Gadget Review: The Elan Passport and IntelliCase iPad Covers

Griffin Technology's iPad cases mean business and pleasure.

By , Columnist

Image courtesy of Griffin Technology

Griffin Technology's Elan Passport.

Whether you use your iPad for business or pleasure, Griffin Technology has got you covered with its extensive range of covers and cases. Two models that exemplify this are the Elan Passport and the IntelliCase.

The Elan Passport (above) is aimed squarely at the professional who wants to sport something smarter and more classy than a notepad. Its outer cover looks sharp on a boardroom table and resembles the sleeve of a moderately sized organizer. That's due to its smooth leather-like texture and the tongue-and-loop clasp that keeps the case securely closed.

Flip out the tongue and open the Elan Passport and you'll find a soft microsuede inner lining that any self-respecting tablet could comfortably nestle against. One side of that inner face is half-covered by a pocket into which papers can be slotted. The surface of that pocket also includes four slits for business cards. Two elastic fasteners and two corner holders are provided on the other side of the inner face to secure the iPad.

The Elan Passport has a comforting spongy feel that suggests a degree of protection for the enclosed tablet if objects are dropped on the case or if the case itself is dropped. The outer clasp and inner fasteners are also tight enough to ensure that the tablet won't slide out.

Depending on what you use your iPad for, the Passport's biggest drawback could be its inflexibility. There is no way to stand it up if you want to type with the screen inclined or watch movies. Also, if you orient the iPad horizontally, the tongue on the outer clasp sticks up in the air and could get in the way if your typing on the iPad's keyboard.

Notwithstanding these niggles, the Elan Passport is a case I'd be happy to tote to my next meeting with the boss.

intellicase2.jpgThe IntelliCase (left) feels altogether different from the Elan Passport in keeping with its intended uses. For a start, it's not at all spongy. Both the front and back covers are thin and the design (of the black model I tested, anyway) is militaristic in its rigidity and austerity.

Those qualities shouldn't be taken as a sign of inflexibility, however. Indeed, the IntelliCase is exactly the opposite. The two creases in the thermoplastic polyurethane cover allow it to be inclined at shallow or steep angles. This makes it well-suited to a variety of activities, including gaming, watching videos, and typing. I did feel nervous about it falling over backwards in the latter position. I found, though, that this was less likely to happen if the cover was set squarely when folded back.

The iPad is held inside the IntelliCase by slightly overlapping edges on the inside of the hard-shell polycarbonate back cover. For those of a nervous disposition, this method might make the tablet seem less secure than it does using the approach adopted in the Elan Passport. Yet, the IntelliCase's clasps were surprisingly rigid and I never felt concerned that my iPad was going to fall out if I made sure I secured it properly in the first place.

One of the coolest features of the IntelliCase (and the thing that gives it its name) is that it automatically wakes the iPad when the front cover is opened. It then puts the device back to sleep when the case is closed again. That's helpful if you need to access your apps in a hurry (if you want to take a photo, for example) or if you often find yourself fumbling to unlock the screen in the dark.

Another nice feature of this case is its slim form factor. Taken together with the hard shell, that makes it a commendable cover for the frequent leisure traveller or anyone who regularly takes their iPad out for coffee.

intellicase1.jpg

Both the Elan Passport and the IntelliCase are available for the iPad 2 and the new iPad. Both also have standard features like a hole in the back for the rear-facing camera and easy access to the iPad's buttons and charging port. They are available in a range of colors.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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