When the iPad 2 arrived on the scene we did a roundup of 20 of our favorite cases. Now that a few months have gone by, we have had a chance to run 7 new cases for the iPad 2 through their paces. A case can look pretty swell, but does it work well and complement the device?
In our evaluation of the iPad 2 case offerings, we kept a few things in mind. The questions we asked for each case were: 1. Does the case add bulk? 2. Is it easier to type on? 3. Can we still use the rear camera? 4. Does it offer several viewing angles? 5. How much protection does it offer if dropped? and 6. Is it easy to put on and remove? Curious as to how they stacked up, read on below.
The iPad 2 case skinny:
1) DODOCase: This handmade in San Fransisco case has high marks for not adding bulk, making the iPad easier to type on, having a few viewing angles, offering some protection if dropped, and is easy to put on and remove. However the case fails when it comes to using the rear camera since you need to remove the device from the case in order to do this. We are quite sad about this and hardly use this case because of it. Another thing we are not happy about is that the design of the case coupled with the new angle that the right side buttons on the iPad 2 makes these buttons a bit more challenging to press. We think the case works well for the first gen of iPad but does need a bit more re-working to make it perfect for the second gen iPad. ($60)
2) BOOKback: With our review unit of the DODO came this lovely little accessory. While not technically a case, the adhesive BOOKback is exactly the protection for the rear of the iPad 2 that we were hoping for when we use it with our leather Smart Cover. The Smart Cover BOOKback combination plus Rock 'n Roll red iPad skin for protection when it is in a tote is what our iPad 2 is wearing most of the time. The BOOKback was easy to apply and is surprisingly not difficult to remove and adds zero bulk to the shiny device ($20).
3) Speck SmartShell: Another case designed to work with the Apple Smart Cover, the SmartShell offers a bit more protection than the BOOKback. An important thing to note is that like most hard cases, the SmartShell is a bit difficult to put on and remove from the iPad. The SmartShell does not inhibit the use of the rear camera and has a nice satin feel ($35).
4) M-Edge Custom Case: To design our custom case we looked to vintage book linings for inspiration. We love the way the case turned out, but we have not loved using it with our iPad 2. The case fits both the iPad 1 & 2 and to be honest works much better for the first generation. The case makes zero allowances for the rear camera or the new shape of the device which makes using the buttons a bit tricky. If you have a first generation iPad, this is a good case option and it is fun and easy to design your own case ($50).
5) Speck FitFolio Cover: We had high hopes when we took this case out of its packaging. It was so light and offered so much promise in the form of multiple viewing angles and allowed for use of the rear camera (something we had thought was a given for any iPad 2 case prior to beginning our review). However we were quickly disappointed when it failed badly when it came to putting the iPad into the case. After about 15 minutes of trying we were unable to get the iPad to properly fit into the case. To say this is frustrating is an understatement and we are unhappy that we were not able to use this case as it seemed a tad too small ($40).
6) Booqpad: The idea of a traditional notebook and pen alongside an iPad is an interesting one, however we were ultimately disappointed with this case primarily because we needed to remove the iPad every time we wanted to use the rear camera. While this case offers the most protection out of all that we tried, it did not offer much in the way of viewing angles. The Booqpad is a nice case to bring into meetings, but does not fare as well as an everyday go-to case ($50).
7) Speck PixelSkin HD Wrap: If you are looking for a case with decent protection, typing and viewing angles and that allows for use of the rear camera, check out the PixelSkin HD. Our only caveat in giving this case a hearty recommendation is how difficult it is to put on an iPad. It took several attempts and a bit of work to get it to fit properly and we almost gave up! After several tries and a ridiculous amount of patience we were able to get the iPad 2 into this very snug fitting case. The other thing to note is while the cover looks like a Smart Cover it does not behave like one and does require some finessing to bend properly and remains in place through a tab and notch in the case ($50).
More cases from the Unplggd archives:
What's your favorite iPad 2 case?
(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)