Review: Miniot Cover for iPad 2
Think of Miniot's Cover for iPad 2 (€50-€70/$70-$99) as a grown-up alternative to Apple's iPad Smart Cover. Carved out a single piece of extremely handsome wood, Cover is a flap that rests on the face of the tablet and can be folded into a stand for use in multiple orientations. But even though it looks quite a bit better than Apple's model, Miniot's still has many of the same problems and some new ones of its own as well. Miniot offers six standard colors at the $70 base price, with fancier woods at $84 and up, and mixed-and-matched versions for $99.
Cover is perfectly sized to fit the glass face of the iPad 2 and, like Smart Cover, it provides no coverage past the screen. It attaches with magnets and stays securely in place; because there are magnets on both sides of the screen, it will work as well right side up as upside down. As with Smart Cover, when Cover is lifted away from the right side, the iPad 2’s screen automatically unlocks, locking again when it is back in place.
The wood is segmented into 11 strips, the first and last thicker than the rest. This allows the lid to curl in on itself, exposing the soft velvety fabric opposite the wood—a position that didn’t seem possible when we first removed the Cover from its box. As it turns out, magnets on both sides are surprisingly strong and hold Cover in the doubled-back position. A ridge that runs the length of the Cover is left accessible, allowing it to be used as a stand in either portrait or landscape orientation. The same magnets keep the lid attached to the right side of the iPad 2 in the latter position, allowing for typing and viewing angles including upright portrait—notably on a very steep, purely 90-degree angle that’s less ideal than a reclining position.
One of the major down sides of Cover is that just as with Smart Cover, it lacks any sort of body protection for the iPad 2. One of the main reasons to use a case is to keep the tablet from getting bumped, scratched, or otherwise marred. Cover simply does not provide that kind of defense, and as such we wouldn’t recommend its use without some sort of coverage for the rear of the tablet—something that will add to this accessory’s already high cost.
The new issue is that Cover needs to be removed when it is not covering the screen or being used a stand. Unlike Smart Cover, which is on a hinge that wraps around the side and can be folded under the tablet, Miniot’s lid has no such option. Assuming you’re willing to rely upon the magnets to grip your iPad 2, you can attach it in the curled position to the iPad’s back, using it as a sort of grip; unless it’s curled, it doesn’t attach to the back in a fully flush manner. Depending on how you use and hope to hold your iPad 2, this may be more or less of a problem
Perhaps not surprisingly, the pricing for Cover is high—comparable to Apple’s “high-end” leather Smart Cover, though more reasonable given the comparatively high cost of woodworking and the finer materials Miniot has chosen. As handsome and well executed as it may be, however, the fact remains that it simply leaves too much of the iPad 2 exposed to be a completely practical option; the fact that its stand-assisted viewing angles are so sharp is another unfortunate miss. For most users, we would still recommend a full case that has the same kind of stand functionality for a lower price. That said, Miniot’s craftsmanship and the Cover’s sheer beauty boost the rating a big notch above Apple’s original Smart Cover design. Fans of wood who are willing to deal with the Cover’s limitations will find it to be a gorgeous accessory.