Tablets are ubiquitous, and we don’t even have to distinguish between iPad and Big Chief when we use the term. Thanks to the many boater- and angler-friendly apps available, tablets are squeezed on board between the life jackets and the sunscreen. Some boaters are forgoing even the most rudimentary navigation gear in their favor.
So after taking a peek at tablet apps last issue, we wanted to test some useful cases for keeping tablets safe and handy on board.
How We Tested
We scored our tablet cases on seven categories we thought most important to boaters. We chose tablet cases that we found useful on and off the water and set up tests to give the nod to those that worked best for boaters.
Does everything about the tablet work from inside the case? Are volume and touch screen responsive? Are the charge port and headphone port easily accessible? If it tested yes to all, the unit got a high score of 3.
Ease of Installation
We used a stopwatch to time the installation after practicing to get the installation process down for each case tested.
Some cases are known for reducing volume and clarity of sound. Those that did not muffle or distort sound scored a 3.
When the boat rocks and rolls, the tablet should not. We put our cased tablets on an 18-inch acrylic panel and tilted them until the tablet began to skid down the incline. Our low scorer slipped at a 4-inch incline. Our top scorer held its ground on a 17-inch ramp.
We weren’t into tossing iPads around so we took the manufacturer’s word for it, awarding a score of 3 if they tested to either IP or mil-spec or mil-std ratings. Nonrated claims for impact resistance received a 2. No impact protection received the minimum score of 1.
We’ve seen too many phone and tablet cases cause a halo or sun-glare effect on images. If clear, glare-free images were rendered through our cases, they scored a 3.
By golly, we were surprised that only one offered a waterproof case. It scored a 3 in the bonus category. One offered a Bluetooth keyboard on the clamshell lid, but it still scored 0 because the manufacturer offered no warranty.