As with every Apple iOS device, the market is nothing short of flooded with accessories for your iPad Mini. The most important accessory – and the hardest to choose – iPad Mini owners buy is a case. A case can say a lot about the user. Those who care more about looks over functionality will choose a case with a great looking image or design, but doesn’t do much in terms of protecting their iPad Mini. The eternal pragmatist, however, will prefer a case that serves some sort of function or offers better protection over good looks.

The Kraken line of iPad Mini cases from Trident is just the case for the pragmatic iPad Mini owner looking to protect their three-hundred-dollar or more investment. Trident has made high-quality, maximum protection cases for mobile devices since May 2010, offering great alternatives to competing cases from companies like Otterbox. Trident’s cases are generally cheaper than their competitors, but still offer the same great protection depending on the model purchased. Trident has five distinct product lines, all with names from Greek mythology, that meet the various demands and/or needs of consumers and their lifestyles, and each offers a different level of protection for devices.

The Good

Kraken is the name for Trident’s “Level 4: Maximum Protection” line of accessories, meaning you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tougher case. Trident’s Kraken case for iPad Mini continues to live up to this guarantee of protection. The case consists of two layers of protection: an inner silicon layer that wraps around the iPad Mini, and an outer polycarbonate layer that snaps extremely snug around the inner layer. These two layers work in tandem to offer excellent protection from the accidental drops all tablet users will inevitably experience. The outer layer works to shield the iPad Mini from the direct point of impact, while the inner silicon layer absorbs the shock and distributes it evenly throughout the layer. This distribution makes the biggest drops affect the iPad Mini inside the same harmless ways picking up the device quickly or touching it firmly does. The Kraken case also includes a built-in screen protector on the front side of the case to prevent smudges and scratches to the screen. The screen protecting film is glued to the front piece of the outer case, and doesn’t require users to fiddle with attempting to put it on the screen themselves without any air bubbles (something I’ve come to believe is damn near impossible to do).

Trident offers the Kraken in five different colors: black, blue, pink, red, and green. It’s important to note that the color only changes for the silicon layer; the outer shell will be black regardless of the model. However, parts of the silicon do show through and offer some color to the case which the stylish pragmatic owner will appreciate. Assembling the case is thankfully pretty self-explanatory, although another tip would be to start with the front outer shell first and then secure the rear outer shell (the rear outer shell secures to the front on the inside). Furthermore, ensuring the iPad Mini’s screen is clean is a priority, as any dirt or debris will be stuck between the screen protector and the screen.

Trident Kraken iPad Mini Pieces

The Bad

The first thing Kraken users will notice is that the case is very difficult to take apart. When first taking it out of the packaging, getting the case apart enough to actually insert the iPad Mini is no easy task. To make matters worse, the case comes with the instructions on how to take apart the case correctly inside of the closed case – not a smart move on Trident’s part there. Thankfully, we were able to safely get it apart; start by gently pulling out at the upper and lower clasps on the side of the outer case and then move to the top of the case to get it apart.  In Greek mythology, the Kraken was a menacing giant squid that terrorized sea-faring Greeks, and that’s exactly how an iPad Mini will feel after putting on the Kraken. Users will immediately notice that their device feels much heavier and bigger than without the case; however, this is the case (pun intended) with any max protection product. It’s a matter of how much is keeping your iPad Mini safe and in great shape worth to you.

The Final Verdict

The Kraken case will indeed protect your iPad Mini from what we fondly call life; the iPad Mini was able to survive a six-foot drop onto wood or tile flooring in our tests (do not try this at home, leave it to the professionals, OK). Parents, like myself, with small children who love to get their hands on iPads can find some peace of mind knowing their iPad Mini can survive a toddler with the Trident Kraken case. The case’s rugged design can also be frustrating when trying to remove it, and many users may not like the appeal of doubling the size and weight of their sleek iPad Mini when using the Kraken. But overall, iPad Mini owners won’t find a better case to protect their new tablet for the price. At an MSRP of $59.95, the Kraken is a good deal, but a quick search of Amazon shows that users can snag a Kraken case for as little of $35 which is a steal. Rating: A-