With Apple's launch of the iPad Air 2, with its considerably thinner (and arguably more fragile) design, some consumers as well as businesses looking to put the device in the field may be looking for better device protection than what exists in the retail accessory channel and from Apple directly.
The Griffin Survivor is the first of the "Ultra Protective"cases for the iPad Air 2 that will be entering the market, which will be joined later by companies such as OtterBox and Trident.
Retailing at $79.99 and currently avaliable only from Griffin's web site (but with e-tailers selling in the channel for a bit less expected shortly) this case comes ready to rumble, or ready to go to war, if you read the pure specifications.
If so encased, it will bring the iPad Air 2 to 27.7 ounces, or 1lb and 12 ounces.
As I reported on last year for the identical product for the previous iPad Air, I'm still in love with this case. It's got excellent screen and bezel clearance, and what I think is an ideal mix of rigid polycarbonate housing combined with a very ample amount of silicone rubber.
Although this is without question one of the heaviest, shock and impact-resistant cases you can buy on the market, it doesn't feel like you are holding a brick.
The polycarbonate and the silicone rubber seems to organically "merge" together, particularly in the way the tablet itself gets encased. This is a bit different than how its primary competitor, OtterBox, puts its Defender case together, which is a pure polycarbonate clamshell that is wrapped entirely in silicone.
While it looks fantastic and sporty, it also makes the case a little harder to put on than most, so a little patience and perseverence is needed to get all the silicone lined up and meshed together.
Both rubber and polycarbonate is shaved off in appropriate spots so the case has sort of a sculpted look, while at the same time removing excess material and lowering the weight as much as possible and still being highly protective, particularly on the corners.
Like many other hardcases on the market, it integrates a permanent (transparent) screen protector. And rather than going for a shock cover with integrated easel/stand like the OtterBox Defender, it includes a clip-on, lightweight stand/easel for propping the device up to watch videos and other content.
I found this accessory to be somewhat difficult to snap on and off, but it's a nice addition to the product.
Griffin's design is also very modern and attractive looking. Currently, it is only avaliable in 3 color options, but more are expected to be added in the future. The previous generation had six color choices.
All of this being said very little has actually changed from the case design from last year's model. In addition to providing a covered translucent button flim for the Touch ID sensor (allowing it to be covered but still fully functional) the flap for the rear camera window has been eliminated.
I was a little sad to see this go as the camera flap added extra protection from dust and other particulates from getting in front of the lens when the rear camera was not in use. But it's possible Griffin removed this due to possible customer feedback that it was a little hard to remove the flap when the camera was needed.
As with the previous year's model, Griffin has incorporated silicone flaps for the Lightning port and the headphone jack. In addition to removing the flap for the camera, which streamlines the design somewhat, the case design has been altered to reflect Apple's removal of the mute/orientation lock button.
The volume rockers and power buttons are covered with silicone, but are fully functional.