When the Apple iPad 2 was unveiled, one of its most vaunted features was its ability to use something called a Smart Cover, a cover made of leather or polyurethane that magnetically attaches to the left side of the iPad 2, and which can wake the iPad 2 when it is opened, and cause the iPad to sleep when closed. The Smart Cover could also be folded into a triangle and used as an iPad stand for things like typing or watching videos. When the New iPad (iPad 3) was announced, it was also designed to take advantage of the Smart Cover technology.
Critics were quick to note that the Smart Cover only protects the front of the iPad, leaving the aluminum back exposed to scratches and dents. As a result, an industry of “Smart Cover companions” developed, back covers designed to compliment the Smart Cover by snapping onto the back of the iPad 2 or New iPad.
Apple clearly took note, and the result is the new Smart Case for the iPad 2 and New iPad. Let’s take a closer look.
Most images in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.
I was curious to see this case in person when it was announced at WWDC on Monday. When the Apple Store came back online that afternoon, I realized I could have one delivered to me by Tuesday with standard (free) shipping, so I ordered one. Mine is the dark grey.
The grey was not quite as dark as I expected, but I can attribute that to differences in monitor color calibrations. The case has a soft, suede-like feeling on the inside of both the case and the screen cover, and the interior color is the same as the exterior color. The exterior is smooth, just like the polyurethane Smart Covers.
The part of the Smart Case that covers the screen is permanently attached to the part rest of the case. The sleep/wake functions work just like they do with the original Smart Cover, and the screen portion of the Smart Case can be folded into the same triangle for typing or standing the iPad as before. When folded behind the iPad, the screen cover sits completely flat.
The back of the case is smooth like the front, and features a white Apple logo. Apple also offers optional laser engraving of these cases. The back also includes a perforated rectangle that perfectly protects and aligns with the speaker on the back of the iPad 2 and new iPad.
On the Smart Case I received, the dock connector port did not align perfectly, but still works fine. The Smart Case also offers a perfectly centered cutout for the back camera, microphone, and rocker switch. The volume and power buttons are completely protected with this case, yet easy to find and use.
My iPad 2 fits very securely in this case. To insert the iPad, you simply place the iPad inside, and then pull the corners of the case over the corners of the iPad. The iPad sits about 1/8” deep in the case, so if you ever wanted to open the case and put the iPad face-down on a table, the screen would not touch anything.
All in all, this is a very good case. It feels like it will hold up as long as your iPad will, and seems easy to keep clean. It looks very clean, and compliments the sleek look of your iPad. It also provides very good edge and corner protection for your iPad’s screen. At $49, it isn’t cheap but is a good deal considering it provides both front and back protection, which the $39 polyurethane Smart Cover does not.