Smart Case for iPad review

The Apple Smart Case for iPad is one of the most un-Apple-like products I've ever seen

Immediately following the keynote at WWDC, Apple silently announced a new case for the iPad called the Smart Case that offers customers a way to protect the back of their iPad while still utilizing the functionality of a Smart Cover -- well, in theory.

Just like the Smart Cover, the Apple Smart Case is made out of polyurethane and is available in the same six colors: light gray, dark gray, blue, green, pink, and red. The inside of both the cover and main body of the case is made of a nice soft suede so that you can trust that your precious iPad will not be scratched when placed inside.

To put the iPad in the Smart Case, you have to push it into the main casing and it isn't exactly very easy to do. It's even more difficult to get off. This would be an acceptable trade-off if the case fit snuggly and perfectly -- but it doesn't. Although the iPad doesn't slide around inside the case, you can see a space between the iPad and the Smart Case. It also has a strange lip around the outside of the entire case, making the body larger than the Smart Cover. This not only makes the iPad larger without added functionality or protection, but also makes it a bit awkward to open the cover since you must get your fingernail underneath it in order to lift it. Well, that's not entirely true -- you could also just turn the iPad upside down.

That's right. The magnetic feature of the Smart Cover that snaps the cover onto the iPad does not work with the Smart Case because the magnetic force is too weak. Let me say that again: the cover on the Smart Case will not keep a magnetic hold to the front of your iPad -- and it's all because that darn lip around the edge of the body of the case doesn't allow the cover to physically touch the front of the iPad, thus reducing the effect of the magnets.

The Smart Case allows easy access to all the ports on the iPad and covers the power button and volume keys while still making it easy to use them. However, all the cutouts don't matchup perfectly. This is particularly annoying with the mute switch because the cutout is just enough too high to make it difficult to flip up the switch. The back of the case features a white Apple logo in the center, right where it would be on your iPad.

Apple claims that you can easily fold back the cover to use as a stand, but I wouldn't trust it when standing tall. Because of the way the cover sits with the case, the iPad stands almost completely vertically and doesn't seem to be very stable. I'm terrified it's going to come crashing face down at any given moment. Maybe that's why Apple include the lip around the edge -- so when your iPad experiences a face plant, the screen won't actually hit the surface that your iPad is standing on.

The good

  • Offers protection to both the front and back of the iPad
  • The automatic ON/OFF feature of Smart Cover works on the Smart Case

The bad

  • Lid does not stay magnetically closed
  • Doesn't have a perfect fit
  • "Features" an annoying lip all around the edges
  • Is not very stable as a stand
  • Cutouts do not perfectly match up
  • Cover is hard to lift (if not flipping upside-down)

The bottom line

I was excited when Apple announced the Smart Case for the iPad but was disappointed almost immediately after taking it out of its box. Honestly, I think Apple should be ashamed of letting something so sloppily made hit the shelves. If you're looking for a case that works well with Apple's Smart Cover, you're better off picking up an Incipio Smart feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case.

$49.99 - Buy Now