Hot on the heels of OtterBox, Gumdrop are hitting the Market hard with some fine competition for this well established maker of rugged cases. Following on from their Drop Series iPad 2 case Gumdrop have a brand new evolution, the Military Spec iPad 2 case. As the name suggests, this beauty has a few upgrades focussed around helping the iPad survive the harsh conditions of military deployment.
First, most obviously, and least importantly is the army colour of the Military Edition case, It’s standard green, which is a lot lighter than I expected. At first it’s not the prettiest of co IRS, but it’ll really grow on you, and is a refreshing change from the all-too-common rugged black.
Colour aside, the styling of the Military Edition case is somewhat reminiscent of a tire tread, and is consequently a lot more interesting, and grippy, than the back of any OtterBox case I’ve tried. It’s a lot it/hate it affair, though, as it’s far too obnoxious to simply be ignored. Unlike the OtterBox it doesn’t mess around revealing the Apple logo on the back of the iPad.
The tire tread serves an additional purpose, seemingly drastically cutting down the amount of material needed to shock-proof the back, and lowering the weight to boot. The thickness of the back varies from around 3mm on the ridge of a tread, to 1mm at the base. The corners are thickest, providing ample protection in that most delicate of areas.
Improving on the drop series, the Military Edition also has a much needed dust filter for the speaker. The same type of filter isn’t present for the microphone, however, which is a small hole but the cases only unprotected vector for crud to enter.
Even the cameras, both the front and back, have a plastic film to prevent dust entry. This is both good and bad, depending on how much you depend upon the iPad 2s quite terrible cameras. If you don’t use them, it keeps some otherwise large entry points for dust and grit sealed up tight. If you do use the cameras, however, you’ll find that the front camera is rendered somewhat blurry by this added protection. The rear camera doesn’t seem to be similarly affected, though. I did remove and replace the case a few times to verify this. For me, its not even an inkling of a problem, the iPads front camera is laughably bad at the best of times.
All of the dust caps on the case have little pull tabs, making them easy to remove and replace. They’re quite loose fitting compared to those I’ve encountered upon various OtterBox products, however, and could do with being a bit more substantial. The dock port cap also has an interesting problem, if you open it too far, it’ll press the home button. Not really a big deal, but a curious oversight. Overall the dust caps could be better, and I dare say Gumdrop should buy a few OtterBox cases for inspiration.
As for buttons, they’re as responsive as you’ll ever want. Perhaps a little too responsive which is a curious detachment from the traditional problems with silicone cases. The home, volume and sleep buttons all maintain their tactile response through the rubber outer casing, a triumph considering their awkward placement. The mute/rotation lock switch is a little tricky to get to, however, but once you get used to it, it’s good enough. There’s not really enough physical space to make a finger-sized hole, so you can’t really blame Gumdrop for making the best of what little room they’ve got to work around.
There’s a built-in screen protector, as is typical of this kind of rugged case. It provides a good dust barrier as it’s glued to its frame, and doesn’t require a screen protector to be applied to your iPad first. The screen protector and frame are removable, presumably so that it can be easily replaced if it becomes scratched or otherwise damaged.
Overall, its as good as any OtterBox I’ve tested and better in some respects, the comparison is inevitable so I apologise if you’ve never clapped eyes upon one. In its own right, the Gumdrop Military Edition is a great rugged case which I would readily recommend to people seeking excessive protection. And, whilst I can’t set up shop in a desert to test it myself, I’m pretty sure this will massively increase the iPads chances of survival in the current dust and grit intensive theatre of war. You can pick up the Gumdrop Military Edition from MobileFun for around £45.