Review: Speck MagFolio, MagFolio Lounge, MagFolio Luxe + WanderFolio for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
MagFolio, MagFolio Lounge + WanderFolio
Company: Speck Products
Model: MagFolio for iPad 2, MagFolio Lounge for iPad 2, MagFolio Luxe for iPad 2, WanderFolio for iPad 2, MagFolio for iPad (3rd-Gen), MagFolio Lounge for iPad (3rd-Gen), MagFolio Luxe for iPad (3rd-Gen), WanderFolio for iPad (3rd-Gen)
Compatible: iPad 2, iPad (3rd-Gen)
At this year's International CES, Speck showed off a few new limited production run iPad 2 cases that are available only from its website. All of the cases are updates to the company's FitFolio, which earned a strong general recommendation when we reviewed it in May. While that model is still available, Speck has updated the closure on the new models from an elastic band to a magnet, with a corresponding name change: MagFolio ($60). There is also a premium version of the case made with real leather called MagFolio Luxe ($100), and one that has curves contoured to fit your leg, named MagFolio Lounge ($60). In addition, WanderFolio ($60) takes the same basic concept but adds a front flap with six pockets for small items such as credit cards, cash, notes, and more. All of the cases hold the iPad 2 in the same shell, and can display it at multiple angles in landscape orientation.
The rear shell is a little thick, but has precision-cut openings for the headphone port, mic, Sleep/Wake button, rear camera, side switch and volume rocker, speaker, and Dock Connector. Speck notably extends the cases’ plastic all the way to the four edges, an attribute that is lacking from many of the shells we have seen recently; these models are consequently more protective. While the fit is good, it’s a little uneven around the front: some of the aluminum edge is visible, though this does not effect use or overall protection at all.
Interestingly, the plastic shell only covers some of the back of the device; the rest is faux or real leather, depending on the case, that wraps around to form the front cover. That material can lift away exposing about half of the iPad 2’s back, interrupted in the middle by a piece of plastic about three inches tall and half the thickness of the rest of the case. Like many folios, this enables the case to become a stand. A ridge on the left edge of the plastic frame fits into one of four recessed areas on the inside of the front cover, providing four different viewing angles. A little bit of origami-like maneuvering turns it into a typing stand.
As noted above, Speck upgraded from the elastic band it was using on FitFolio to a magnetic flap. The magnet is strong enough to hold the case shut, but still very easy to open, and is a worthwhile small improvement. This mechanism also works to keep the cover in place when it’s folded behind, although the surface doesn’t lie quite flat. The company also integrated magnets into the front cover to activate the iPad 2’s automatic sleep/wake function.
Other than that enclosure, MagFolio and MagFolio Luxe are identical in setup to FitFolio. The leather used for Luxe is definitely nicer than the faux leather used on the rest, but isn’t the fanciest or most striking we’ve ever seen. MagFolio Lounge is only a little different than those two; rather than a straight crease in the front cover, it has a contoured one. When the cover is folded underneath and magnet embedded in the back connects to the one in the flap, resulting in a curved shape designed to fit comfortably on a leg. The shape makes sense, considering the way that many people are using their iPads. Of the bunch, WanderFolio is the most unique. While we’ve seen plenty of wallet-style iPhone cases, this is the first we’ve come across for the iPad or iPad 2. The extra flap on the front—held shut with a snap—adds surprisingly little bulk. While the practicality of carrying cash and credit cards may be debatable, it certainly is useful to have room for business cards and notes.
Like the original FitFolio, we see MagFolio, MagFolio Lounge, and WanderFolio as very good options for those looking for a folio-style case, with or without some extra features. They have designs that stand out from the crowd, and are functional to boot. The magnetic enclosure is a nice improvement, although it’s not enough to warrant a higher rating; all three are worthy of the same strong general recommendation. MagFolio Luxe, on the other hand, is meant to be a premium product at a premium price. It’s somewhat too expensive for what it is, but some people will appreciate the nicer material. It’s the only one of the bunch to rate merely a limited recommendation.
Updated June 13, 2012: Speck has updated is MagFolio line and WanderFolio to fit the third-generation iPad. As pictured above, MagFolio, MagFolio Luxe, and WanderFolio are all pretty much identical to their predecessors, although the hard plastic shell has been replaced by a soft rubber one. We were a bit disappointed to find that MagFolio Luxe shipped with scuffs on its body, which is particularly disappointing given the elevated price. MagFolio Lounge shows no obvious changes.