Posted by Jamie Laike Tsui on Feb 23, 2013

Incipio Flagship Folio Review

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Incipio Flagship Folio
Manufacturer:  Incipio
Platforms:  iPad 2, 3, 4
Price: $69.99 Get it Here

The Flagship Folio is a hard shell case constructed from polycarbonate plastic and aluminium. It is finished with a carbon fiber design. The case features eight different viewing angles with a micro suede interior and Apple Smart Cover functionality.

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The first thing I noticed when I picked up the Flagship Folio is the brushed aluminium hinge. I was actually taken aback by this. The cool metal against the hand gives the case a feeling of sturdiness and quality. The next thing I noticed about the case is how sharp the aluminium edges are. Although it is probably not sharp enough to cause actual physical harm, its sharp enough to scratch a delicate finish on a table. Due to this finish, I would not slide this case around on a table or surface I am attached to under any circumstance. I would have preferred to see rolled or rounded edges on the hinge system as it does come in contact with tables when setting the closed case on tables.

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Installing the case is literally a snap. Simply snap the iPad to the back side of the case. The case clips to the iPad at four points. Removing the iPad is just as easy. Simply provide some downward pressure on one of the four clip points and then twist the case a little and the iPad pops out. In normal usage, it will be next to impossible for the case to separate from the iPad by accident.

The case is constructed from polycarbonate plastic and finished with a carbon fibre styled finish. It is definitely not actual carbon fibre. The finish is more like a plastic sticker. The finish is surprisingly durable. The case survived a few serious bangs against the corner of walls with only a few light scratches to the finish.

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The case opens like a book. The hinge has enough room to allow the back portion of the case to rest on one of eight ridges on the inside of the front cover. This provides a large variety of viewing angles at the expense of a larger foot print on the desk. I found the typing angle to be a little steep for my liking, but it is still very usable. I loved the wide variety of viewing angles as it provided me for the best set of choices depending on my lighting conditions and sitting position. There is two large rubber pieces on the case that helps provide a tight grip against the ridges. I found that it was even possible to position the iPad in between ridges with the two rubber pieces and it would stay in place as long as the case was not jostled too violently or pressed too hard.

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The one real downside of the case’s viewing mode design is a synergy problem with softer screen protectors like the clear vinyl screen shield. When the case is closed, the ridges press against the screen protector. When the screen is bare or covered by a hard screen protector, the soft micro suede prevents scratches on the screen. However, when used with a soft screen protector, the ridges press up against the screen protector and causes visible denting in the screen shield. This results in slight cloudy lines in the screen protector that does detract from the visual clarity. Therefore, I recommend switching to a solid plastic or glass screen protector when using the case. In reality, since the front of the case is a hard plastic, only the extremely nitpicky really need to use a screen protector with this case. However, I will be the first to admit I happen to fall under that category.

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The case snaps with a plastic portion of the case bent over to hold the case shut. The closure is very secure. There is a good amount of conscious effort required to open the front cover. The Smart Cover functionality works perfectly. The magnets cannot be seen or felt in the inside of the front cover. One small thing I noticed is that the micro suede material that lines the inside of the case did fray and come apart in one edge of my review unit. Listen to what your mother told you and resist temptations to pull on it. It caused the material to fall apart slightly. Beyond that strip of material, the rest of the micro suede has not come apart or lifted from the cover.

The case has individual cut outs for each function of the iPad for the exception of the mute switch and volume button. The cut outs are sized well. The headphone jack’s cut out is generously sized allowing for larger plugs found in higher end headphones and in ear monitors to fit without an adapter. In my testing, I was able to fit the plugs of the stock Shure SE215 and the AKG Q701s without any problems. The bottom of the case has a slot cut out with enough room for a 30 pin connector, therefore the case is also compatible with the new iPad 4 with the smaller Lightning connector.

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The case itself adds a decent amount of bulk and weight. It almost doubles the thickness of my iPad 3 and adds a little extra heft to the device. This is the cost of protecting the iPad with a completely hard shell case. Although the case won’t survive a long hard fall onto concrete, when closed the case will easily take being accidently slammed into a wall and some minor spills.

At $69.99, the Flagship Folio lives up to its lofty name. As the most expensive case in Incipio’s line of iPad cases, it provides a full hard shell case with Apple Smart Cover functionality in a classy package. The case provides excellent coverage and one of the best options for viewing angle. Considering a case from Incipio’s line at nearly 60% of the price can provide almost the same level of protection, the Flagship Folio is definitely one of those purchases you for over because the look of the case appeals to you. The premium price is extremely steep considering there is no screen protector bundled in. It’s a great case, just a little pricy.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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