Review: Griffin IntelliCase for iPad 2
Although the two cases are certainly different in some ways, it's hard not to compare Griffin's IntelliCase for iPad 2 ($60) to Marware's MicroShell Folio, as they utilize the same integrated thin rear-shell-plus-lid style. Like its much earlier rival, Griffin chose to forgo using magnets to connect the triangular folding cover to itself, instead relying on physical force to transform the lid into a stand. Although it's clearly inspired by Apple's multi-hued iPad Smart Cover, IntelliCase is only available in black.
The tablet snaps into IntelliCase’s hard plastic shell, and the slimness of the solution is readily evident: its small profile is attributable to the dimensions of both the shell and the lid. There are openings for the headphone port, microphone, Sleep/Wake button, side switch, volume rocker, and rear camera, as well as one long hole at the bottom for the speaker and Dock Connector port—better designs have separate openings. Oddly, the case covers the iPad 2’s left and right edges, but comes just short of it on the top and bottom. The coverage is, however, better than some other models that don’t even come close to protecting all of the iPad 2’s metal back.
Grffin’s version of Smart Cover is attached to the shell by two small tabs; it’s made of polyurethane material that feels very similar to the stuff Apple uses for the less expensive version of its lid. Rather than four sections, IntelliCase is divided into somewhat floppy thirds, but can still form viewing and typing angles by tucking the lid into a raised slot on the back of the shell. It does work, but not as well as magnets do. It does have small magnets inside to activate the iPad 2’s automatic locking feature, though.
The price of these all-in-one-style cases still strikes us as a bit high—the $50 range would be more appropriate—but they are more affordable than the combination of even Apple’s least-costly Smart Cover and the cheapest compatible shell. That being said, Griffin really did the most that could be expected given the limitations it has imposed on itself. If it had more magnets built in and was more protective at the bottom, IntelliCase would be a very good, almost great option. As it stands, it’s merely a good one, and worthy of our flat B rating—a notch above Marware’s MicroShell Folio.