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iPad cases – when iDevices are used for AAC – a review of the GoNow Sleek

 

Some posts remain a work in progress for a long time. This one however has set new records and for that I apologize, both to readers who have been waiting for it and to Attainment Company, who kindly gave me a GoNow Sleek case to review. I had the post ready to go in October but I was unhappy with the video so I have re-done it. (Note to self – buy a tripod with any money you get for Christmas).

This is a detailed review of the case we have used on Owen’s iPad for several months, a giveaway for a case thanks to the generosity of the folks at Attainment Company and I’ve also listed some other options out there for the convenience of those who are currently case shopping. All prices listed are in USD.

Summary – is the GoNow Sleek worth buying?

Definitely. It provides fantastic drop protection, a boost in sound volume and portability at an extremely reasonable price. With a couple more features I think this case would be perfect.

What do you need to know about the GoNow Sleek?

  • It’s compatible with 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation iPads
  • Unlike most other iPad cases that you might consider buying for children, this case doesn’t have a rubbery, squishy feel. It’s made from hard plastic, the sort of material used in making helmets.
  • The case comes in two pieces, the iPad is cushioned within them by a soft plastic interior and then the two pieces of the case are screwed together. This combination prevents the iPad from either moving within the case or falling out of the case.
  • It has a built-in speaker to amplify sound (with no batteries required)
  • The case also has a carrying handle and slots so you can add a shoulder strap
  • The current price of the GoNow Sleek is $59.
  • You can read all the case specifications at the Attainment Company website
GoNow Sleek iPad case by Attainment Company - back view

The back of Owen’s case – you can see the 8 places where the case is held together by screws

Here’s a video from Attainment Company so you can see the case in action:

What I like about this case

  • Outstanding drop protection. Owen’s iPad has been on the receiving end of the kind of abuse that only two 7 year old boys can mete out. I was initially concerned about the hardness of the case but it has delivered on its protection promise and then some.
  • Affordability. As many of you know, like many others have done, I fundraised in order to buy iPads for Owen and Oliver. For people who are acquiring an iDevice for AAC use they then also have to find the funds for an AAC app and a case to protect this investment. There are lots of case options that offer protection from dropping and the elements, but most of those options tend to also muffle the iPad’s sound. If sound output is important to you (as it is for most AAC users) then a separate speaker is often required. The GoNow Sleek provides protection and sound amplification with a price tag of only $59, which is terrific value.
  • It’s not a ‘kiddy’ case. Parents acquiring iDevices for their children often look for brightly coloured options when it comes to cases. But for older children, teens and adults, candy-coloured cases might not be what they’re interested in. With its metallic look this case is suitable for all ages and is gender neutral.
  • A built-in or bluetooth speaker is a must-have option for many who use their iDevice for communication and the fact that the GoNow Sleek’s speaker works without requiring an additional power source is a huge bonus.
  • One of the problems with ‘rubbery’ iPad cases is that children love to either pick at or chew on them. The hard plastic used in the GoNow Sleek prevents that from being a problem and it’s also a breeze to keep the case itself clean.
  • Because the iPad is screwed into the case it makes it very difficult for little people to remove the device.
  • The handle is nice and chunky but not too big for small hands – Owen carries the case with no problems even with his fine motor challenges.

What I would either change or add

  • My number one wish is that the case had a screen protector. In our situation screen scratches have not been a problem but the reason I wish the case had a built-in screen cover is for cleaning purposes. Dirt gets trapped in the area where the screen meets the case and the only way to clean it is to take the iPad out of the case which, with 8 screws, can be a time-consuming process. Also, I have stripped a couple of the screws so at this point there is no way to remove the iPad without rendering the case unusable.
  • A built-in stand is a feature that many people who use an iDevice for communication need – especially if they type. Attainment Company’s newest iPad case – the GoNow Rugged – does have fold-out feet but it would be awesome if the Sleek also had an elevation option.
  • The front is painted which gives the case its metallic look but over time the paint gets scratched and can wear off.
  • The company’s promotional material states that the speaker results in the iPad being two to three times louder. I’m sure that’s true in a studio setting and anecdotally I can confirm that Owen’s iPad does generally sound louder to me than Oliver’s, but I don’t think it’s three times louder. Check out the video below – I don’t perceive much difference, if any, in the volume of the sound in that example. So, if you need the sound output significantly amplified then this case might not be your best option but in our situation the volume boost is more than sufficient – even outside the home Owen never has a problem being heard.
GoNow Sleek iPad case by Attainment Company - wear and tear

Close up of some examples of wear and tear – scratches and areas where the paint has rubbed off

See the case in action

It was important to me to be able to show the case in action. This video was taken using my 3rd generation iPad. It’s a side-by-side comparison of two 2nd generation iPads – Oliver’s is in a Big Grips case ($34.95) and Owen’s is in the GoNow Sleek. Both iPads are set to the same volume and the app being used is the same in both cases – Proloquo2Go.

Other options

I’ve recommended Lauren Enders’ Pinterest boards before to those interested in AAC. Lauren has several boards dedicated to showcasing hardware options for iDevices so if you’re in the market for a case then make sure to check the options she has pinned. I’ve outlined below a couple of other iPad case options designed specifically for iPads used as AAC devices where sound output is needed. I haven’t tried any of these other cases but if I do in future I will of course review them.

  • In addition to the GoNow Sleek ($59), Attainment Company also offers the GoNow Rugged for iPad ($79) and a GoNow case for the iPad Mini ($49). Note that Attainment Company has indicated that the volume amplification on the iPad Mini case is less than on their iPad cases.
  • AMDi have produced iPad cases for AAC users for a long time. The iAdapter 4 offers built in speakers and a stand and the base cost is $265.
  • Silver Kite, the makers of the AAC app TouchChat, have recently released the ChatWrap, a case that includes a bluetooth amplifier in either a handle format, or a hinged amplifier if the iPad is used in a stand. The base cost for both the iPad and iPad Mini cases is $395.

Reviews coming soon

For Owen’s iPad Mini we have gone a different route and we are using a Gab n Go harness by Safe n Sound Mobile – keep an eye out for a review of that, together with the cases we have tried in it.

Giveaway

Attainment Company have kindly offered U.S. readers the chance to win either a GoNow Sleek case for iPad or a GoNow for iPad Mini. Enter via the rafflecopter below.

*Please note that the company has informed me that the volume boost on the iPad Mini model is not as great as the volume increase for the iPad cases.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*disclosure* I received the GoNow Sleek case for free in order to review it although I did pay for customs charges. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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5 Responses to “iPad cases – when iDevices are used for AAC – a review of the GoNow Sleek”

  1. Lisa Neely #

    Well, it was worth the wait! Thank you for the detail in your review. Some of the features and uses I was concerned about , you covered very well. I do feel like this would be a great case, but I feel if they were to add a stand and a snap in screen cover, this would be the PERFECT match for my son’s dedicated device. I didn’t even think about the ‘kiddie’ colors until you mentioned it and having one that does look more gender neutral and would be appropriate for my son as he got older, is a great feature, I hadn’t thought of. Thanks again for the review, and an added thanks to Attainment for the giveaway.

    November 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply
  2. Agree with Lisa-this was worth the wait. I thought I had missed the post.

    November 15, 2013 at 9:58 am Reply
    • OMum22 #

      So glad you both appreciated the review. Sorry about the wait :)

      November 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm Reply
  3. I’m in love with Lifeforce for iPad mini. 100% protection including a nice tight screen cover AND a built in lanyard. I even did a croissant eating and wine spilling test and it’s all good. Haven’t brought it swimming yet but will do.

    November 21, 2013 at 4:46 am Reply
    • OMum22 #

      We’re loving it so far too. Will link to your review when I publish mine.

      November 21, 2013 at 9:49 am Reply

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