Incipio Lexington Hardshell Folio Case for iPad
Price: $39.99 Buy It Here
The Incipio Lexington is a vegan leather folio case with a hard shell back that comes in five colours: black, gray, blue, red, and tan. The case features magnets to provide Smart Cover functionality, a micro-suede interior and a buckling closure. The case can be propped in up at several angles with the help of the buckling closure for hands free viewing or typing.
The vegan leather used in the Lexington feels more like plastic than leather. Although the finish is a very fine matte, the feel is extremely smooth with a slight stickiness when I run my fingers across it. Compared to some of other Incipio’s vegan leather offerings, this feels one of the least like animal leather. The Lexington uses the vegan leather for the front of the folio, the hinge, and a majority of the outside portion of the hardshell case. There is a benefit for the slicker choice of leather as when the iPad is rested front facing upwards, the case slides easily on a desk. The vegan leather took scratches ok. Although it survived a few rough jostles in a backpack, I found the finish scratched a lot easier than some other pieces of vegan leather. Roughly scratching the case with my fingernail caused a noticeable scratch to the finish and the leather itself.
The back of the folio is a plastic hardshell. To install the iPad, you simply snap the back into the case which clamps onto the four corners of the iPad. The clamping force is extremely secure. I found it took a great amount of effort to remove the iPad from the case, to the point I actually manage to bend one of the corners of the case when overzealously attempting to remove the iPad from the Lexington. The hardshell case has a matte finish that almost feels like a thin coating of silicon was sprayed onto it. It complements the texture of the vegan leather really well and withstood the same fingernail scratch test that marred the front cover’s vegan leather. I really like that separate holes are cut out for the camera, power button, microphone, headphone jack, speaker, and connectors. Each one is perfectly sized and since the lightning connector is located at exactly the same place the 30pin connector is, the Lexington is compatible with the 4th generation iPads. The inside of the hardshell case is either a rubbery foam or more micro-suede lining that will protect the back of the iPad while it is inside the hardshell.
The front of the folio has a magnet to provide Smart Cover functionality. It is disappointing to note that the magnet in the cover was easily spotted unlike Apple’s Smart Cover. However, this is purely a minor cosmetic annoyance. The inside of the cover is lined with a micro-suede that provides a soft lining that will come in contact with the iPad glass while closed. I noticed the cover does not close properly when the case is not closed with the buckle. It opened just enough to constantly engage and disengage the Smart Cover magnets and unnecessarily drained the batteries. I found this happened less as I broken in the vegan leather hinge with time, but it continued to happen.
The case is held shut with a buckle system that consists of a band of vegan leather attached to the back of the case and a strip of leather on the front of the case that slips in. This buckle is extremely sturdy and held the case closed tightly. Unfortunately I found the buckle to be a hassle to open. Due to the slick finish to the leather, it is impossible to slip the buckle open by putting a finger on the strip of the leather and attempting to slide it out. To remove it, I found I had to grab the edges of the leather strip with my finger nails and then pull it out of the buckle. Mixed with the difficulties with the cover having problems closing properly without using the buckle system, I soon found myself getting irritated with the whole design of the buckle.
The only saving grace of the buckle system was the fact it provides an extremely sturdy base for using the folio as a stand. There is a bed in a third of the cover. By bending the folio cover and slipping the leather strip into the buckle, it was probably the sturdiest hands-free stand I have encountered in a case yet. The case could withstand quite a bit of jostling and pressure without slipping. Unlike most folio cases that only has two possible viewing angles, the Lexington had four. A steeper angle could be achieved by simply changing the side of the clasp I slipped the leather strap. The angles provided were extremely comfortable for typing and very usable for watching videos on the iPad compared to the Smart Cover. I find the Smart Cover has a great typing angle but a nearly useless hands free viewing angle in comparison.
The case is not very bulky, managing to keep a relatively slim profile. The materials used are extremely light which is perfect when paired with the third and fourth generation iPads which carry heavier batteries compared to the second generation iPad. The design looks very simple and provides an elegant look that would be appropriate for professional environments.
Incipio’s Lexington Hardshell Folio Case is a mixed bag. It mixes stylish looks, light weight, sturdy hands free viewing angles, and good protection with a lousy buckle system, problems with Smart Cover feature when not properly closed with the buckle engaged, and an easily scratched vegan leather exterior. Priced at $39.99, the Lexington is probably not one of Incipio’s best offerings for the iPad. However, if you are in the market for a classy looking iPad folio case that provides strong protection and an extremely sturdy closure system that still manages to stay light weight and feel good to the touch; the Lexington is worth a look.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.