Whether in a car, a boat, a big rig, or at your desk, having your iPad mounted in a fixed position can be very beneficial. This is the LifeProof cradle for iPad mini. It's molded to work specifically with their fré and nüüd cases. LifeProof boasts that it's lockable design also provides maximum security for your iPad mini. Let's take a quick look at the hardware and see if it's worthy of the LifeProof name.
The cradle is custom molded to hold the iPad mini by the four corners. This keeps all the ports and buttons accessible while in the cradle. It has a universal AMPS mount with four mounting holes on the back which I've attached With two bolts to a ball mount from RAM mounts. From the textured back to the honeycomb interior this thing screams quality. I've been very impressed with the materials.
If you decide to purchase this cradle you'll definitely need some sort of AMPS compatible mount to attach it to and RAM mounts makes about anything you could imagine. I've attached another ball mount to my desk with a c clamp and connect the two with a double socket arm. Once you tighten this down the iPad is very solid. This has a lot more to do with the RAM mount than the LifeProof cradle though.
To insert you place the bottom of the iPad in first and then snap it down into the cradle. Removal is just as easy using the single latch. It fits very snug thanks to four soft foam cushions underneath. This gives it a very satisfying click and snaps firmly into place. One handed use is a breeze as well. The side of the cradle is cut out and you can grab the iPad mini by the side and use your thumb to activate the latch.
But that's where the good news ends. Lifeproof promises maximum security for your iPad mini using the one handed latch. To lock the latch so it doesn't open you slide a tab on the latch into the locked position. When it's locked there's a red indicator instead of a green indicator when unlocked. To lock that tab in place there's another tab on the back that you slide up. To lock that tab in place you fold it out and put a small padlock through the hole. To unlock you reverse the process by folding one tab in, sliding it down, sliding the next tab down and removing your iPad mini. It's sort of a Rube Goldberg way to secure your iPad mini.
I could get over the cumbersome combination of switches if they truly provided maximum security. However, with very little effort you can easily remove the iPad mini from the locked cradle. I will mention that the first time I did this it was a little more difficult than now, but it was still way too easy. You're not going to be able to offer maximum security with a small plastic latch that easily flexes out of the way when locked.
Is this a good iPad cradle? Definitely. Is it made of premium materials like you would expect from a LifeProof product? Certainly. Would I recommend it? Probably so, with the caveat that it's not a secure way to mount your iPad. It will provide a convenient sturdy way to mount your iPad. I've enjoyed having it mounted at my desk for a couple of weeks now and using it as a dedicated music player. With the proper RAM mount it could make a great cradle for almost any environment. Just don't lock it in the cradle and expect it to be there when you return.
If you have any questions that I didn't cover leave them in the comments.