Dressing up iPad is a popular pursuit. Hugh John tries an STM Dux for size
STM DuxHow many cases? The first iPad came out in April 2010 and since then it’s anyone’s guess how many different cases have been manufactured, many of them based on Apple’s own Origami design. To mention but a few, we’ve had the Octa suction cup, the Mophie rigid aluminium, the waterproof, the built in bluetooth keyboard, ruggedised... you can spend from under a fiver to, wait for it, more than £4,000!

Now STM, well regarded maker of laptop bags has weighed in with its Dux range of cases for iPads (pictured right). There’s a Dux case for all but the original iPad.

Unlike some of the aforementioned brands, Dux cases are not stand-out impressive in any sort of flashy, look-at-me way. They’re stylish, low key, sturdy and reasonably priced. "Slow burners" would sum them up nicely. Use one of these for a week, as this reviewer did, and you’ll be loath to send it back.

From the moment you insert tablet into case what you get is a reassuring solidity, a perfect fit where the device is cocooned from casual damage by a rubber lip that sits slightly above the screen and by a rubberised bumper that holds the iPad securely and is further strengthened by reinforced corners. "Ruggedised" definitely, but not perceptibly heavier than an unsheathed unit. There are the usual cut-outs which allow for the rear camera, charging, on-off switch, volume button and headphone socket.

The top flap is similar to Apple’s own Smart Cover but with one less crease, making it perhaps slightly more secure in landscape than portrait mode. The case is lightly textured which makes it comfortable and unlikely to slip out of hand. No Velcro fastening here, rather a magnetic polyurethane clasp which is impressively secure and which also switches the iPad off when shut.

Unusually, the bottom of the case is transparent. STM suggests that this space could be used for storing notes or for customising the iPad. Either way, it’s not exactly a deal breaker unless you want to show off the big translucent Apple logo at the bottom of the case. .

All said, this is a welcome addition to the vast range of iPad cases already on the market. The DUX range is, says STM, designed with input from educators and professionals and, less importantly, unless your iPad is subjected to extreme measures, “tested to meet or exceed US Defense Standard durability tests”.

It’s a case ideally suited for those on the move and STM has got the balance just right between strength and portability. This case, first seen by Agent4change.net at David Fanning's Digital Seasons PR event for technology journalists, doesn’t intrude but offers a high degree of protection.

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for Purpose    5
Ease of Use               5
Features                    4
Quality                       4
Value for Money        4

STM Dux range of cases for all iPad models except iPad 1, from £32
STM Dux range at Amazon.co.uk, £32-£42