The iPad weighs just enough and is just slick enough that if you are walking around carrying it, or just sitting down and reading on it, there is a real danger of it slipping out of your hand. Thus, I am always interested in devices that make the iPad more secure in your hand. I recently reviewed a product called FreeOneHand that adds a nub to the back of your iPad to make it easier to hold, and I consider that product to be a good solution to the problem. Kensington recently sent me a free review unit of a new product called the BlackBelt. This product, which sells for $39.99 from Kensington (or only $32.00 on Amazon), is sort of like an Apple iPhone Bumper for the iPad, and I thought that it might be another good solution to the problem of an iPad slipping out of your hands.
The BlackBelt is simply a thick silicone rubber rectangle that fits around the iPad. Unlike the Apple iPhone Bumper which is reinforced with plastic and thus is fairly sturdy, this is completely flexible. Placing it around an iPad is extremely easy.
There are holes cut on the sides for the iPhone buttons, except that for the power button at the top of the iPad, there is instead just a rubber button that allows you to easily press the iPad button through the rubber.
The Kensington website says that the "Kensington BlackBelt™ protects the edges and cushions your iPad while offering a secure grip for handling in any iPad orientation." It certainly does provide some cushion to the edge of the iPad, so I suppose if you hit the edge of an iPad with the BlackBelt on it, there would be added protection. But if you drop an iPad, I doubt that this product would provide very much protection with the entire screen and back exposed.
What I really expected was for this product to provide a "secure grip for handling" the iPad. It does to some extent, but not as much as I had hoped. The rubber on the BlackBelt is actually somewhat slippery — less so than a naked iPad, but still slippery enough that it is still fairly easy for an iPad wearing the BlackBelt to slip out of my hand.
I'm usually a big fan of Kensington products. I love the Kensginton AssistOne in my car just as much today as I did when I reviewed it several months ago. And the PowerLift battery / stand that I recently reviewed is a useful gadget. The BlackBelt does make it somewhat more pleasent to hold an iPad in your hands because it is soft and it has some give, so I'm sure that some people will like this product. But because it is more slippery than I had hoped, I wouldn't feel comfortable relying on this device while I walk around a courtroom holding an iPad, and thus I cannot recommend the BlackBelt.
Click here to get the Kensginton BlackBelt from Amazon ($32.00).