicks could easily be peeled off and reapplied. In fact, they were so easy to remove that we initially had some concerns that they wouldn’t stay put during the rigors of normal use, but our concerns were ill-founded and they stayed in place.
The first test was the table toss. Normally when Derek comes back to his office he just gently tosses the iPad onto the desk where it may slide on the mess of papers that clutter his desk. With the Kicks on, it went nowhere, it just stopped in place…papers 0, grippage 1!
Before the Kicks, if there was a nice surface that Derek didn’t want to risk scratching, he’d often place his iPad on that surface Smart-cover-side down. Now with the Kicks installed he didn’t have to worry about placing the bottom of the iPad don on the surface as the Kicks would keep it safely raised and in place.
Next up, we were a bit concerned that the added puffiness of the Kicks, might interfere with his ability to use the Smart Cover as a stand in landscape mode. One quick fold of the cover and the iPad was vertical with no swaying or detectible instability. The Kicks didn’t cause any sort of interference.
However, folding the Smart Cover behind the iPad for normal use, presented a little bit of an issue. It would no longer sit completely flat against the back of the iPad. The long edge hangs down a little loosely, requiring a slight change in the way you hold the cover when folder behind the iPad. By using more of a pinching grip in the center Derek has been able to keep this to a minimum. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.
Easy to install…check
Doesn’t interfere with Smart Cover…check
That just left us with stamina and longevity. How would these things hold up over time and normal usage? Each package of Kicks contains 4 rubber strips for $11.95. You only need to install two of them at a time so you have a couple of spares. Derek has three kids aged 7, 9 and 12. If anyone was going to going to put the Kicks through their paces, it’d be Derek’s kids. They would be the ideal test of whether or not these Kicks would hold up. With regular usage by all three kids, the Kicks (and the kids) held tight to the iPad, though one of them did get a little “wiggly” (the Kick, not the kid).
Sure, Bluelounge’s Kicks will not appeal to everyone’s tastes or needs, but that’s why there are so many choices of iPad cases and accessories out there. For someone who doesn’t want to cover up the rear of their iPad with a full-coverage case or one of those horrible adhesive “clear skin” protectors that you can never get applied correctly, the Kicks are an inexpensive, durable and desirable alternative.