ESR Smart Case for iPad Pro review: Supports Apple Pencil charging

ESR Smart Case for iPad Pro
(Image: © Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

This simple case is much like Apple's Smart Folio, but far less expensive. For iPad Pro users with an Apple Pencil, or considering an Apple Pencil, a compatible case is a must. ESR's Smart Case won't get in the way of your Apple Pencil. But does it offer enough protection for your needs?

The Good

  • Ultra-slim and lightweight
  • Bargain price
  • Apple Pencil charging compatibility
  • Sleep/Wake functionality
  • Folds into stand
  • Professional-looking
  • Looks and works like Apple's Smart Folio

The Bad

  • Not highly protective
  • Limited color selection

So much like Apple's Smart Folio

ESR Smart Case for iPad Pro: What I like

When Apple did a complete redesign on the recently released iPad Pro, they changed the design of their cases as well. Apple's Smart Folio has gotten both praise and criticism for its ultra-sleek new case design. The entire Smart Folio is basically one large rectangle that folds around the iPad, with magnets to hold the iPad in place. This kind of case isn't going to please everyone. But if you like this type of case and want something less expensive, ESR offers an alternative.

ESR offers an alternative to Apple's Smart Folio that's less expensive.

ESR's Smart Case offers a similar case design for one-quarter of the price. Inserting your iPad Pro is as simple as setting it inside. Powerful magnets guide it into place and keep it there. I did not intentionally try to shake my iPad out of the case, but I did hold it by the front cover and suspend it over my couch shaking gently, with nothing holding the iPad in place but the magnets. The magnets held strong.

Magnets on the front cover activate Sleep/Wake functionality, as you would expect from any case made in the last few years. The front cover can be folded all the way back for hand-held reading, or folded back into a triangle stand for watching videos. The case is lined with microfiber to avoid scratching the iPad. A cutout on the back allows the camera to function properly.

There is no plastic frame or anything else holding the iPad in the case, so all of the buttons, ports, and speakers are fully accessible. This includes the magnetic charging dock where you'd put your Apple Pencil.

Not for hard knocks

ESR Smart Case for iPad Pro: What I don't like

If you're looking for a heavy-duty case, this isn't the one you want. I definitely wouldn't hand a small child an iPad in this case.

ESR offers three color options: Black, Silver Gray, and Navy Blue. Perfectly fine colors but nothing super exciting.

Does the job

ESR Smart Case for iPad Pro: Bottom line

If you're looking for a case like Apple's Smart Folio, to offer a bit of protection and functionality to your iPad Pro, you've come to the right place. Apple Pencil users will enjoy being able to charge and dock their Apple Pencils without having to remove the case.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.