Review: SwitchEasy Vulcan for iPad

by on February 22, 2011

To use a case or not to use a case? This question seems to come up for iPad users more often than iPhone or iPod users mostly because the iPad’s size. Many cases add some bulk and some people argue that they “take away from the experience.” What if you want to protect your iPad, while still maintaining its thin, lightweight design? SwitchEasy’s $30 Vulcan hopes to satisfy both of these criteria for many iPad users.

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Sometimes a case doesn’t need a revolutionary new design, or extra gimmicks to be good. The SwitchEasy Vulcan is a very basic (TPU) thermoplastic polyurethane case (SwitchEasy calls it “adaptive dynamic soft polymer”), much like many iPhone cases and even SwitchEasy’s own Reptile case. This means that it’s flexible enough to “give” a bit, protecting against bumps, but also hard enough to retain its shape and not collect lint. The case is available in both black and clear and features a mix of completely clear and frosted areas, creating an X across the back with the Apple logo at its center.

The case takes just a bit of work to fit on the iPad, due to its stiff nature. Once on, it’s equally challenging to remove, so for those who change their cases daily, the Vulcan may not be the best choice. That being said, it certainly is not difficult enough to be concerning. The only other negative about the case is that it seems to be picky about the compatible Dock Connector cables that can be used with it. In a move similar to Apple’s original iPhone Bumper, the Vulcan only works with the newer, thinner Dock Connector cables. To us, this is a bigger concern than the removal of the case.

As with other SwitchEasy cases, the Vulcan includes quite a few little “extras” to help protect an iPad. Included in the package are two fold-out stands, a screen protector, microfiber cloth, squeegee for installing the screen protector, two headphone jack protectors, and two Dock Connector protectors. While the fold out stands are pretty basic, they do serve their purpose. Unfortunately, they are not adjustable, but fold completely flat. The screen protector is also nothing special, but installs fairly easily and does not serve as a distraction (although it will get fingerprints and has that “rainbow effect”, both noticeable when the iPad is off). Finally, the port protectors are a handy addition, especially if you rarely use your iPad’s headphone jack or want to keep the Dock Connector clean. All of these items are nice additions, especially if you otherwise would not pay for them.

As far as comparisons go, the Vulcan is most closely related to the company’s own Reptile case, although both serve different purposes. The Reptile sells for $10 more and features a two-part, styled design, while the Vulcan’s purpose is to protect while showing off the iPad’s industrial design. If you want something minimal, protective, and can live with the Dock Connector, the Vulcan is priced well and is just a good all-around performer.

The One-Sentence Verdictâ„¢

The SwitchEasy Vulcan is a reasonably-priced case that shows off your iPad without being obnoxious.

Pros: Minimalist design, nice accessories

Cons: Incompatible with many Dock Connector cables

Rating: 8/10

The Facts

Product: Vulcan
Company: SwitchEasy
Platform: iPad (1)
Price: $29.99

This post has been filed in iPad, Mobile Devices, Reviews