By Stephen Regenold
As a company that sells shin guards and gel inserts for bike shoes, you'd think cases for Apple iPads would be a stretch. But new to the product line at G-Form LLC, a company based in Providence, R.I., are cases made for computers.
The link from shin guards and knee pads to cases for laptops and Apple iPads is found in G-Form's special impact-resistant foam, a spongy material that's flexible when you push it with a finger. But strike the G-Form material hard and it "freezes up," changing instantly to a protecting shell.
Drop your iPad in this case and the theory is that the G-Form material will shield it from the crash. The company (www.g-form.com) gives little information about the "secret sauce" that makes the foamy material change phases. It says the material "changes its molecular structure on impact."
In a quick test, you can see it work: Press the material in and it's flexible, a finger mark appearing as a depression in the foam. Hit it hard, however, and only a tiny depression forms, the material ostensibly hardening when introduced to power and speed. I tried this out and it worked.
G-Form touts that its gear absorbs 90 percent of the energy from high-speed impact and turns into "shock-absorbing armor." For knee pads and shin guards, the pliable nature of the material is nice. It does not inhibit movement. But in a crash, the pads harden up to protect.
For a laptop case, the pliability of the material at rest is less of a need. But the cases, which come for various laptop sizes as well as for the iPad, are light weight (less than a pound), water resistant, and not as cumbersome in a backpack as a comparable hard-side case would be.
The G-Form Extreme Sleeve product for laptops comes in yellow or black. Both have a funky grid pattern with the magic G-Form foam and a zipper to close them up. Prices start at $69.95. The iPad case, called the iPad Extreme Sleeve, costs $59.95.
Though the company touts "extreme protection" with the case line, there are no guarantees about your goods inside. Says the company literature, "we can’t guarantee your electronics from damage from any specific drop or impact."
In other words, use the cases as added protection, but still take care. The G-Form sleeves are a backup. Common sense and careful handling remain the No. 1 way to keep your pricey equipment safe.
--Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.