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We’ve all been told that kids should not get too much screen time but after a certain age that some screen time is okay and potentially beneficial. As a parent of a four year old I can testify that there has never been anything better to entertain and captivate our little one than an iPad or Hudl. Perhaps the biggest problem is that they are expensive and very breakable pieces of equipment and toddlers are rarely careful.
The Tabtoob iPad case aims to solve this problem by being the biggest toughest and most bouncy case it is possible to put on an iPad.
There are two main parts to the Tabtoob – the case and the screen protector / stand.
The case consists of four tubes of dense black foam with ball joints connecting them in a rectangle and then a sheet to cover the back of the iPad. One of the tubes is sliced in half and lets you insert the iPad into it and then it velcro’s closed. There are small cut outs to allow some access to the physical controls but when I say small I’m not kidding – I found them difficult to get in.
The screen protector does dual duty as a stand. In screen protector mode the foam piece fits over the screen snugly and has 4 straps that go around the outside of the tubes and velcro into place. Once there the iPad is completely covered – apart from the weight difference you would not actually be able to tell if there was an iPad inside or not.
To change the screen protector to a stand undo the velcro straps along the long edges and one of the short edges. Fold the screen protector around and it can be used as a supporting leg. The short edge that was unvelcroed can be re-velcroed on to keep it in place. I found that this worked as a stand but it was not particularly stable or strong. Good in a pinch but not something for every day.
At this point I’d like to make a confession. The Tabtoob’s marketing videos show it being bounced, thrown and dropped every which way and then show the iPad inside being perfectly safe afterwards. I’ve used the Tabtoob and have had my iPad inside it but I’ve never managed to work up the nerve to abuse it to anywhere near the level that the case is shown protecting from. I’ve used it normally with the cover on and tried dropping the cover empty and with some weighting inside and it does bounce and seem protective. Add in the screen protector and I can well believe that it would protect from most drops or bounces. I’m just not quite sure enough of this to try it myself!
So what is the Tabtoob like to use? For an adult user I would describe it as annoying. The increase in bulk, the extra difficulty in pressing buttons and the size make it impractical. But I, the adult user am not the target market. The Tabtoob is designed for very young children and for people who may damage the iPad either accidentally or on purpose.
For that market the Tabtoob makes good sense. It protects the iPad and restricts access to the buttons which for those users could be an advantage. I can see it working very well in a nursery or for a young toddler – possibly 2 or 3 years old. After that age it most users would start to find it too restrictive.
The screen cover works well when you are transporting the iPad but is comparatively fragile when used as a stand. My four year old found that her screen touches made the whole thing move and eventually fall over which her normal more conventional stand does not.
Toob as a company orignally started when iPad’s were first introduced. The Tabtoob was the first product designed to to protect the new piece of equipment that was starting to make its way into special needs schools. Toob has since expanded into several supporting products including a TabStrap and charging units for multiple iPads that work with the TabToob.
RRP £19.99 for the Black, £21.99 for blue or red.
Retailer: Amazon or Tabtoob.com
Weight: 227 grams
Vat exempt: On request for those with a disability.
Compatibility: All iPads – two versions, one for the iPad Air and Air 2, one for older devices
Warranty: 30 day warranty on defects in manufacturing but they cannot guarantee that the iPad will not come to harm.
The TabToob is available in three colours – black, light blue with black and white accents and red with black and white accents.
There is no audio component to the TabToob, but due to its design it does cover the iPad’s speakers and with some systems the microphone. This can muffle and degrade sound quality both played and recorded.
Input and touch
Getting your iPad into the TabToob is straightforward but takes a surprising amount of strength. When I thought about it I realised this made perfect sense – the iPad has to be held securely. Removing the iPad is likewise simple but needs a fair amount of pressure to do so.
The TabToob has no controls itself except for the velcro closer on the case and the the straps on the screen protector.
The iPad controls are somewhat obscured by the case. There are cut outs to allow access but they still make access far more difficult. The biggest problem I found was that the home button was partially obscured and if the iPad slipped slightly inside the case that it could go from partially obscured to impossible to press.
The TabToob is made entirely from EVA foam (Ethylene-vinyl acetate). EVA foam is generally safe but some manufacturers have been found to use formaldehyde when shaping it. The chances are that there is no issue here at all as long as no-one tries to eat it but to be completely safe leaving an EVA item in a well ventilated area for a couple of weeks should remove any trace amounts of formaldehyde left. With the exception there are likely to be no allergy problems with EVA.
So would I recommend a TabToob? For my personal use – no. For the target audience of children under the age of about 3 or 4 or for special needs users – yes. The twenty pound price tag is low enough that if you are considering giving your toddler access to your iPad it would be a very sensible addition.
For nursery’s or special needs schools the TabToob is an even simpler equation. If you are letting your iPads out into the classroom without this level of protection you are simply asking for a high repair bill – get it.
The review is based on a black Tabtoob kindly provided by Toob.