EktoPad F1 gaming case for the iPad: a review

| Monday, October 18th, 2010

I’m constantly on the lookout for the best iPad case, and it seems like for me, the BookBook still reigns supreme; however, the Ectopad F1 case had me a little bit intrigued. The EctoPad F1 is built with gamers in mind, and after a few seconds with the device it became quite evident that it was built to be held. It felt comfortable, and fit in my hands perfectly. If you ever have long gaming sessions on your iPad, you probably know all too well how uncomfortable the device can be to hold. Any case that focuses on releaving hand fatigue and bizarre hand cramps deserves our attention, so we decided to take Uzibull’s EctoPad F1 case for a test drive.

Built for racing games

While the EctoPad F1 case excels in the comfort department, it does have some quirks that are worth noting. If the application you’re using, or the game you’re playing, requires the use of two thumbs, you might find it difficult to interact with. While the case is made for comfort, the result is a loss of reach. For me, my thumbs can reach about an inch and a half of screen real-estate on a naked iPad, but with the case I get about half an inch. Immediately we can see that this case is meant for racing and gyroscope-based games. There’s no loss in function at all while playing these games, but anything with a duel thumb control scheme suffers.

I guess these findings are pretty obvious when you study the product name a little bit closer. The Ectopad F1 case is clearly designed for racing games, and it does that really well. So, in that light, this case performs just as expected, and the marketing for the case is right on the mark.

But, how many people actually use a case for one thing, and one thing only? I certainly don’t, so I put it through some other tests throughout the course of the week, and found some interesting things about it.

Using it in the car

First, the case comes with a strap that attaches to the case, and makes for an excellent in car option, especially if you have kids riding in the back seat (I don’t). You can very easily attach your iPad to the back of a driver or passenger seat for the kids. That’s a huge plus, especially if you do a lot of driving with the kids. So, we’ll be keeping this case around for a while. It’ll come in extremely handy for road trips in the future. If you have a Microsoft Sync system in your car, this case turns the back of your seat into an in car video system quite easily with an iPad.

Everyday usage

Every day use is a little bit disappointing. While you could certainly use this as an every day case, it is a little bit bulky, but that’s not the main concern—beware of holding it in one hand.

The grip system seems to encourage holding the device in one hand, which is not exactly abnormal, but the case seems to buckle a little bit while holding it in that way. I found myself getting a little bit paranoid when I did try to hold it in just one hand. A little bit of jarring or bumping, and your iPad could pop out of the case. It never happened during testing, but it’s not much of a leap to assume it might. It was pretty scary.

A video from the Ectopad crew

Roundup

The case, built for driving games, must be held with two hands at all times, or strapped to the back seat of a car. If you can ensure that either of those conditions can be met, the case is comfortable and helps with hand fatigue quite a lot. However, if you’re planning on using this on a daily basis, I’d recommend caution and diligence while using it with one hand. This case is rugged, and could easily survive a crash to the floor, at least as long as you don’t land screen first on a giant rock. So in that regard, it’s easy to recommend it, but with caveats outlined above.

You can buy the case on Uzibull’s website or on Amazon for $29.86.

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