The iPad Mini is one of the hottest tablets on the market, but if you own one, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is buy a case. The aluminum design on the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Mini 2 (Retina), looks great, but it’s slippery and fragile. The iPad Mini 3 brought the addition of Touch ID, and updated internal hardware, but otherwise it’s identical to its predecessor. Both are a smidgen thicker than the original at 0.29 inches (7.5mm) compared to 0.28 inches (7.2mm).
Updated on 11-18-2015 by Simon Hill: Removed discontinued cases and added cases by Brydge, Nodus, and Zagg.
Nodus Access Case ($136)
This is our favorite minimalist folio case for the iPad Mini 1, 2, or 3 (there’s a new version for the 4). It’s made from quality Italian leather, neatly stitched, and opens up to reveal a silky soft microfiber lining and a handy storage pocket. Instead of a cradle to snap your iPad Mini into, there’s an adhesive pad that holds it securely in place. Another smaller pad holds the folio closed. It’s an understated case, finished in black, brown, or yellow leather and free of any logo on the outside. It’s satisfyingly slim, seriously stylish, and the pocket also allows you to prop the tablet up in landscape view. It won’t really deliver on drop protection, and it is expensive, but the quality shines through.
BrydgeMini Keyboard ($130)
If you are primarily seeking a keyboard for your iPad Mini, then Brydge has got you well and truly covered. The BrydgeMini is a gorgeous aluminum keyboard that feels an awful lot like the MacBook keyboard. The island keys are well-spaced with good travel, and the keyboard is backlit. There’s no cradle, just a couple of cushioned clamping arms that you slide your iPad Mini into. The hinge rotates a full 180 degrees, so you can set the angle you want. It works with Bluetooth 3.0, and there’s a Micro USB port to recharge, but you should get three months of use before you have to juice up. It’s pretty heavy, at 300g, but it’s as close as you’ll get to a miniature MacBook, and it’s easily the best Bluetooth keyboard we’ve ever used for the iPad Mini.
Zagg Rugged Book Case ($130)
This Zagg case has a clever design that combines a really rugged case, for solid drop protection, with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard. The keys are fairly well-spaced, backlit in customizable colors, and the keyboard’s battery is designed to last for up to two years between charges. There’s a solid, stiff hinge that enables you to prop the iPad Mini at the usual laptop angles, but you can also pull the shell case out of the hinge and insert it the other way round. The shell case itself is textured for added grip and made from a combination of protective materials to ensure your tablet survives falls and bumps. It is a bit bulky, but functionally this case ticks a lot of boxes.
Mujjo iPad Mini Sleeve ($45)
Here’s a fashionable blend of thick wool felt with high quality leather. It’s easy to slide your iPad Mini in and out of this hand-crafted sleeve. A leather strap is held in place with rivets and it provides secure closure. It’s a simple combination of high quality materials and environmentally friendly design. It will fit both models of iPad Mini and there’s room for accessories or documents alongside your tablet.
If you want something protective and practical for your iPad Mini 3 then look no further. UAG’s cases are tough with an outer armor shell and an inner core that absorbs shock, but they’re a lot lighter than they look. There are handy pads to stop the tablet sliding when it placed on its back and the raised lip does the same at the front. You’ll find over-sized button covers to make things easy and precise openings that won’t interfere with operation. The eye catching vent design is easy to customize.