Company: Choiix / Cooler Master
Model: Wake Up Folio
Compatible: iPad 2
Choiix Wake Up Folio for iPad 2
They both look like Apple's Smart Cover, fold like it, have magnets like it, and even share some similar materials, but Choiix's Wake Up Folio ($40) and Logiix's Spyder SE Platinum for iPad 2 ($90) are slightly different beasts. We've seen cases that attempt to replicate and build on the functionality of Apple's lid -- The Joy Factory's SmartSuit2 being the best example -- but none have come as close as these two. While the lids are almost identical, the added benefit is their attached rear plastic shells, which provide much-needed protection for the scratchable aluminum back of the tablet. There are some notable differences between the two cases though, and a clear best option.
Just like Smart Cover, Wake Up Folio and Spyder SE Platinum are divided into four sections—in fact, they have the exact same dimensions as Apple’s lid. However, instead of a series of magnets along the left edge, the same soft cover material wraps around the side and covers most of the back of the case. The polyurethane version of Wake Up Folio, which is available in blue, pink, green, orange, and gray, does feel a little bit different—it’s a tad less rubbery than Apple’s Smart Cover material. It also feels just barely thicker. Black and white models are only available in eco-leather, which looks and feels great. It’s soft and high quality, and most users will find it to be a better choice than the leather Smart Covers. Spyder SE Platinum comes in four colors. The black, blue, and pink versions have a vinyl feel with a brushed-metal sheen, while the white has the same texture but with a metallic cube-style print. You can decide whether you prefer the flat or faux metal textures.
In each case, the rear shells are made of traditional polycarbonate; they’re all hard plastic, with Choiix’s finished to a gloss while Logiix’s are soft touch rubber. The plastic is white on all of the versions of Choiix’s case, except for the black eco-leather, which comes in a matching black plastic. Logiix’s Spyders have backs that match the color of the cover; the inside of each shell and lid are lined with a soft microfiber material. Users will love that the shells provide almost complete iPad 2 body coverage. Wake Up Folio has cutouts along the edges for the headphone port, microphone, Sleep/Wake button and rear camera, side switch and volume rocker, and Dock Connector port, as well as a grate over the speaker that allows audio to pass through, while the Spyder is similar, save for separate holes for the Sleep/Wake button and camera, and a much larger combined opening for the speaker and Dock Connector port. All in all, Wake Up Folio is a just a little more protective.
Each case’s lid folds in on itself to form a triangle that can serve as a stand in either typing or viewing orientations; the shape is held by the embedded magnets and in the case of Wake Up Folio works almost identically to Apple’s design. Wake Up Folio’s magnets are stronger and do a better job of maintaining the shape; Logiix’s are considerably weaker. Because of the plastic case, the iPad 2 is pushed to a slightly higher angle in viewing mode than it would be with a bare iPad 2 and Smart Cover, but it continues to work just fine here. Magnets in the rightmost segment activate the tablet’s automatic locking feature.
Either version of Wake Up Folio is quite a bargain compared to what Apple is offering. The polyurethane lid is pretty similar to Smart Cover’s, but the leather is certainly nicer-feeling and -looking, particularly given the Apple Smart Cover’s tendency to quickly show scratches and scuffs. Combine that with a pretty good shell, all at the same price point as the cheaper of the two models, and you get the accessory Apple really should be selling. We highly recommend Wake Up Folio as a protective and practical option, although with the caveat that the price seems too good to be true. The only downside for most of our readers is that it’s not available in the United States yet; we hope that it will be here sooner rather than later. Spyder SE Platinum, on the other hand, has almost exactly the same features—and corollary drawbacks. The magnets aren’t as impressive, and there’s no good leather-textured version. But it’s ultimately the much higher price, especially in comparison to Wake Up Folio, that keeps us from recommending it. For the $50 difference, you could get two of Choiix’s cases, and it’s not any better of a value than just picking a Smart Cover and separate rear shell of your choice—most will actually be less expensive than this. It merits a C+.