When Apple announced the iPad 2, it wasn’t just the iPad’s new hardware that made a splash, but also Apple’s new iPad Smart Cover. One thing is for sure, there really is no case or accessory on the iPad or tablet market quite like the iPad Smart Cover. However, is it really worth getting one for your new iPad 2? Or should you wait it out for the plethora of iPad 2 accessory cases that are coming soon? The answer is – yes, and no.
The iPad Smart Cover is one of those rare cases that doesn’t add bulk to your iPad. Instead it just compliments it with some color while keeping your iPad the thin natural beauty that it is. We reviewed the $69.99 black leather version. When we first looked at the Smart Cover inside of its packaging, we weren’t all that taken with it. But when you actually attach it to your iPad 2 it looks really slick. In particular, the black compliments the aluminum and black back finish of the iPad to a T. All of the Smart Covers also feature a microfiber lining, which is super useful since it helps keep the iPad’s fingerprint-prone screen clean.
Yet despite the fact that the Smart Cover is so thin, it has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. Inside it has magnets built into its hinge which align perfectly with the magnets built into the iPad 2’s frame. The resulting effect is that the Smart Cover is able to securely keep your iPad’s display covered while aligning with it perfectly – all with minimal effort. The Smart Cover is also able to fold itself into a stand, so that you can have your iPad 2 sit upright, making it perfect for watching videos or for having a Facetime session. The Smart Cover can also double as a low angle stand which is optimal for typing.
But wait, there’s more! When the Smart Cover is closed flat on the iPad’s 2’s display, it puts the iPad to sleep. Once you pull it off, the Smart Cover automatically wakes up the iPad. In practice, this works flawlessly and feels almost magical.
Overall, we think that the iPad 2 Smart Cover is quite awesome, it’s downright practical, thin and sexy. It’s a perfect example of how Apple is so good at making form and function work seamlessly together. That said, we wouldn’t recommend the iPad Smart Cover for serious traveling. For one thing, it doesn’t protect the back or sides of the iPad 2. It also provides very minimal shock protection. Finally, we’re also concerned that while traveling with it, the metal hinge could possibly disconnect from the side of the iPad and scruff up the iPad’s display. That said, the Smart Cover’s hinge does hold securely to the side of the iPad, but we wouldn’t recommend risking it.
The iPad Smart Cover is available in a selection of ten colors, 6 of which are Polyurethane covers and 4 of which are made of leather. The black leather version in particular makes the iPad 2 look even more luxurious, but $69.99 feels like a steep price tag to swallow. The Polyurethane covers cost $39.99 each, which feels much more reasonably priced, especially since the chances are that you’ll still need to buy yourself a second, more protective iPad case for traveling. Speaking of the Polyurethane covers, they were sold out in the Apple flagship store in Manhattan as of Saturday, indicating that this case will be a hit. One thing’s for sure, we cant wait to see how other accessory companies try to come out with similar concepts to compete with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover.
The Good: Doesn’t add any bulk to the iPad, doubles as a stand, microfiber lining keeps the display clean, puts iPad to sleep when closed, available in 10 colors
The Bad: Pricey – especially for the leather covers, doesn’t protect the back or sides of the iPad, provides very minimal shock protection