Oh boy, this is ColorWare's first ever standalone product and it's made for the Apple iPad crafter from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminum with a CNC machine. ColorWare is known for their custom coloring service they offer for every popular gadget you could possibly think of. The Grip for the iPad is one unique looking contraption that is set to do one thing and one thing only, add a handle to your iPad. We have a lot more to show you in the full review right after the break!
ColorWare is known for their custom paint jobs and quality of service but I had yet to test the quality for myself. The Grip for obvious reasons is custom painted by ColorWare and I can tell you that it's a very high quality paint finish. Exactly like the paint that is used to color a car. ColorWare offers you a glossy finish (what we have here for this review), a matte finish with a soft-touch coating and last but not least, a metallic finish. You can customize the Grip to your liking by choosing up to two colors.
Installation is pretty straight forward and takes a few minutes to screw in the total of four hex screws with the supplied big hex tool that makes the job the job easier to handle. The Grip's aluminum frame take advantage of the iPad's aluminum bezel to secure it and act just like a frame does. You can see that the Grip is constructed in a way that the cutout for all the iPad's buttons and ports are halfway cut because of the Grip's very minimal footprint. If you're familiar with back snap-on cases for the iPhone, you may know that they also have less of a protective cover. This makes for an easy reach to all your iPad's ports and buttons.
The Grip for the iPad is in no way a case but only a frame handle. The only part of your iPad that is somewhat protected is the aluminum bezel. That is all. The Grip offers absolutely no lay-on-the-table edge on the front side nor on the back side of the iPad. The Grip's sol purpose is to add a handle to the iPad in style. But does that justify the premium price tag of $300? I think not. Although ColorWare did just recently decreased the price tag down to $250 which is still way too high for what the Grip has to offer. You can live holding your iPad with your hand and not by an overpriced handle right? If not then the Grip is the perfect thing for you without a doubt. It's very comfortable to carry around by holding onto the Grip's handle and it doesn't add much weight to the iPad since it is made out of solid aluminum.
You will probably get some weird looks going around with your iPad using the Grip but it looks cool enough that you might just get away with it while still looking like the cool hip kid. But then again, $250? Really?
When you're paying top dollar for an iPad accessory such as this, you should at least get yourself a back skin to minimize the scratching that would definitely show up on the iPad's aluminum back since the Grip offers no such protection. I slapped on a Lucky Labs Teksure carbon fiber skin on my iPad and it looks pretty awesome with the ColorWare Grip.
Using the iPad with the Grip on is a pain in the neck. When you're not going around and carrying your iPad using the very useful and comfortable handle, that handle gets in the way when you're just trying to relax and enjoy using your iPad. It's like a big metal bulge sticking out from the side. Even when you try to slip your hand inside it's not comfortable to hold while using the iPad. The Grip is pretty much only good for carrying your iPad with you to places, that's all. The quality and build are top notch but that still does not justify the $250 price tag. I would love to see ColorWare reducing the price more or creating a similar frame for the iPad and iPhone 4 without a handle because I really think ColorWare can have a really great product but first, it's back to the drawing board with this one. Price $250.