iPad cases come and go, but my experience is the best ones are those that have what you want most. As obvious as that may sound, our tastes all vary collectively and individually. Six months ago I didn’t care if an iPad case stood the tablet upright; now it’s my most important consideration. As technology changes and evolves, we use the available hardware differently every day, and often in unique ways daily.
So as much as the best way wins, there is no best way. Just depends on what you want.
The Orion Leather iPad mini Smart Cover by Mapi attempts to hit every mark and clearly doesn’t. It’s a thick iPad mini case that massacres the beauty of the device for protection, a lot of leather, and an adjustable stand built right in. As much as the Apple Smart Cover is a minimalist design, the Orion is made to never go anywhere. And that’s the way I like it.
This case is built to do one thing really well: act as an iPad stand without removing the case and work both horizontally and vertically. The Orion does exactly that: just like the Smart Cover folds to make the iPad stand upright, the Orion’s cover folds to stand it upright without putting any weight on the iPad. That way you can fold the Orion either way depending on what you’re doing, watching a movie or reading an article. I use it daily instead of my full-size iPad because the Orion is so much more convenient on a table than the larger tablet, even with a proper stand. The light weight and stable case makes it a great desktop companion.
I’ve used it for the past three weeks and absolutely love how great it is on a tabletop and in the bag. My iPad mini feels completely secure thanks to the thick case that feels well protected thanks to a hard inner shell and a soft leather cover. The leather itself is a little hard though easy to grip. If you use an iPad mini regularly and hate laying it flat on a table and also want it protected, there isn’t anything better than the Orion.
Off the table and out of the bag though the Orion suffers. I’ve used it for reading and the thick build is extraneous, the design confused, and the cover flaps about without abandon. For messaging, reading, viewing media, or just about anything else, the Orion makes the iPad mini feel like an Android tablet; thick and bulky. It’s way more comfortable to just take the iPad out and use it as is. The cover also doesn’t have any place to go and doesn’t stick to the back of the case magnetically, so it just hangs there. This would be okay if the cover folded horizontally, but it folds vertically, meaning it only stays in place when held horizontally.
Mapi has done a great job at making the Orion Leather iPad mini Smart Case do two things extremely well which will appeal to plenty of iPad mini owners: it acts as a great protective case and as an excellent stand without removing the iPad from the case. For users like myself — who use the iPad mini mostly for testing, development, and media while it sits on a desk — the Orion is a perfect case. It doesn’t fit the bill for use in the living room or in the hand, but that’s alright. It is what it is, and for what Mapi offers, the Orion does its job excellently.
Bottom Line: The Orion Leather iPad mini Smart Case is excellent for use on the desk, for development, and for media. It’s a little gaudy, but the high-quality leather feels great and it totally belongs on your workbench.