We’ve recently discussed a wide variety of Smart Cover-compatible shells for the iPad 2 at length, rating a number of the options that have arrived for testing. Belkin has since released Snap Shield ($30), a new entry into the field. Available in clear or smoke, this case doesn’t differ greatly from any others that we have seen, but it’s a clean implementation of the same idea.
This hard plastic shell has a soft-touch rubber finish. Like many of the better models, Smart Cover-compatible or not, Snap Shield extends all the way to all four edges of the tablet. All of the openings are clean and precise; the one for the Sleep/Wake button did catch our attention as the top portion runs right up the edge of the button. The case doesn’t actually touch it though, and the button is still fully usable.
Belkin also chose to leave the speaker completely exposed, rather than use some form of partial covering. Along the left side of the shell is the traditional gap to accommodate the Smart Cover. It is just tall enough, although there is extra width that leaves about 3/16-inch of the aluminum back exposed—it is a rather negligible amount, but some shells do come right to the edge.
Snap Shield’s most direct competitor is SwitchEasy’s CoverBuddy. While close to identical, CoverBuddy does beat Belkin’s model in price by $5 and has speaker coverage; neither includes any sort of extra frills in the package. We see Snap Shield as just the smallest step below CoverBuddy, meriting a B rating. It is a still good option, and a fluctuation in price between the two could certainly tip the scale in the other direction.
Company and Price
Model: Snap Shield
Compatible: iPad 2