Luxury Travel Review

By Gary Cox

In the bush with our iPad on the hood of the range rover

In the bush with our iPad on the hood of the Range Rover at Africa House

Our iPad has proven to be an excellent tool when traveling to process email, create documents and preview photographs. Among the wide variety of sleeves, covers and folios available for it, the OtterBox Defender stood out with its focus on protecting the fragile device in rugged environments. We were departing to spend several weeks in the game reserves of South Africa and wanted a case that was functional and could provide protection during the transfers over dirt roads and rough handling by porters.

Using the cover as a stand in the Air France lounge

During a layover in the Air France lounge

Assembly was relatively easy, although we did not use the clear plastic screen cover, having already installed one made by a different manufacturer the day we bought the iPad. The installation video on the OtterBox website was helpful and better than the tiny illustrations on the package cover. The cleaning cloth is also a nice bonus and comes in handy when fingerprints are visible after a hard day of use. Disassembly with the third party screen cover can be challenging and we do not plan on putting the cover on and off frequently.

A cleaning cloth is included with the defender

A cleaning cloth was included with the Defender

Once the Defender was assembled, the iPad feels heavier, but simultaneously easier to grip and more solid in general. All of the necessary buttons and ports are easily accessible either right through the cover or by opening a tiny flap in the case of the headset jack. With the case installed, it is more comfortable to set the device down on a table or other hard surface without concern for the iPad. There is a small panel that can be removed to allow access to the interface port for charging and connecting to external devices.

The case with the interface panel removed

The case with the interface panel removed

A favorite feature is the hard shell cover which can be snapped on to protect the face of the device, or snapped on the back of the iPad and out of the way. It also doubles as a stand to support the iPad at a comfortable viewing angle. With the Bluetooth keyboard connected and the iPad resting on its stand, editing a document or navigating the web is as efficient as using a laptop computer. The stand is sturdy and secure enough to allow fingertip control, an essential function of the device.

Working at the lodge with the iPad on the stand

Working at Chitwa Chitwa lodge with the iPad on the stand

Turning the iPad off and attaching the shell over the face allowed us to pack the device into our camera box without worrying about it being damaged, scratched or accidentally turned on and running down the batteries. We picked up a sleeve for the keyboard from WaterField designs in San Francisco. This combination was low profile and kept our equipment in top shape throughout our lengthy journey.

The iPad with the cover installed and keyboard in its sleeve

The iPad with the cover installed and keyboard in its sleeve

The case kept our first generation iPad safe and secure throughout our safari travels and for daily use at home as well. With the improved grip and rubberized exterior the iPad is friendly to glass tabletops and when passed from one person to another. The exterior is attractive and consistent with the iPad design. We plan to leave the iPad in the OtterBox Defender case (Otter Products LLC, 1 Old Town Sq #303, Fort Collins, CO 80524 888-695-8820, +1 970-493-8446,, for the foreseeable future.