The STM Dux is a deceptively rugged case that can protect your iPad Air from drop damage as well as daily wear and tear. The case is slim given the level of protection it provides and it has a clear plastic back cover that's convenient to show barcode IDs, picture IDs and personal photos. The STM Dux comes in three colors: red, black and blue.
The STM Dux for iPad Air comes in a portfolio style. The tablet holder is made with strong polycarbonate back that's quite thick and very rigid, and rubberized TPU bracket that covers the sides of the iPad Air as well as the edges of the front bezel. The TPU bracket has thick rubber padding in the corners to provide better structural support for the tablet, and the material is stiffer and stronger than soft rubber or gel material and will hold its shape longer as well. The stiff rubber sides give the case some flexibility for easy installation, but it does take some force to pull the tablet out of the case. Another effect the stiff bracket has on the tablet is the strong seal for the front bezel - it doesn't leave much room for screen protectors. In fact, we tested two different screen protectors, one was a thin film and the other thicker, we couldn't use either with the STM Dux.
The STM Dux for iPad Air has a durable polyurethane cover that's water resistant. The front cover wraps around the tablet and shuts with a magnetic tab on the back. The cover has seriously stiff inserts that protect the tablet screen from bumps, pokes and nicks in your bag or backpack. Super fine microsuede material lines the interior of the cover. The cover comes in three solid colors including red, black and blue. The case is quite slim and weighs 10.8 ounces.
The STM Dux for iPad Air case has been tested to meet or exceed DoD's 810F/G standard drop tests, which means the tablet has to survive 6.6" drops on concrete. The thick rubber corners absorb the shock force while the thick hard plastic shell and the stiff inserts on the front cover keep the tablet from shattering on impact. The STM Dux is also a very functional case thanks to the well-placed cutouts. The Dux protects the power button and the volume buttons under its rubber covers. While it's very easy to use the volume buttons, the power button feels stiff to use. It does help prevent accidental presses on the power button, but it can also be a bit difficult to use as it doesn't provide any tactile feedback under the rubber protection. The case offers a deep cutout for the 3.5mm audio jack, and as long as the headphone's audio plug is slim, you should have no problem using it with the tablet in the case. The cutouts for the rear camera and the side screen lock button are generous and the cutouts on the bottom of the tablet for the Lightning port and speakers have a convenient angle on thinner material (than the corners) in case you need to plug the tablet into a docking station or a speaker.
The front cover on the Dux functions as a stand. You can fold it back and position your tablet in two viewing angles, one for media viewing and web surfing and the other for typing with on-screen keyboard. There are two small notches on the back of the case that work with the front cover to steady the stand. The cover also supports iPad Air's auto wake/sleep feature.
The STM Dux is a case designed for those who are prone to drop their tablets or bump them in their daily use. The case passes 810F/G tests yet it's relatively slim. We like the clear back that makes it easy for IDs, barcode tags and more; and the built-in stand works well. The case is sturdy and well made, and it's reasonably easy to install and de-install. It's likely that you won't be able to use any screen protector while your iPad Air is in this case.
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4 What's Hot: Semi-rugged case in a slim body, has a built-in stand and a clear back. What's Not: Doesn't work with any screen protector. Price: $49.99 Web site:STM