The president of Mach3 composites has generously sent their carbon fiber iPad case for review. I made notes of my immediate first impressions and will also mix in some thoughts/opinions of my peers. Here we go:
The case has a very slick look - very much like the iPad itself. In fact, I'd say it's one of the few cases on the market that suits the iPad's style / look / feel. Simply put, the case has a professional look and a quality build.
One of the first things I thought is that it reminded me of a brief case (a little one) and that it needed a handle. A friend disagreed saying it would take away from the sleek design. This also seems to be the take Mach 3 Composites has on it. It's definitely built to be unobtrusive; having nothing more than necessary to protect the iPad and will slide easily into a backpack.
The logo is elegantly designed and placed on the leading edge of the case. It's a perfect fit and doesn't stick out to where you feel like your a walking advertisement.
The logo can also be changed/customized if wanted and is applied before the clear coat so it won't rub off.
Most iPad cases on the market are made of fabric or leather bound and the only other carbon fiber case i’ve seen snaps onto the back and leaves the screen exposed. The Mach 3 Carbon fiber case will provide durable and surrounding hard-shell protection; it's primary advantage point.
The case has what looks like a clear epoxy finish and you can see the carbon weave easily through it. The finish reminds me of a car. Shiny! It scratches pretty easily but continues to look sharp. You can use car wax for scratch protection. The inside of the case is ribbed for extra strength and you can feel the ribs through the foam. The padding is made from ultra soft high density foam. I thought the padding was a little on the thin side because I could feel the ribs pretty easy, but still, it was sufficient to hold the iPad in place (for the most part). I could get it to move around a little inside by shaking it so I measured what seemed to be the gap, which was about 4/16 inch or 2/16" between sides (see photo box). I was informed that for latest version of cases, the foam thickness has been increased for extra shock absorbency's and that the foam provides a form fit now. Great!
The case is light weight (1.2 lbs) and not much more noticeable in weight then the iPad alone.
An important factor in a good a case is a good locking mechanism. The case has clasps which are solid metal with a powdered coated finish; more durable than paint. There is a steal ball like one you’d fine in a ball bearing which serves as the point of contact for locking.
The claps are designed to be easily removed and replaced although it’s unlikely you’ll have problems with them. I had been in the loop about a fix for a previous version of claps which had become a little misshapen. I was impressed when I got a video clip from the president who was enthused to show me the latest rendition and that the clasps had been completely redeveloped. Here’s that clip which shows the locking action:
A point of interest is that the case is not water resistant. It's not designed for it but the black seals looked pretty tight so we decided to spray a hose on it and then dunk it in water to simulate rain; more like a tropical storm We found it leaked mainly from one side. It would probably survive the weather unless you turned it on it side to let the water in and you might not want to go surfing with it There was no noticeable water damage after it dried. Here’s a quick vid, shot with an iphone4:
That's about it for the case. Mach 3 composites really did great job! All cases are have a lifetime warranty and free replacement parts should anything go wrong. For more info go to http://www.mach3composites.com/