It’s great getting the latest new tech gadget, but that also means good cases can be hard to find. This was the scenario I found myself in with the new iPad mini 6. Very new device, and not a lot of cases to choose from made worse by my (apparently) difficult to meet case needs. I wanted to write aout my quest for the perfect iPad mini 6 case as I suspect other people will like the case I found just as much as I do.
My Requirements For an iPad Mini Case
The whole point in me switching to an iPad mini form factor was so that I could use the iPad more like and iPad and less like a laptop. So I had some very specific requirement when it came to finding a protective yet functional case for how I wanted to use my new iPad mini 6:
- Front and Back Protection: I take my iPad a lot of places, including on travel so front and back protection to protect against scratches is a must.
- Slim and Comfortable to Hold: I do a lot of reading and note-taking with the mini so it needs to be comfortable to holding in my hand and lay flat on a table for taking notes.
- Apple Pencil Holder: I absolutely wanted a secure Apple Pencil holder built into the case. The Apple Pencil is just too easy to knock loose from the iPad itself and I use the Apple Pencil a lot so it needs to stay with the iPad at all times.
- Drop Protection: I wanted enough padding in the case to protect the iPad mini in the event I dropped it.
- Leather: My strong preference is for a leather case of some kind as I like the look and feel of leather, especially how it looks as it gets worn and aged.
Given my list of requirements above my list of potential cases was already severely limited. Right off the bat there appeared to be no case on the market that met all of my requirements. Below are just a few of the cases I considered:
- Twelve South BookBook: This is the case I had for my original iPad mini back in 2012 and I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, there is not yet a BookBook case available for the iPad mini 6 so this was not an option. They are working on releasing one soon though…
- Apple Smart Folio Case: This case met all but one of my requirements but was missing the ability to secure the Apple Pencil and I wasn’t comfortable depending on just the magnets to keep the pencil attached.
- ESR Cases: The entire line of cases from ESR came pretty highly recommended and were relatively inexpensive. The problem with this option was that their folio cases either didn’t allow you to hold the iPad comfortably with the case folded back or if they did allow the iPad to detach the feature that secured the Apple Pencil no longer functioned (it partially relied on the iPad magnets so the Apple Pencil went along with the iPad. I find the Apple Pencil attached to the side of the iPad annoying when using the iPad for reading so I really wanted a dedicated Apple Pencil holder.
- Spigen Tough Armor: I really like the concept of this case. While it didn’t have front protection, the real deal breaker again was the lack of an Apple Pencil holder.
- UAG Metropolis SE: I thought this was going to be the answer and ended up buying this case. It had a lot of protection, looked great and had a slot built into the case to hold the Apple Pencil but also allowed the Apple Pencil to charge. But when I got the case I found out the front cover did not detach from the case and the case just wasn’t comfortable to hold folded back on itself while reading. Previous version of the Metropolis allowed the front cover to detach and it appeared from the picture that the cover on the Metropolis SE would detach as well, but that was not the case. So I ended up returning the case.
The iPad Mini 6 Case For Me
Finally, after a lot of internet searching I found a case that met all the criteria I listed above. I stumbled upon a company called Mission Leather and they make a leather sleeve lined with wool that has an external pouch designed to hold the Apple Pencil. So the case gave me front and back protection and well as padding for drop protection, had a dedicated storage place for the Apple Pencil, it allowed me to hold the iPad in its natural form and it was made out of leather.
What I love about this case is that while the iPad is in the sleeve it is completely protected. Once I take the iPad out, I can use the iPad the way it was intended with no case getting in the way but the Apple Pencil is right there securely tucked into the outer case pocket. Generally I am either doing a bunch of reading and have no use for the Apple Pencil or I am going to take notes or write in my journal so I take the Apple Pencil out along with the iPad. So having the Apple Pencil reside in out outer pocket has really worked out perfectly for me. The case itself is very well made. The leather quality is outstanding, super soft and holds up really well to being tossed into a bag and traveling on an airplane (which I have had to do with it already). I also really like having the extra wool lining in the sleeve to protect the screen from getting scratched. Because the sleeve is custom made for the iPad mini 6 it fits just tightly enough that there is no chance of the iPad coming out unless you intentionally pull it out of the sleeve.
If you have similar case requirement to mine, I suggest you check out the Leather iPad Sleeve (vertical with Apple Pencil) in Whiskey over at Mission Leather. These are hand-crafted made in the USA (Dallas, TX) and while a little pricy at $76 you get what you pay for…a case that is going to stand up to a lot of wear and tear and look great while doing it.
Bonus #1: In addition to getting a sleeve case for my iPad I also opted to get an adhesive wrap for the back and sides of my iPad as well as my Apple Pencil. It provides just enough extra texture and grip to make holding the iPad even more comfortable and it lets you personalize your iPad appearance at the same time. I got my wraps from a company called Slick Wraps (a company I have purchased these wraps from before and they are from my hometown of Wichita, Kansas) and got the Charred Robot wrap for my iPad and the Retro Series in black for the Apple Pencil 2 because I really enjoy the full color Apple logo look on the Apple Pencil.
Bonus #2: The one requirement I didn’t put on the case is that it have a built-in stand. So instead I use a small and portable collapsible stand around the house or I pack it in my carry bag when traveling. The stand I ended up with is the Adjustable Angle Height Phone Stand for Desk by a company called CMUEPO. What I like about this stand is that is folds down to a footprint not much larger than a credit card, is highly adjustable and has rubber grippers to keep the iPad securely in the stand. Best of all it is very inexpensive at around $14 from Amazon.com.
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