If you're worried about dropping your iPad mini, you may want to invest in a heavy-duty, shock-absorbing case such as Cygnett's $40 Workmate. This hard shell case is made of two different materials--a harder, impact-resistant plastic, and a softer, shock-absorbing rubber--to help keep your iPad mini from suffering damage when it falls on hard surfaces.
The Workmate comes in two dual-color combinations: slate gray and black, or red and black. Our review model is red and black. The inside of the shell is mostly made of the soft, rubbery black material, while the outside is primarily the harder red material. Putting the case on your device is fairly easy--the harder red material seeps over to the front at the four corners and on either side, so you really just have to snap those parts over the mini to set it in place.
The case adds a lot of bulk to the iPad mini, but that's expected; it is touted as an extremely protective, shock-absorbing case, after all. The Workmate doesn't just add bulk and thickness to the back and sides of the mini, it also adds it to the front, as there's a thick lip around the display to help protect the touchscreen from hitting the floor and cracking if the mini is dropped facedown. This added protection is nice, but it won't protect the mini from surface scratches (if you toss the tablet into a bag, for example).
I didn't test out the Workmate's drop-protection by dropping my iPad Mini onto cement, but Cygnett does have a YouTube video that shows them drop testing a Workmate-clad mini onto concrete. While the case will probably do a good job of protecting your mini from such drops, that doesn't mean you should invite disaster by dropping your mini on purpose. Unfortunately, the Workmate doesn't have room to accommodate an Apple Smart Cover, so your mini's display will be left vulnerable when not in use.
Extra bulk aside, the Workmate is a well-designed case. The case lets you access all of the mini's ports: there are cutouts for the Lightning port, speakers, microphone, headphone jack, camera, and mute switch, and there are rubber press-through overlays over the Sleep/Wake button and the volume controls. The Sleep/Wake button is easy to press, but the volume controls can be a little difficult to press through the rubber covers.
While the Workmate may not be the most stylish case out there, it definitely feels like it will protect your mini from drops and spills. It's also easy to put on and take off, so you don't have to put up with the extra bulk all the time.
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