Hands-On: Brenthaven 5-in-1 iPad Protection System is Versatile but Flawed

Brenthaven's 5-in-1 iPad Protection System has quite a name to live up to. It's definitely versatile and looks professional (once assembled) . However, not all five functions live up to expectations, and for $59.95 we expect a bit more.

The somewhat-bulky case is available in two basic colors: Matte Black and Metallic Bronze.  It feels sturdy and durable, and it securely locked the iPad in place, once we got it together. To assemble it we watched the video (see after the jump), and read the directions. But after that, you can shake it, toss it,  or turn it and your iPad is not going to fall out. It was so snug, in fact, that it took about 10 minutes of pulling and pushing, and breaking finger nails, to get Protection System off.  For more of our hands-on, read after the break.

The selling point of the 5-in-1 comes from the case's many uses. First, the case serves as protection against scatches and bumps.  Second, the cover slides onto the back, which sports the Brenthaven EZ-Grip handle. However, the  iPad screen side is still somewhat exposed because of the opening in the cover.  So, don't count on waterproofing or dirt protection. And really, shouldn't uses one and two count as one?

Despite the cover's flaws, the small opening in the cover of the case allows it to become a horizontal viewing stand (use number three).  This function is easy to set up, and the iPad sits firmly. It's an ideal movie or TV viewing  set up for any flat surface like your desk. Note, the iPad may tip over if the case is placed on an uneven surface.

Flip the viewing setup over and the case becomes a typing pad for using the iPad's on-screen keyboard (use number four). After testing this function, we can say with certainty that this setup is not as practical as it looks in the picture.

The iPad slipped and inched out when very little pressure was applied to type on the touchscreen keyboard. After tinkering with it for a bit,  flipping the cover the other way (opposite of what's shown in the picture) helped, and the device sat more securely. Yet, in that configuration the curve of the cover and the slanted angle hides what you're typing.

The best function of the case is the strap attachment that enables you to hang it over a car headrest, making the 5-in-1 a simple and innovative car entertainment system on-the-go. The straps can be adjusted to make the iPad screen higher or lower as the case performs its fifth and final function. The straps are durable and secure with Velcro straps.

The Brenthaven 5-in-1 iPad Protection System mostly works as advertised. It has a solid construction, and we like that Brenthaven donates money to environmentally causes to offset any carbon emissions of production. Plus, like all Brenthaven products, the iPad Protection System comes with a lifetime warranty. However, typing on the iPad when using this case proved more of a challenge than we hoped, and the fit is a bit too snug.

Not sure whether this case is for you? Check out the product video here.