First up is color, or lack of. LapWorks is well aware that Apple makes some of the sexiest electronics on the market and they know you would like to show off your new device to everyone. The clear Polycarbonate casing does just this. There are no tacky colors or patterns to sift through when ordering. What you get is a clear case that shows off the iPad's natural beauty.
As for the overall design of the Crystal Folio, it's very practical. When closed, it fully protects your iPad against scratches and scuffs. When opened, you can use the iPad in portrait and landscape mode using the top lid as a stand. This would be especially convenient if you were watching a movie on a long flight or typing up a paper using a Bluetooth keyboard. While in landscape mode, I appreciate the fact that you can adjust the angle of the arm so you aren't locked at a specific pre-determined viewing angle.
I wasn't as impressed with the case when the top lid was laid flat against the back of the case, however. It's kind of difficult to see in the photos, but the rear bumpers of the case prevent the top lid from laying completely flat. As such, the right side clip didn't want to stay securely snapped in place. When forced in place, the back panel would bend in the middle under the stress. This made using the iPad with one hand a bit troublesome. Perhaps in a future revision, LapWorks could reduce the height of these back bumpers, allowing the top panel to lay flat and snap into place fully.
The hinge itself seems pretty solid and LapWorks claims it has been tested up to 5,000 open / close operations. This should last for several years at the very least.
Although there are bumpers on the outside of the case, I don't suspect these would prevent most scratches. For example, if you tossed it in a backpack with some other loose items, odds are they could still scratch the case. The bumpers do a great job of holding the case in place, however.
So how well will the case hold up against scratches over time? That's anyone's guess, really, and heavily depends on the environment you subject your iPad to and how often you use it. Either way, these are potential scratches that won't be on your iPad, which is a good thing.
Since the case is made from a shatterproof Polycarbonate material, I wouldn't worry about it breaking as a cheaper plastic might. LapWorks suggest periodically cleaning your Folio with a lint-free cloth and a mild window cleaner to keep it looking new.
The case itself will add a little bit of thickness overall to the iPad but not very much. The same can be said about the weight increase, which is pretty minimal.
My only other concern with the case involved the hard interior that the back of the iPad rests against. I have used hard shell iPhone cases in the past and some have resulted in rubbing marks on the back of the phone. Furthermore, should dust or dirt get lodged between the iPad and the case, this could also result in scratching. Again this isn't something I could test as you would only potentially experience this over a long period of time. Also, since the iPad fits snugly inside the case, odds are that these potential faults wouldn't become reality. Regularly removing and cleaning the inside of the case and the back of the iPad would further prevent this from happening.
LapWorks bundles the Crystal iPad Folio with a 6-month warranty against manufacturer defects, materials and construction. As of writing, the Crystal iPad Folio is available at LapWorks Inc for $39.95.
If you are in the market for a clear protective case for your iPad that doubles as a functional landscape and portrait mode stand, the Crystal iPad Folio is certainly worth checking out.
OCIA.net awards the Crystal iPad Folio our Silver Seal of Approval.