There are plenty of folio-style iPad mini cases that are designed to look like hardcover books, but none are quite as attractive as Xhibt's $80 Inspiria Metallic iPad mini Classic Case. This case comes in several bright, striking color combinations, and the fabric features a sparkly sheen that subtly shimmers when the cover opens. Unfortunately, looks aren't everything, and the Inspiria suffers from a couple of issues.
The Inspiria features a two-tone cover in a variety of cool colors. Combos include Apple Green and Cobalt Blue, Tanzanite Purple and Flamingo Pink, Nautical Brass and Tanzanite Purple, and Cloud Purple and Cobalt Blue. Each case is customizable, so you can choose your outer color combination and combine it with any interior color: Tanzanite Purple, Apple Green, Cloud Purple, Cobalt Blue, Flamingo Pink, Mandarin Red, and Nautical Brass. If you're curious, our review model was Tanzanite Purple and Flamingo Pink with a Cloud Purple interior.
Inside, the case features a bamboo frame for your iPad mini. The frame has rubbery patches on each corner, and your mini presses securely into the frame. The rubber does a good job of keeping the mini in place--at no time during my review did the mini fall out of the frame and onto my face while reading laying down (this is actually a problem with a lot of book-style cases!).
The bamboo frame offers access to most of the mini's ports. There are slots for the headphone jack, volume controls, power button, bottom speakers, and Lightning port. However, the power button slot is a little misplaced: it's situated too far to the left, so part of the frame covers the button. This is actually an issue, in part because the frame is thick--it's difficult to get your finger in there as it is--and also because the Inspiria does not support the iPad mini's magnetic sleep/wake feature. There's also no cutout for the mini's microphone, which is located along the top of the device, nor is there a cutout for the mini's back-facing camera. You can get an Inspiria with a camera hole option, but it'll cost an extra $5.
Xhibt's Inspiria Metallic iPad mini Classic Case seems like it offers a decent amount of protection (the front cover is held in place with an elastic band to keep it shut when not in use), but it needs some tweaks before it can be a front-runner in the book-style folio category. The slot for the power button needs to be re-engineered, the cover needs to be compatible with the mini's magnetic sleep/wake feature, and--at an $80 price point--the camera hole should definitely come standard.
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