Review: iPad Smart Case

When I first bought the original iPad I also got the black polyurethane case that Apple offered with it. At the time, it made sense since there were no other cases on the market. I affectionately called that case the “wet suit” because of its slick design and the fact that it was impossible to get on or remove. Once you got it on you were best to leave it on. It was in compatible with any docks but that’s not so much of a problem for the iPad. It allowed of inclined use but could not stand up on its own. It felt that it really protected your iPad.Soon there was a flood of cases available. I tried a few. I particularly like Griffin’s Elan line of cases. They look nice and protect the iPad pretty well. They use various straps to hold the iPad in place that can sometimes get in the way or slip out. One thing I started to notice was that the case weighed almost as much as the iPad itself. I longed for the simplicity of the original wet suit design.

When the iPad 2 came out I bought it with a leather “Smart Cover”. This stylish case connect with magnets. Within 24 hour of buying the new iPad I managed to drop it face first onto the concrete floor. The Smart Cover wasn’t smart enough to protect the iPad from a 2 foot fall. From then on I was extremely careful with it. i took to carrying in around in a café bag that I’d bought in Paris (read man purse). I knew I was in trouble when I found myself fishing around in the café bag like a real purse so I went back to carrying the iPad naked. The iPad was nake, not me. Actually the iPad wasn’t naked, it just felt that way because the Smart Cover does not protect the sides or back of the iPad.

When the New iPad (3rd Generation) came out I transferred my Smart Cover over to the new device. it was still functional. The black leather is holding up nicely to daily use. I passively looked for a new case that I could use on a daily basis but didn’t weigh as much as a small laptop to carry. I haven’t found anything that was what I wanted to I left well enough alone.

Last week along with the new Mac Book Pro with Retina Display and new AirPort Express, Apple released a new line of cases called the “Smart Case”. The full description reads “iPad Smart Case – Polyurethane” which leads me to think there will be a leather version sometime in the future. It is available in light gray, dark gray, blue, green, pink and “(PRODUCT) RED”. Unfortunately it is not available in black which would have been my preference. I opted for the dark gray option. I also added the laser engraving to personalize it a little bit. I can see this last option being a good idea for a kid even though you can accomplish the same thing with a Sharpie™.

After having the Smart Case for only three days I can say that I like it. I weighs about 5.5 ounces — only slightly more than the 5 ounces of the smart cover. It lacks the metal hinge. The cover its about an eighth of an inch smaller than the part that covers the back and sides of the iPad. This makes for a clean fit. It has magnets that hold it shut and tell the iPad that its time to go to sleep. The openings for the main camera, head phones, mic, dock port and mute switch are easy to access. The mute switch is about flush with the side of the case requiring a bit of fingernail action to toggle. That’s not a problem for me as I do not typically use that switch very often. The opening for the dock connector is wide enough for all the connectors in my collection. The sleep/wake button and volume controls are passthrough controls that are easy to find by touch and use. The back of the case features the Apple Logo prominently. You’re still not going to use this case in a dock. The case can be used to stand the iPad up in landscape mode convenient for watching a movie on the plane. You can also prop it up at an angle suitable for typing. There is no support for standing it up in portrait mode.

All in all I’m happy with it. The price tag was a bit much but not outrageous. If they do come out with a leather version, I expect to see another $20-30 added to the price. So far the only trouble I have had with it was getting it out of its packaging. Opening the package without destroying it was a challenge until I notices a small pull-tab arrow on the back. Once I pulled it free, I was able to lift the front of the package. This is my new go to case when people ask me for a recommendation. Buying a case is a very personal decision based on fashion and function.