Company: The Joy Factory
Compatible: iPad 2
The Joy Factory SmartFit2 + SmartGrip2 for iPad 2
We've seen Smart Cover-compatible iPad 2 cases from a number of manufacturers, and most have the same plastic shell design. A few companies have played around with the idea a bit and made small changes, for better or worse, and The Joy Factory has delivered two new options that fit both categories: SmartFit2 ($30) and SmartGrip2 ($30). The former is pretty standard, while the latter at least puts a bit of a spin on the now well-worn rear plastic shell concept.
SmartFit2 is available in clear or smoke colors. In terms of protection, it is almost identical to Incipio’s Smart Feather. While there is a cut out on the left side for the side switch and volume rocker, as well as one on the back for the camera, both the top and bottom edges are completely exposed because of the long openings. This leaves much more of the tablet exposed than necessary. Unlike Incipio’s version, there is no coverage for the Smart Cover spine, just an open area on the right for it to attach to the iPad 2’s aluminum back. There’s also no screen protector included; the Smart Cover is assumed to be sufficient for this purpose.
On the other hand, SmartGrip2 not only covers more of the tablet, but also uses a different material. Instead of plastic, it is made of soft, rubber-like TPU. Because of this, it has some give and a different texture. It slips on very easily and is quite protective, extending all the way to the top, bottom, and right edges of the tablet. There are well-tailored cutouts for the ports, buttons, cameras, speaker, and microphone. In fact, none of the holes goes all the way to the edge, which means they provide just a bit more protection.
The opening for Smart Cover on the left side does leave a little more than 1/4” of the aluminum back exposed. Unlike most similar cases, the edges extend over the front of the iPad 2 just a little bit; all that’s left fully exposed is the glass touch screen. SmartGrip2 is certainly thicker than typical hard plastic shells, but not so much so that it’s a real problem. There is one real downside, however: the edge along the spine of Smart Cover pulls away very easily because it has nothing to latch onto. After just a few light pulls it doesn’t sit flat.
SmartGrip2 is one of the more protective models we have seen, and somewhat comparable to the B+-rated CoverBuddy from SwitchEasy. We appreciate that The Joy Factory was a bit more daring with this design. Ultimately, however, due to the lack of protection for the speaker, issues with one edge, and higher price, it earns a B—we still recommend it, though with a little more reservation than CoverBuddy. The other case, SmartFit2, doesn’t bring anything to the table that we haven’t already seen; it actually offers less coverage, and doesn’t have as much value for the dollar as many of its rivals. It merits a slightly lower B- rating.