For the first few weeks that I was using the iPad mini, there was a dearth of locally available branded cases and accessories, so I turned to checking what was available in the tiangge area of Greenhills. It took three expeditions before I found one that met my requirements: slimmest profile possible, easy to snap on and off, and separate front and back pieces.
What I got — sold in just one stall in the tiangge area closest to the area where they sell furniture — is a two-piece case with a snap-on back case that covers all four sides but leaves the chamfered edges exposed, and a magnetically attached front cover that is a replica of the iPad 2 Smart Cover down to the metal hinges, but scaled down to iPad mini size.
The front cover, with a polyurethane (I think) front and a microfiber lining, works as you would expect: the hinge snaps onto the iPad mini’s left edge via magnets, and holds the iPad mini firmly enough so that you can dangle the iPad mini while holding onto the front cover only. Its three panels fold backward into a triangle that holds the iPad mini at a steep angle for reading or viewing photos or videos, or at a shallow angle for typing on the onscreen keyboard.
The back cover is a thin plastic shell with a rubberized coating that offers a really slim profile, and snaps on — and off — much more easily than other cases that I’ve tried. There are cutouts on the right side for the orientation lock and volume buttons, and the top and bottom edges are covered, with cutouts for the power button, mic, and earphone jack on top, as well as the Lightning port at the bottom. On the left edge is a groove that holds the front cover’s hinge, so you don’t really need to use the magnets to hold the front cover in place.
What I really like about this cover is that it provides protection for both front and back while adding only minimal thickness. The front cover has magnets that wake the iPad mini’s screen when opened, and put it to sleep when closed. It also folds all the way back so it’s easy to grip when reading from the iPad. And the back case is easy to take off when I want to go light and use only the front cover.
Sadly, the very fluid nature of the stalls in the Greenhills tiangge area means that you’ll have to ask around quite a bit if you want to get the same case. You you may be lucky and find that it’s now available in several other stalls, and in colors other than black, light grey, and violet, which were the only colors available when I got mine.
Availability: 2nd floor tiangge area, right beside furniture stalls
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