Company: United SGP
Model: Illuzion Sleeve Series
Compatible: iPad, iPad 2
United SGP Illuzion for iPad 2
We have seen some really expensive basic leather iPad 2 sleeves from Beyzacases, so it's nice to see similar options at more reasonable prices from United SGP. The company has just released Illuzion for iPad 2 ($60), a slightly thinner-feeling leather option with the same functionality as the vast majority of iPad sleeves. A simple cowhide envelope with two sets of magnets inside, Illuzion has enough room to hold the original iPad or the iPad 2 with or without Apple's Smart Cover attached, and is available in eight colors designed to match those available for Apple's magnetic protectors.
Illuzion’s design is as simple as it gets, a sleeve for holding an iPad 2 when it is not in use with a flap that keeps the tablet secure inside. All of the models feature a textured, floater style leather rather than the flat, smooth kind used by Beyzacases in Wave. While the differences are small, Illuzion feels a little less sturdy and substantial than its considerably more expensive competitor. Of the versions we tested, all but one features the same very soft, thin exterior in a glossy finish with a microfiber interior; the exception is the Vintage Brown model which has an intentionally rougher feel and less of a sheen. Like most sleeves, there’s no access to any of the iPad 2’s ports or buttons while the device is inside.
Just as with Wave, the magnets used to hold the flap and body together are visible and somewhat unattractive; they’re not as obvious within the flap, but the two on Illuzion’s body have flattened the textured leather and are quite perceptible. It is worth noting that those magnets can inadvertently activate the automatic wake/sleep feature Apple has been touting as a benefit of the iPad Smart Cover, so disabling the iPad Cover Lock/Unlock setting is a good idea before using this case.
While we are happy to see a lower priced iPad 2-ready alternative to Wave, the truth remains: sleeves aren’t the most practical case solutions for the iPad or iPad 2. The same dollars can buy a case with similar protection, an integrated stand, and more device-specific design, as well. That said, we’d call Illuzion’s overall package pretty good—it’s not the fanciest or most impressive leather we’ve seen in an iPad sleeve, but it’s also more affordable than some. Consequently, though the $60 asking price doesn’t translate into great value for the functionality, it’s a reasonable entry point for a leather product, and a much more realistic solution than Wave for someone who does like sleeves. Illuzion is worthy of a limited recommendation, rather than a glowing one.