This rugged case provides adequate protection to corners and the back of the iPad Air. it should be enough to protect your beloved device from accidental drops and scratches to the aluminum case.
The case comes with a pull out stand in the back, which comes in handy when watching movies or reading. There is also a strap in the back for “one handed operation”. At first I thought it was a gimmick, but after expending some hours with it, I can see people using it in presentations. There are also nice little flaps that open to access headphones, volume and the lightning port.
However, the case does not provide “rugged” protection to the most susceptible part of the iPad: the screen. Although it comes with a plastic shield that sits on top of the screen, effectively protecting it from scratches, it won’t protect it from direct impact. Other non-rugged cases such as the CaseCrown Omni Case and Apple’s Smart Cover provide this basic form of protection which I think is a “must” feature, especially for a case that is supposed to be rugged.
New Trent has made huge strides on this area in the last couple of years. Materials are high quality and adequate for the type of product. The use of aluminum for the stand and leather for the strap is a nice addition and adds to the case’s general look.
The Gladius works and performs as intended. I (obviously) didn’t do any “drop tests”, but other than the screen protection issue mentioned above, the case does a nice job protecting the iPad Air.
Something to keep in mind is that when using the iPad in landscape mode, you can’t move the App icons between screens because of the way the case covers the top and bottom edges. Not a big problem, as you can do it on portrait mode, but it’s a kind of a nuisance.
The New Trent Gladius runs for about $40 in Amazon at the time of this writing. It is an adequate price for such a sturdy and protective case and it’s worth the piece of mind of knowing your precious device will be just fine if you throw it in your bag, drop it on the table or if your 1.5 year old toddler grabs it for a spin (true story).
Ease of Use
Given the degree of protection this case provides, it takes some time to install, and getting the case open to insert the iPad in, may require some effort on your part. However, it is worth it and once installed it’s good to go.
The installation instructions could be better laid out, in my opinion. The hand strap can only be adjusted while the case is open and the instructions to do so are located right after the initial installation instructions. So, you’ll have to remove the iPad from the case to adjust the strap (if you happened to follow the instructions in the order they are presented in the booklet). Not a terrible drawback, but worth keeping it in mind.