Antbox iPad case, $28

Coverage that won’t break the bank

We went about to find the perfect case for one of the holiday’s top sellers: the iPad. The three finalists were the Antbox, the $11 Soke case and the $55 Zugu case. All promised protection from drops and scratches, and all had holders for the Apple Pencil.

The cutouts for volume and speakers on the Soke case were slightly off, but not so much as to make them unusable. But the big turnoff was the flimsy rubber around the volume and speaker cutouts.

The more expensive Zugu case gets rave reviews on Amazon. Its selling point is its strong magnet that keeps the case at any angle securely in place. The magnet is so strong that the iPad can be hung from a refrigerator. That’s an interesting feature, but few are likely to hang an iPad on my fridge.

There’s no room for the charging adapter. But the case looks and feels substantial, like it would protect an iPad very well. With the Zugu you’re getting a well-made iPad case with attention to detail like cutouts.

However, the soft inside cover that protects the screen becomes the base of the case when it’s put at an angle. It’s too easy to get dust and other debris on the microfiber inside cover/base. For 50 bucks, design flaws should be obvious — and fixed.

That left the medium-priced Antbox, hefty enough to protect the iPad but not so heavy as to be burdensome. Its sleep and wake feature worked much more reliably than the one on the Soke case. Like the Soke case, the cutouts for speakers and volume were flimsy.

However, the Antbox had a good latch that made it feel secure, and it’s relatively lightweight.

McClatchy news service

Amazon Echo Dot, $29.99

Yet another task for voice assistant

If 2019 is the year to sell your house or condo, let an Amazon Alexa help you out a bit.

With a smart speaker and the smartphone app, you don’t have to run home at lunch to take the house atmosphere up a notch.

You can choose soothing music for the background, turn on the right amount of lights, set the temperature at a comfortable level and even start a wax burner for some scent (connected to a smart plug).

When the appointment is over, you can turn everything back to normal.

Mercury News