Ok, so you passed on AppleCare, and now you need some other form of ‘insurance’. Here is a quick review and comparison of different case price ranges and what my recommended options are. I’ve personally used dozens of cases of all sorts of price ranges, and so here is my experience. If you have some more suggestions, please include them in the comments below!
For less than $10, I haven’t seen anything better than a $2 case from the dollar store (soft silicone sleeves seem better than hard-shell cases). It will protect against most accidental drops. I’ve bought a few in the $5-$15 dollar range, and I find no practical difference between those and what my wife bought at the dollar store.
The next step up seems to be just under $30 range (I haven’t experienced anything for ~$20). I have seen massive deployments of the Trident cases, which are pretty solid, and for about $27 from Amazon – http://amzn.to/KA3pQu – I like this one and I own one myself. It has very thick rubber in the corners, and is easy for small hands to hold. There is the potential for the clips (that hold the front to the back) to break – but it hasn’t happened to me yet.
A common case in a similar price range is the iBallz for iPad. This popular case may offer good drop protection, but I still think the Trident option is more robust
Check out this Drop and Splash test of the Trident Kraken!
For about $55, you can buy the Gumdrop case – http://amzn.to/KA3Ie6 – I’ve been using a couple of these over the past 3 months thanks to a colleague, Johanne. Now I’m using 30 of them for a cart full of New iPads. These are very heavy duty cases that are a thick rubber that covers everything from the headphone jack, mute switch and charging port. All of that rubber makes me suspect that they can handle a pretty heavy rain and a few splashes of water, juice, etc. I bought them because I want to be able to use the iPads on field trips without worries.
In black, the Gumdrop sort of looks like a tire tread, which I think is pretty cool. I think this is the most durable case I’ve come across. The best part? They fit in Bretford iPad Carts (not so well in the tray, though). Check out the video below that shows a Gumdrop vs Otterbox comparison
I Hope this helps, and thanks for spreading the word of http://www.edapps.ca!