Bottom line: The OtterBox kids is a great addition to the Otterbox lineup. If you have an older iPad that your child uses more than you, this is a great way to keep it safer than normal.
Big handle is great for small kids
The blue filter glass works well
It isn't waterproof
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The OtterBox Kids iPad case has one simple job; stop my kid from breaking my iPad. That's it, that's all I ask. Has it managed to do that? So far, yes, everything is going according to plan. There is, of course, a little more nuance to the case than that; otherwise, there wouldn't be a need for a review, but at its core, it's a rugged case that does its job extremely well.
My co-conspirator in this review is my three-year-old daughter Emma, and between us, we have put the OtterBox kids through its paces. You will see muck and dirt on the photos in this review for that reason. I wanted to show what this case looks like when used, not the standard press shots you might see.
OtterBox Kids: Price and availability
As of the writing time, the OtterBox Kids is an exclusive at Target and costs $59.99 for the case, $39.99 for the Bluelight glass protector, and $39.99 for the Easy Grab cables. That's a total of $139.97 for the entire bundle that OtterBox sent me for review. The OtterBox Kids is also available at Otterbox.com, but there is no sign of it appearing anywhere else right now.
OtterBox Kids: What's good
Since the day I bought the 2020 version of the iPad, my daughter Emma has been in love with it. Having a device that she can interact with that allows her to use her little hands fills her with joy, and she loves to make pizza, stroke kitty cats, and watch her favorite shows on the big screen. She also likes to push it off the table, throw it like a frisbee, and generally beat the living microchips out of it. We had a cheap case on it before that was already starting to show signs of wear, so the Otterbox kids' arrival gave us some hope.
The case itself is made from three separate pieces — four if you count the rugged handle — two hard shells which clip around the iPad and a large rubber outer shell that acts as the bumper for the hard falls that happen all the time. The bundle Otterbox sent us included the Bluelight guard glass, and applying that was simple once we got rid of all the little particles on the screen. Because it is a glass protector, you don't have to worry about bubbles underneath it, as long as you install it correctly. The glass has a blue light filter that helps remove the stimulating spectrums of light. This has worked surprisingly well when it is time to take the iPad away at night. Emma isn't anywhere near as hyped up as she used to be.
With the glass protector and case on the iPad feels much more secure. The large soft-grip handle is easy for a three-year-old to carry, and the occasional bump as she swings it around is absorbed by the case with no problems. Having a good screen protector means that moment of panic you get when you see it laying face down is instantly replaced with the knowledge that the screen likely isn't damaged beyond repair.
Having a good case on a device that is worth hundreds of dollars is an investment that pays for itself over and over. The OtterBox Kids has given my wife and me a chance to breathe out even while our child plays with the iPad. Our only fear now is when Emma gets too close to the cups!
OtterBox Kids: What could be better
My only complaint — if it can even be called that — is that the OtterBox offers no real protection from water. While I don't expect my kid to take the iPad into the bath with her, I would have liked to see rubber caps for the headphone and power cable slots. This would have reduced the chance of her spilling her juice into the only two places that can cause any real damage. That hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure she is just biding her time, ready to strike.
OtterBox Kids: Competition
There is certainly no shortage of rugged iPad cases out there in the world today. We have managed to distill our favorites down into the best 10.2-inch iPad Kid-Friendly Cases, but the closest to the OtterBox Kids is probably the Fansong rugged case. It may not look as cool as some of the other cases; it is for grown-ups, after all, but it offers similar protection as the Otterbox. It even comes with a strap and a place for your Apple Pencil, something that the OtterBox is sorely missing.
OtterBox Kids: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You have an iPad used primarily for kids
- You use the iPad for traveling in the car
- You want extra shock protection
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't have a child
- You want water protection
If we are looking at just the OtterBox Kids iPad case, then this is a great choice for anyone who either lets their child use their iPad or has bought an iPad for the child to own. The case is tough, durable, and, coupled with the glass screen protector, provides enough all-around protection for any situation except submerging it in water.
I'm delighted with the OtterBox Kids case, and I can see it being a permanent fixture in our lives until Emma is old enough to treat things with care. The entire bundle is great, though; if you are looking to save some money, you can probably forego the cable bundle. I didn't really find any advantage to them. You really don't want to have your iPad plugged in when your child is using it anyway, and while they are of good quality, I don't think it's $40 worth of quality.
That being said, if you stick to the case itself and the Bluelight guard screen protector, the OtterBox Kids is an excellent investment to protect your iPad from your smallest humans.
James is a lover of all things new and shiny. From 3D printing to Nintendo he stays current with all the technology that will lead us into the future.