Most helpful critical review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
(Used to) Love this case... updated review
on February 10, 2014
Update: After ~18 months of use, I must modify my review completely!
I still LOVE the functionality of this case, but it is peeling apart at the edges, after only moderate use.
I would give this an even lower star rating now, but when I finally was able to connect with Snugg customer service, in the end, they have been helpful. So while the product has some quality issues, and they were at first impossible to reach, I give them an extra star for effort.....
But my feelings about this product are quite mixed, so please bear with me!
In general, this case feels good in my hand, and protects my iPad mini well (although be aware that it would not save it from a drop on the corner, as those are pretty exposed). I use this tablet for reading e-books a lot, and appreciate the way it feels more like a book than a tablet. The front cover folds back completely (and has a strap to put over your hand, although I never really use that). It keeps the device secure in my hand, and is soft to the touch. It adds more bulk than many cases, but not that much weight.
So often when I've picked it up, I've thought how much more I like this design than others I've seen people using!
Sadly the edges of the fake ("PU") leather began fraying after only a few months use, and now the material is peeling apart, especially at the bottom edge and the corners. The blue material peels off in little bits with every use, with strands of thread unraveling beneath the coating. This surface material can be peeled back, exposing a white mesh-like fabric under a thin, colored top coat, pulling away from the cardboard or something that makes up the body of the product! Not sure what "PU Leather" is, but that is NOT what I'd expected!
The colored surface has also cracked along the creases and bend-points, showing the white substrate beneath the blue coating.
The product itself seems to be well made, and is in perfect condition otherwise, but this non-leather material is deteriorating at the edges and wear points, which looks ratty, and feels terrible when I touch those edges.
I lived with this for a long time, but as it got progressively worse, I finally realized it was time to replace this thing. Assuming this was a problem with all of the PU Leather products, I once again searched for a case that I liked, but kept returning to this design as my favorite. So I decided to contact Snugg to request a replacement with their "lifetime guarantee" (which figures prominently in the Amazon product title and on the Snugg website).
I was initially unable to reach them at all! Their customer service number gave me an error message so I could not speak with anyone. And their live chat seemed to think it is 9 hours later than actual time, so in the mid-morning on the West coast, it claimed it was after their business hours, (listed on their site as 8AM to 8PM EST) and no one was available! This was extremely frustrating, since I felt I was getting the run-around!
As it turns out when I tried again late at night, I was still unable to reach anyone on the phone (although it had changed from an automated error message to a lovely british fellow saying it was after hours) but I did finally get the online chat to work. That agent gave me an email address to send photos and description of the problem, along with my original Amazon order number. (I was directed to email to email@example.com) but wouldn't promise anything, indicating this didn't sound like a covered problem.
Indeed, the email communication said that "normal wear and tear" is NOT covered by their lifetime guarantee, which only covers manufacturing defects! This seems really strange to me, as the fact that the fake leather material delaminates with normal (gentle!) use does seem like a problem with their manufacturing/material choice! How is it a "lifetime" guarantee if it only covers problems encountered in the initial manufacturing process? What does "lifetime" even mean to them? They need to remove this inaccurate reference from their website and perhaps just offer a more-honest one year warranty (or 6 months might be more accurate, as the material didn't last a year!)
Luckily, while stressing that this is not covered by that guarantee, the agent was very nice and said "as a goodwill gesture" they would work with me on this, so I am very grateful to them.
However, I suggested they improve this material, as I can only imagine how this case would look if I was putting it into my handbag on a regular basis, rather than just using it at home!
I am going to try a new Snugg case, since I do love the design, but in a different color, hoping it will hold up better and won't be fraying again within the year.
I really wish they offered this product in a real-leather version, which would improve with age, rather than disintegrating! I actually thought the brown version was real leather, based on the description (it does not refer to the material as "PU Leather" whatever that really is), but I am sure if it was, it would be priced higher than the already expensive faux leather version.
I have been using the Snugg case on my iPad mini (w/ retina) for a few weeks now, and it is great! Some have complained that it doesn't fit as "snugly" as the types with a plastic snap-on bracket inside, but I haven't had any trouble at all. And a side benefit is knowing I can put it on and off without risking damage to the iPad! I've heard that some other manufacturers are selling "iPad mini" covers that actually are too tight on the slightly-thicker retina model. This one is clearly flexible enough for both sizes.
I like that it doesn't have a floppy clasp to hold it closed, but uses magnets, as the Apple smart covers do. (Although I generally don't rely on that to shut off the iPad, and usually put it to sleep before closing the cover, just to be sure).
I don't use the hand strap as much as I'd expected, but only because the soft surface of the Snugg makes it comfortable to hold. The cover folds back easily and cleanly, much like a paperback book cover.
I don't often use the cover as a stand.... I can see that it might not work quite as well as some other brands for that, since the single tab position isn't as versatile as the types with multiple slots to hold the bracket. So if you need that feature, be aware that this is more limited.
I didn't expect to need the stylus holder, but that comes in handy sometimes, so it an unexpected benefit.
I love the blue color, but my only disappointment is that it doesn't come in a cute, colorful patterned finish, rather than solid-color dyed artificial leather. I was originally attracted to this product by the colorful image in the photos on amazon. I was disappointed to realize that was just what they had put on the screen of the iPad, and not a choice of color for the Snugg case. If they put that bright cheerful pattern on one, I'd buy a second one in an instant!
I haven't had it long enough to speak to the longevity issues. Mine doesn't see a lot of heavy use, as it would for someone putting it in and out of a bag several times a day. I can see that the stitched layers could become troublesome if they caught on something regularly. But I'm hoping it'll hold up, and if not that they'll honor their lifetime guarantee!
I did find a few rough thread-ends inside the cover (not sure why they felt the need to sew in a little window for their logo, rather than just embossing it.....) Not sure if those could have scratched the screen, but I trimmed them off easily, and haven't had any trouble with that.
Overall, this cover does exactly what I bought it for, protecting my iPad, while also making it more comfortable to hold.