Available from: www.eoutlet.co.uk
Suitable from: 1yr +
Initial Reaction: I was wary about using the iPad in the car. My kids are 3 and 1, and the older one in particular would have the TV on, and play on my iPhone or Cbeebies website all day if we let him, preferably all at once. I’m constantly making efforts to limit their screen time, so I was reluctant to introduce another opportunity to use a screen – especially as the car is so restricted, with no option to break away and do something else as you’re strapped in facing the screen.
However, the latest research indicates that it isn’t screen time itself that’s detrimental to children; it’s the fact that watching the screen prevents them from being active. So given that there’s no option to move around on a car journey anyway, I agreed to give it a go. And I have to admit, the chance of a break from my son’s new habit of asking where we are constantly on a journey was very tempting. We tested the backSTAGE iPad case on a journey from Durham to Leeds.
Pros: Our son was delighted to be able to watch a film in the car. We’d transferred one of his DVDs on to the computer then on to the iPad (but you can download films from iTunes if you don’t want to do this). He was quiet and entertained for most of the journey. We did get a few “are we nearly there?”s, but nowhere near as much as if he’d been listening to a CD (our usual choice for in-car entertainment).
The case is very robust, with light cushioning and a soft lining to make sure your iPad is protected. The iPad is held in the case with a Velcro tab, and there’s a wide adjustable strap to attach the case to the headrest. It felt very secure and we weren’t worried about it falling out.
Cons: We didn’t have headphones suitable for a child, so all of us could hear the audio from the film. My husband simply could not resist talking along to every single line. At first I just twitched and tried to put up with it. Then I asked him to stop. He tried, but seriously, imitating Mater and Lightning McQueen was just too tempting for him. Massively irritating. We tried putting the radio on just in the front, but then my son couldn’t hear the film properly.
We were clear with our son that watching a film in the car was a special treat for a long journey – so of course next time we got into the car, it was “is this a long journey? I think it’s going to be very long. I want to watch Cars…”
We have an in-car charger for the iPad that plugs into the cigarette lighter. With the iPad behind the driver’s seat, this meant that we had to turn the case upside down to have it plugged in (if we’d used it behind the passenger seat, the charger wire would have crossed over the gear stick) – although the Velcro on the top is very strong so there was no worry about it falling out. This probably wouldn’t be a problem in every car, or indeed if you’re organised enough to charge your iPad before you set off on holiday.
Value for money? Hmmm… The backSTAGE case is good quality, it’s sturdy and durable – but there are cheaper products available that would do the same job. Personally I wouldn’t buy this one when you can get similar for half the price.
Overall Reaction: Well, it definitely works. We had blissful peace and quiet (apart from constant movie quotes from my husband) for our two-hour journey. Personally it’s something I’d save just for long journeys. If you’re looking for an in-car iPad case, the backSTAGE does the job.