Company: The Joy Factory
Model: SmartSuit Mini
Compatible: iPad mini
The Joy Factory SmartSuit Mini for iPad mini
Once again, The Joy Factory has combined a Smart Cover-like lid with a full protective back to offer protection and stand functionality for a newly released iPad, and SmartSuit Mini for iPad mini ($50) looks a lot like its full-sized counterpart. It's not the first iPad mini case to bring these features together, but it is the only one we've seen with a slightly more substantial cover; both X-Doria's SmartJacket and Uniq Creation's Essensual have much thinner lids. One thing that's kind of cool: instead of using purely throwaway packing materials, The Joy Factory places a pop-out chess set inside SmartSuit Mini's box.
The plastic case is coated in obviously faux leather; you have the choice of black, silver white, bronze, or army green camouflage. Although it lacks button or port protection, glossy plastic extends out to all four edges of the iPad’s body, stopping just shy of the chamfered edges at the top and bottom. The lid is made of the same stuff, but lined with microfiber to protect your iPad mini’s screen. Built-in magnets hold it in place against the display when closed, and also unlock it when opened. You have to be careful when tossing it in a bag, though, as the auto-locking feature can be accidentally triggered if the cover is moved up or down just a small distance. This is something we’ve seen with a handful of other cases, and can lead to unintentional battery drain.
Additionally, the lid folds into a stand that can be used for viewing or typing angles, just like the Smart Cover. Unfortunately the capabilities of the magnets don’t extend to holding these positions. Instead, they rely on the weight oft the tablet; both still work well.
SmartSuit Mini is an attractive case option, with solid functionality. But compared to other similar options on the market, it doesn’t work or protect particularly better, and costs significantly more—at least at full retail price; a simple Amazon search will return results up to 30% off. Based on what The Joy Factory is actually charging, though, the case earns only a general recommendation. This rating is based mainly on its price when compared to competitors, as well as potential battery drain issues related to the front lid.