Trident Aegis for iPad Air meets military standards, but does it protect?

Summary:We're not convinced that meeting or exceeding MIL-STD-810F Department of Defense specs means much when protecting the iPad Air.

I had high hopes for the Trident Aegis case for iPad Air. I mean, even the name of the thing sounded cool.

After all, anything that sounds like a defensive missile system that belongs aboard a naval vessel by definition, must be serious protection, right?

Trident is a company that actually has a really good reputation with its cases, particularly the Kraken A.M.S. series they made for the previous generation iPad, which looks like it means serious business and is a worthy competitor to OtterBox's Defender Series as well as the Griffin Survivor, both of which we hope to have in for review shortly.

Trident claims that the Aegis meets or exceeds the MIL-STD-810F standard, which "describes the environmental tailoring process that results in realistic materiel designs and test methods based on materiel system performance requirements."

Got it? Okay, great. In less general terms, Trident claims on the marketing material as well as the packaging on the product that the case has been tested to withstand repeated (26) drops from 4' in height, as well as low frequency vibration for 18 hours at 20-2000Hz on three axes.

What this means in terms of actual real-life protection has yet to be proven. Based on my observations of the design of the Aegis for iPad Air, I would not choose to buy this case for myself for a number of reasons.

I don't like the fact that the case is not a true polycarbonate clamshell design. It would be more accurate to say that the case is a thin wrapping of silicone rubber, which is then enclosed in a thin polycarbonate "tray" that acts as the backing.

The upside of this is that the combination of the thinner polycarbonate and the thinner silicone wrapper yeilds less added weight to the tablet -- the total comes to just over 27 ounces with the iPad Air enclosed.

That still almost doubles the weight of the tablet, but it won't be as heavy as some of the thicker (and more protective) cases coming on the market, like the aforementioned OtterBox Defender and Griffin Survivor.

However, the downside is that the thinner silicone wrapper also means there is less bezel area protection. One or two milimeters of bezel elevation above the display means that on a face down impact, you are much more likely to crack the screen than one with with at least 4 or 5mm of elevation, like the Hard Candy Shockdrop that was also reviewed this week.

The silicone wrapper on the Aegis also leaves much of the top bezel area of the iPad Air completely exposed, as well as completely exposing the home/center button. Granted, the case comes with a permanent screen protector film which will be sufficient to stop most scratches, but that's going to do nothing for impacts.

The Trident Aegis retails at  $49.95 and comes in a variety of colors. However, if you really are looking for something with more substantial protection, I'd seek a different solution. Here's hoping that Trident gets a version of their more robust Kraken A.M.S. out for the iPad Air soon.

What are your experiences with Trident cases for smartphones and tablets? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Apple, 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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