I wrote in spring a blog post about waterproof tablet computers and waterproof cases for iPad and mentioned then that we were planning to purchace a Lifedge iPad case made by Scanstrut for this season. However, we could not find this kind of a case for our 1st generation iPad anywhere. All the web stores that we checked were showing empty stocks.
We were in a hurry as the season was approaching and thus, we decided to order another iPad case "Lifejacket" by company Forward. The price tag for the Lifejacket was about 80 € in the SVB web store, so it is a less expensive alternative compared to Scanstrut's model. The waterproof Lifejacket case basically provides protection against dirt, water, sand and even some light knocks. It should also float on the water surface - I have not dared to try this yet! The case is also easy to use and iPad can be installed relatively quickly.
However, the iPad Lifejacket is sort of no-frills version compared to the Lifedge case for example. Due to the simpleness of the design, it has some limitations. First of all, the case does not have a switch for on/off or volume control. Only the iPad's home button can be used with the case. This a major drawback, since one of the nice qualities of the iPad is that it can be switched on from the stanby mode within seconds. Therefore, you can turn it on for say ten seconds to check some details from the chart, and then switch it back to stanby mode. This way the battery lasts a lot longer. However, as this cannot be done with Lifejacket, I had to change the iPad to turn automatically into standby mode after a minimum time interval (two minutes) when not used.
Plastic edges of the case are a bit too wide in my opinion, and therefore the case takes too much additional space compared to the device itself. Furthermore, in terms of aesthetics this case has a very plastic feel, and it is not the fanciest product on the market. I bet that Steve Jobs would not been happy about this kind of add-on for an Apple product.
The touch screen remains naturally fully functional through the case, although the iPad is less sensitive when used with the case. One problem with the case is that the matte screen makes it even harder to see the iPad in direct sunlight through the case. Therefore, in good weather we often used iPad without the case to improve the visibility. We have not tried other iPad cases, so it is impossible to rate, how Lifejacket fares in relation to competitor's products in this respect.
Is it worth the money?
Well it depends. For us it was worth the investment especially as this season was quite wet and we ended up using it quite often. And when it is raining, there is usually no problem with the visibility in sunlight. Personally, I would spend some extra money for a case, that has a better visibility and all the buttons function through the case. On the other hand, when compared to some less expensive plastic bags for iPad, I consider Lifejacket better as it gives some protection for the iPad.