Review: SwitchEasy Exec for iPad (3rd-Gen) + iPad 2
Exec ($60) is one of two new folio-style cases SwitchEasy has recently debuted for the iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad. While Pelle's release date and final pricing has yet to be announced, Exec is now officially on sale on the company's website. It's a new take on the folio from SwitchEasy, which has previously found success with folios such as Canvas and Cara. Available in five colors, Exec comes packaged with headphone port and Dock Connector port covers, a screen protector, cleaning cloth, and installation card.
SwitchEasy designed Exec to be one of the thinnest folios around, and in that regard, the company succeeded. It’s only three-quarters of an inch thick, and beyond the numbers, it really feels thin. The exterior is a textured polyurethane material, while the inside is lined with microfiber to protect the iPad’s aluminum back and glass display; the right half of the back cover is slightly padded, with a repeating pattern of horizontal and vertical dashes.
Exec’s thinness is achieved by eliminating the fabric frame or full shell found in most other folios. Instead, this one has a “snap frame” solidly attached to the inside of the rear cover. It only runs around the edges of the tablet, rather than extending all the way across its back. We found it slightly more difficult to insert the tablet in Exec than alternatives with plastic shells inside, but it’s easier if you start with the right side first. Once in place, the edges are well covered, with openings only as necessary for the ports and buttons. Like many flat-backed folios, the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are recessed at a slightly blocked angle, but remain totally usable.
This case also supports five different viewing angles. Because the snap frame is attached to the back cover, these are achieved by popping off the left side of the plastic and then bending the back right in the middle. We’re not big fans of this method, but it does work. The edge of the iPad then rests in one of the ridges lining the front cover, offering a respectable range. Unfortunately, there’s no dedicated typing position. Additionally, the front cover has embedded magnets that both hold it against the screen and automatically lock and unlock the iPad.
In terms of look and feel, Exec is generally a success. We like how thin it is, and the ridged polyurethane is a nice touch that sets it apart, though it’s not a particularly fancy or expensive material. On top of that, the snap frame is a nice enough alternative to the classic folio holder, and the front lid magnets work very well. The lack of a typing angle is disappointing though, as is the surprisingly high price, which doesn’t make a lot of sense for what’s basically a plastic case. While the price isn’t crazy, it doesn’t fall in line with the rest of SwitchEasy’s value-focused lineup. With this in mind, Exec deserves a B rating. It’s a pretty cool case with only a few drawbacks.