We’ve recently reviewed a number of shells for the iPad 2 that are compatible with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover — many can be seen here. For the most part they’re almost identical thin plastic cases, set apart only by the smallest tweaks and their prices. Aviiq has released its Smart Case for iPad 2 ($50), and though the differences aren’t profound, it does offer the biggest variations on the theme so far.
What sets Smart Case apart is the metallic plate grafted into the otherwise plastic shell, a unique feature that thickens this shell considerably relative to competitors. The anodized aluminum is made to match the colors of some of Apple’s Smart Covers. And, well, that’s it—in every other way, it is a traditional shell. Extending out from the underneath the aluminum, plastic extends all the way to the four edges. Openings for the ports are very narrowly tailored, and though they provide about as much protection as possible, they make it difficult and in some cases impossible to connect oversized plugs—Apple’s Digital AV Adapter doesn’t fit, nor will oversized headphone plugs. That said, we like the remainder of the extra coverage, as some of the shells we have seen don’t reach all the way to the top and bottom edges, and leave large portions of the iPad 2 exposed. There is one large opening for the speaker, unlike some other cases which cover it with a series of holes or dots. Along the right is a slot to accommodate Smart Cover. It is just tall enough, and leaves a gap of about 1/8”.
Smart Case is pretty successful, providing thorough protection and looking pretty good at the same time. The only real problems are accessory compatibility and the price. We like the aluminum backplate as a nice accent. Many comparable cases are in the $25-$35 range though; $50 is just too much for such a simple shell. Combined with a Smart Cover, the total solution is at least $90. Because of these issues, we’d offer only a limited recommendation on this one; consider it primarily if the metal finish really appeals to you enough to pay a premium for it, and handle the extra thickness it requires.
Company and Price
Model: Smart Case
Compatible: iPad 2