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Marware, one of the leading accessory makers for Apple’s mobile devices, has sent us two of their latest iPad mini cases for review. Both cases are unique in their own right, but both are built with versatility and quality materials. Check our reviews of both the Marware Axis and Marware MicroShell Folio cases for the iPad mini below.

Marware Axis:

Design/build quality:

The Axis (pictured above) is a high-quality, genuine leather case for the iPad mini. The case features folio-style construction so you have to flip the leather cover in order to access the iPad mini’s display. The iPad mini sits in a hard, plastic-like-material-shell. This shell snaps into the leather exterior body of the Axis case. The case’s materials are of very high-quality and this case feels like it can work well for a long time. The case has a luxurious feel to it that many iPad mini owners will surely appreciate. While we tested the black unit (which looks fantastic), Marware also ships in tan, blue, purple, and red models.

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Ports: The Axis provides cutouts for all of the iPad mini’s critical ports. With the case flap closed, the rear camera, Lightning connectors, speakers, volume/mute controls, and sleep wake button are all available for clicking. Of course, with the lid shut, the display, home button, and FaceTime camera are not accessible.

Protection: With its high-quality leather exterior, the Axis provides solid protection for the iPad mini. Coupled with the hard plastic internal membrane that actually tightly holds the iPad mini in place, your iPad mini will be getting solid protection from damage due to nicks and drops. This case is not as heavy-duty or as strong as something like the Otterbox Defender Series case, but it will likely get the job done for many people. For added protection, the case includes a strapping mechanism to keep the folio lid covering the iPad mini’s screen shut. This will come in handy if your drop your iPad mini while it is in the Axis and you do not want the display cover falling open.

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Features: Besides being a case for the iPad mini, the Axis includes a neat feature that allows users to prop up the iPad mini in portrait mode. While most people like watching video and using apps in landscape mode, the portrait position, I have found, is great for typing with an external keyboard accessory. The Axis includes a mechanism to rotate the iPad mini while still inside the case. The iPad mini can than be clipped into a secure portrait position. This feature, I have found, is handy. Another great feature is a strap to hold your hand in while holding the iPad mini (in the Axis) with one hand. This strap works well and, I believe, alone is a worthwhile reason to pick up the Axis iPad mini case. It truly makes the iPad mini even more usable.

Wrap-up/pricing: Marware’s iPad mini Axis case is a well-contructed, seemingly long-lasting, leather protective accessory. I found that it works well, offers solid protection, and has an air of luxury. Combined with its unique features, this is a great iPad mini case. The Axis comes in at just under $45, but is heavily discounted at Amazon right now. 

Hands-on gallery:

Marware MicroShell Folio:

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Design/build quality: The MicroShell Folio feels like an iPad mini version of Apple’s Smart Case for the full-sized iPad. It has a front flip cover that is made out of a light, yet seemingly protective and well-contructed material. The back piece of the case is made out of a rubbery, hard-plastic-like material. The case is built to be folio style, so you can easily flip the cover to use your iPad mini. The front flap is well-attached to the case’s back piece, so it should last a long-time.

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Ports: The MicroShell Folio provides the same port access as the Axis case reviewed above: Lightning connector, speakers, sleep/wake button, volume/mute ports, and the rear camera.

Protection: Because of its lighter design, the MicroShell feels slightly less protective than the Axis case. However, it still offers decent/solid protection for your iPad mini. It includes the same strap as the Axis to ensure that the front flap stays secure, and the rear plastic shell will work to protect most of the rear iPad mini casing from damage. As with the Axis, this case is not a substitute for some of the other heavy duty options on the market. Seriously think of this case as a smaller version of Apple’s Smart Case (Apple only offers this case for the iPad with the 9.7-inch screen).

Features:

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The MicroShell’s front flap has the ability to flap backwards and sit in a special slit to hold the iPad mini in ideal video watching position. I was pleasantly surprised to find how secure and sturdy this positioning mechanism is because of how light the case’s overall construction is.

Wrap-up/pricing: We recommend the Marware MicroShell Folio for anyone who wants to bring a Smart Case like experience to their iPad mini. The MicroShell typically costs just under $35, but we have located some great deals on this case at Amazon. The MicroShell comes in black (which we tested), purple, and blue.

Hands-on gallery: