Developer: Hammerhead
Price: $39.99
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPad 2

Usability Rating: ★★★½☆
Protection Rating: ★★★★½
Hardware Design Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Update: This review was published on April 27th. As of May 27th, the hinge on the cover has indeed broken. An iPad case company claiming to provide the kind of protection that Hammerhead does should surely last more than a month with light use. I’ve changed the scores above to reflect this.

The Hammerhead Capo case is a solid, good looking basic case for $40. It comes in black, blue, white, red or orange leather-grained polyurethane. It covers the whole iPad, with molded open areas for the dock port, headphone jack, rear camera, and volume buttons.

The top, folio-style cover is hinged to the back area, and features a hinged fold in the middle. The top cover meets the iPad glass with a soft, fuzzy material to protect from scratches, and auto locks and wakes the iPad on closing or opening the top flap.

The flap folds behind the iPad in a triangle shape with a little clip that seats within a spot on the back for three not-too-different landscape viewing angles. The clip also keeps the case closed, but did not actually snap into place in the back of the case, so did not feel as solid or stable as I’d prefer.

The Capo case also allows for a typing mode, Smart Cover-style, that uses the hinge as the stopping point for the case and iPad. This may not be tenable in the long run, as the hinge is only made of plastic, but it worked well and felt fairly solid in our testing.

The iPad 2 fits into this case extremely well, which makes sense as it was engineered for that devices specific dimensions. The new iPad fits almost as well, to the point that it’s perfectly usable for Apple’s newer tablet. The Capo case kept both iPads safe and snug in a variety of bags, as well. It feels good in the hand, too, with much less bulk than similarly protective cases I’ve used. The Capo case adds very little weight, and the faux-leather grain provides a nice “grippy” texture, making this a wonderful case for the minimalist iPad user.

The bottom line here is that the Capo case by Hammerhead is a solid-feeling protective case for an attractive price point. The new iPad and the iPad 2 I tested it with both felt secure and well-protected, and the case is my current favorite full-protection, non-keyboard case for my new iPad.