G-Form's PORON XRD Extreme Sleeve: Bowling ball meets iPad, tablet lives

Summary:How does an iPad survive over 3000Lbs of impact force? With a revolutionary space-age material known as PORON XRD.

Over the last couple of days, I have been closely examining the product development of a new iPad 1/iPad 2 slip case by G-Form, a company that is extremely new to the consumer electronics accessory industry but has a lot of experience in producing knee and elbow pads for high-impact and extreme sports.

Those of you who travel with an iPad 1/iPad 2 or even use it around the house or at your business might want to consider pre-ordering one of these cases at $59.95. I've gotten that much confidence in this product already that I can say this is the closest thing you are going to get to making your iPad impact proof under heavy travel and when carrying it around in typical business usage conditions.

I've been lucky enough to have been supplied with an early engineering prototype of G-Form's "Extreme Sleeve" and I have to say that I'm extremely impressed with the product so far and intend on travelling with it and my iPad 2 this week.

What's so special about this case? It's made of a soft cushioning material known as PORON XRD, which is a memory foam manufactured by Rogers Corporation that is very similar to the type of material used in the Tempur-Pedic bed. PORON XRD is used in sports protective apparel, such as in the inside of NFL football helmets as well as various types of torso, knee and shin pads as well as for industrial safety footwear.

However what's different about this foam (which is made of sustainable, recyclable materials) is that instead of being designed to relieve pressure on body parts by conforming to the shape of the subject, it is designed to spread the kinetic energy of the impact of an object.

Because it spreads the energy rather than concentrates it in one area, it amazingly permits a 12lb bowling ball from a three-foot drop to hit an iPad, screen facing up on top of a concrete slab without causing any damage.

That's roughly equivalent to over 3000 pounds of force directly hitting the iPad.

The enclosed video at the top of the article showing the impact/shock results between an OtterBox and a G-Form Poron XRD case is an eye-opener. The OtterBox, which I consider to be one of the strongest forms of iPad protection on the market, was unable to protect a direct impact on its polycarbonate cover by the dropped bowling ball and resulted in a shattered glass screen.

The G-Form case, however, completely absorbed the impact and the iPad walked away unscathed.

It should be added that the OtterBox is a rigid case which may or may not not be better in absorbing side impacts and preventing dents in the aluminum housing of the iPad than the G-Form case (although the PORON XRD material does protect the sides of the casing as well) so I think as to what case is better for protecting your device depends on the type of torture you intend to put your iPad through.

I'm certainly very interested in seeing what OtterBox issues as a response, as I know they are in the process of designing their Next-Generation Defender Case for the iPad 2.

However, I think that for most people, the much lighter PORON XRD foam used on the G-Form rather than the polycarbonate plastic and rubber armor on the Otterbox Defender will provide superior protection against most direct drops and hits to the screen.

We'll see this week how this case performs as I bring the prototype on vacation. I'll be sure to have a full review of the product once I have the full retail version in-hand.

Are you considering the G-Form case now that you have seen the demonstration videos? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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