Hard Candy's Shockdrop protects iPad Air with minimal weight penalty

Hard Candy's Shockdrop protects iPad Air with minimal weight penalty

Summary: The new silicone rubber and polycarbonate case for iPad Air from Hard Candy provides a lightweight but still protective alternative to Otterbox, Griffin, Trident and other extreme-protection products.

TOPICS: iPad, Apple, Tablets

As I mentioned yesterday in my piece discussing the waif-like design of the iPad Air, there is no way in hell I am going to use that device without a protective case on it.

It's been sufficiently proven to me that the device is an utter magnet for getting its screen wrecked, and I am not about to let my new $900 toy get damaged by my first accidental "whoops" moment, AppleCare+ plan be damnned.

As everyone knows I'm big on polycarbonate/silicone rubber case designs for both tablets and smartphones. I've used products from OtterBox, Trident, Griffin as well as Lunatik and I think all of those companies have good solutions, but they come at a cost -- significantly added extra weight and bulk. They can easily double the weight of your device.

For some of us, the added weight is not a big concern, particularly for those of us using tablets and smartphones in field applications where the chances for physical abuse is high. Or for those of us with kids, even.

But some people want just a decent amount of protection without adding a lot of extra weight. One of the major marketing points of the new iPad Air is that it weighs only one pound, so anything added on top of that is going to negate that weight advantage.

Shortly after buying my iPad Air last friday I searched for immediately avaliable polycarbonate/silicone cases that I could get shipped quickly from Amazon. The only product that I saw was the Hard Candy Shockdrop ($50) a company I was not familiar with.

Being that I would rather have at least some kind of impact protection on my iPad Air rather than none, I ordered it. The product is avaliable in a bright red (which makes your iPad look like a high-tech Etch-a-Sketch) or black.

The Hard Candy Shockdrop for iPad Air (product site) differs from products like the Otterbox Defender/Griffin Survivor/Trident Aegis in that it is not a complete clamshell enclosure wrapped with silicone. Instead, it's a polycarbonate top frame that includes a permanent screen protector which is then wrapped with the silicone, which is advertised as being 6mm thick on the backing and front and 10mm thick on the corners.

The total weight penalty is 9oz, which brings the iPad Air to 25oz when enclosed in the Shockdrop.

While I think $50 is a lot of money when compared with similar-priced products with a lot more protective material on it, I still like this case a lot, and it may be a good option for those who primarily intend to use the product at home and not for field use.

The bezel/display elevation is substantial enough to protect the screen from a flat fall and the silicone wrapping is nice and thick so it should be more than good enough to handle routine bumps. I also like the anti-slip texture on the silicone backing.

Have you ordered the Hard Candy Shockdrop for your iPad Air? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Tablets


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience 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.

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  • Case

    I am ordering the carbon skin from a company called "Bodyguardz"and I will team it with the Apple case.
    • That will protect from scratches

      But it will do nothing for impacts. Won't protect the screen, won't protect the body itself from impact damage.
    • Bodyguardz +?

      + the Apple "Case" or Apple "Cover". Can you confirm that the Bodyguardz carbon skin is compatible with the Apple Cover?
      • Bodyguardz

        Yes the keep you device protected from scratches and dings.I use Armorsuit for the screen shield because it is crystal clear.I then use a case.The apple case is fine.
  • Please do not wrap your iPad Air in any cases

    It's so sad that I see people wrap the stunning iPad Air in ugly cases. Just get Apple Care + and be done with it. I have a 2 year old and his iPad Mini is in case but for the rest of us please do not do this.

    Cases are proven to scratch the sides of your devices due to dust and dirt trapped inside. Some cases will do nothing for you when you drop it.

    The screen is tougher than people think. When was the last time you scratched your wine glasses bottoms or your mirror?

    If you are afraid of the back scratches? just go into Apple stores and see if there are any scratches on the displayed iPads there. Do you know how many hands are picking them up and putting them down? Millions.

    That left with accidental drops. Well, you have Apple Care Plus for that. Apple will replace it for a small fee. There! that is your ultimate case.

    PLEASE! DO NOT wrap your Ferrari in an ugly case. Also, this author is being paid to promote this awful looking case. Yuck!.
    • Just look at who pays him

      That alone should tell you not t trust him "Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp". I'm honestly surprized he's not pushing those horrible surface P.O.S. tablets.
      I hate trolls also
    • Agree with you 100 percent!

      You said the exact words I was thinking. Why would you put an ipad air in that case? It's absolutely dreadful. I've only ever had a Smart Cover on my iPads. My ipad 2 was two years old without a scratch on it and it was thrown in my bag. My 10 year old took it to bed with him to watch netflix, then fell asleep on the screen. Sold it on ebay for £230. 16gb 3G model.
      The ipad is a lot tougher than it looks.
      Yes, I'm sure the author had been paid to promote this as why would you want your ipad to look like an etch a sketch!??
      Tracey Cross
  • ipad air case

    If you want the ipad air with cover without keyboard and have the minimum on weight, take a look at this comparison: www.jeroenbiemans.nl/ipad/ipad-air-case-weight-comparison/

    It will save you some time surfing for it.