Otterbox Latch Utility Series Protective iPad Case
Hang your iPad around your neck, hook it to a fence or to a headrest
Otterbox cases are hands down the best way to protect an iPad. Adding a little weight and bulk to the sleek iPad is acceptable when protection is the number one concern. Face it, if you own an iPad you do not want to leave it behind. However, if you are hiking, traveling, working outside or even sharing it with your kids – your iPad could be in danger of being broken. Otterbox offers the Defender Series iPad Cases for heavy duty protection and the Commuter Series iPad cases that provides a high level of protection while being a bit lighter weight and without quite as much bulk. If you are one of those iPad owners that want or need to carry it with you – Otterbox now offers a versatile accessory that works with their iPad cases or without them. The Latch (Utility Series) is a unique gadget that takes iPad accessibility to a higher level.
I originally saw the Latch for the first time at CES 2011. It was that Ah-Ha moment for me because I had been searching for a way to carry my iPad while walking the aisles. There were so many times that I wanted to take notes without digging my iPad out of my bag. It just was not worth the time and effort. Keeping track of a notebook and a pen was not much better. Instead I took notes on the back of business cards and on my iPhone. Unfortunately I made it home without a few of my best contact’s information.
The Latch is not really a pouch, bag or case although it is somewhat a combination of all three. It is easy to install and it allows you to hold your iPad with one hand securely and comfortably. It facilitates hanging you iPad around your neck from an included specially designed lanyard. The included wide elastic strap secures your iPad to your thigh which keeps it accessible when your hands are otherwise engaged. The same wide elastic strap secures the iPad to the headrest of a vehicle to keep those in the backseat occupied with movies or games. A large easy-to-work carabineer clip provides a completely different way to use your iPad – especially of you are outdie. It allows the iPad to be clipped to a fence or from a door handle on a vehicle. Clip your iPad to a backpack or bag while taking a break from the trail or while reading an e-book before turning in for the night. The Latch is perfect for Pilots that use iPads in the cockpit.
The Latch is basically a firm flat black and yellow disk that fits snug up against the back of the iPad. The soft rubbery backside of the Latch touches the backside of the iPad. The front of the Latch is constructed from a strong durable denier fabric. An adjustable handle is sewn to the Latch and has a removable Velcro cover that offers a comfortable and secure one-handed grip. This is great for using the iPad when there is no suitable surface to lean it against. Underneath the handle there is an area (open on both ends) that is used to slip the previously mentioned elastic strap through or it would also work well to clip a stylus into. Wide (3/4 inch) elastic loops (approximately 2 inches doubled) are sewn onto each corner of the Latch. In addition there are small sturdy plastic attachment tabs (approximately ½ inch) sewn at the top of each elastic loop. These attachment tabs are used to attach the neck lanyard, the carabineer clip and the pouch that doubles as a storage pouch and as an iPad stand.
The Otterbox iPad Latch fits onto the iPad by placing elastic loops around each corner leaving the iPad’s Touchscreen uncovered. Once installed the Latch offers multiple ways to use an iPad.
The neck lanyard attaches to the Latch via 2 small carabineer clips (one at each end). As you walk around or stand, the iPad will hang down in front of your body or to one side or the other. The lanyard is long enough to hold the iPad when needed at a level comfortable to you. This iPad feature resembles the features offered on the Connect-A-Desk for laptops.
The wide elastic strap slips through the space underneath the Latch’s handle and adjust to the way you wish to use it. Whether sitting in a chair, on a log or while kneeling on one knee the strap fits around your thigh to secure your iPad so it can be used hands-free. It can also be strapped around the headrest in a vehicle to provide an easy viewing experience for those in the backseat.
In case you get caught in a sudden rain storm or if you just want to add some protection from scratches – Otterbox includes a “shower cap” type cover for your iPad. It can also be stored inside the Latch’s pouch.
The included Latch Pouch clips onto the Latch via two of the small carabineer clips located at two corners. The pouch serves as a place to store the lanyard, the elastic strap and the large carabineer clip and can remain clipped to the Latch at the same time as the neck lanyard. It also doubles as an iPad stand that is perfectly located and sized to provide a viewing angle just right for typing.
I believe that if you are someone that needs constant access to your iPad while at work or elsewhere, the Latch may be just what you have been looking for. Sure, you have to be careful that the iPad does not swing into damaging objects but that is little to ask for the added convenience. If you see someone at a future CES with an iPad hanging around their neck – chances are it will be me. Come up to me – say hi – and tell me that you read this review!