The original iPad weighed 1.5 lb (680g). It didn’t come with a Smart Case or Cover, and if you wanted protection, you usually had to add something pretty bulky. The whole thing usually ended up weighing twice as much as a modern MacBook Air. But why dwell on the past?
The newest iPad Air weighs only 1 lb (470g), and you can find some pretty amazing cases that won’t encumber your lightweight tablet while still offering some protection.
The VersaCover is somewhat similar to Apple’s Smart Case, but it takes the concept one step further.
This case is a combination of polycarbonate back with microfiber cover. The cover can be folded into different shapes to achieve three viewing angels: landscape, portrait and typing. When closed, it protects the screen from bumps and scratches, and supports the iPad’s magnetic auto-awake and sleep functions.
Best of all, if you enjoy origami, this case can give you a small taste of it every day!
Weight: 5.5 ounces (156g)
Poetic Slimline Case ($19.95)
The Poetic Slimline case is similar in concept to Apple’s own Smart Case, but at $13 from Amazon, it’s a much more affordable choice. Similar to the Smart Case, the Poetic Slimline goes for a leather-like feel with a microfiber lining that should get rid of extra dust. The cover folds up to form a sort of stand for the iPad, and comes in 8 different colors. It also supports magnetic auto-wake and sleep, just like the Smart Case.
All in all, you’re getting something that’s very similar to Apple’s own case, but for less than a quarter of the price.
Weight: We couldn’t find an exact weight, but the entire shipping weight from Amazon is 6.4 ounces (180g), so the case itself should weigh less than that.
Lioncase Folio Shield ($31.95)
Lioncase is notable for its lightweight cases, and the Folio Shield for the iPad Air is no different. As most lightweight covers, the Folio Shield works on the same concept as the Smart Case, but takes it one step further. Not only does it turn into a stand for your iPad Air, it also supports four different viewing angles. The way the case is designed, your iPad is standing on a pretty sturdy base which means you can also prop it on uneven surfaces.
The Lioncase Folio Shield is made of fake leather and is available in five different colors. Unfortunately, it’s currently not available from Amazon.
Weight: 7-8 ounces (~200g)
BoxWave Light Shell Cases ($16-23)
If you’re worried about protecting the back of your iPad, the BoxWave Blackout case is a great way to add protection without adding extra weight. The Blackout is a soft plastic shell that protects your iPad from scratches and bumps while keeping the buttons and ports easy to access and use.
If you want to go even lighter, or try different colors, BoxWave also offers the Minimus case (available on the same Amazon page). BoxWave’s Smart Back Cover is yet another similar product, but this one also supports Apple’s Smart Cover and can be used alongside it for extra protection.
No matter which one you go for, you’re going to add a minimal amount of weight to your iPad Air while gaining a fair amount of protection.
Weight: Blackout – 3.4 ounces (96g), Minimus – 2.7 ounces (77g), Smart Back Cover – 2.6 ounces (74g).
This is the heaviest case you’ll find on this list, but it’s perfect for those who can’t do without a keyboard. Most keyboard cases will weigh you down by more than 1 extra lb (470g), which will double the weight you have to carry around. At 11.6 ounces (330g), the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard cover is one of the lightest ways to add a fully-fledged keyboard to your iPad Air.
The Ultrathin Keyboard Cover attaches by magnet to your iPad, and acts as both cover and keyboard. It supports auto-wake and sleep when you open and close it, and according to reviews around the Web, it’s also an excellent and tactile keyboard which makes working on the iPad easier. So yes, it will add some weight, but if you’re looking for a good keyboard, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Weight: 11.6 ounces (330g)
Apple Smart Case ($79)
When looking at lightweight cases, we can’t ignore the Apple Smart Case. While it is pricey, this case only weighs around 5 ounces (140g), which makes it one of the lightest cases you can get. The Smart Case is made of a leather-like material, and comes in six different colors. It supports two different viewing angles (stand and typing), and, of course, the magnetic auto-wake and sleep feature.
This case could have been the best choice of all, had it not been for its steep price tag.
Weight: 5.1 ounces (145g)
Wait, There’s More!
Before you can buy an iPad Air case, you first need to own an iPad Air. If you’re not sure whether it’s the right product for you, look over our iPad Air vs. iPad Mini comparison. In fact, if you’re really up for it, you can even put both of these iPads to good use alongside each other.
If you own an older model, don’t fret. Here are some more affordable iPad cases you can choose from.
Most importantly, we’d like to hear your experiences with lighweight iPad Air cases. Is something sorely missing from the list? Did you find a really good case you want to tell us about? Hit the comments below and let us know.