As soon as Apple announced its iPad Smart Cover alongside the iPad 2, it was clear that third parties would be quick to adapt its features into their own cases. One such example is Sense for iPad 2 ($60) from Mivizu. The case utilizes the same style articulating front cover and magnets, all incorporated into a standard folio-style design. While the leather isn’t as nice as the top-quality stuff we’ve seen from luxury case makers, it’s appropriate for the lower price, and currently offered in black, blue, pink, grey, and green.
In looking at Sense as a leather folio, the design seems rather traditional. The iPad 2 slips into a frame on the right side and is held in place by a flap that folds underneath the left edge, staying attached with Velcro. Almost all of the bezel is covered by the frame, although there are scoops at the top and bottom for the front-facing camera and the Home button. Rather than being perpendicular to the two covers—a design that simply does not work well for the tapered shape of the iPad 2—the case’s edges hug the tablet’s curves. This leaves the buttons and ports significantly more usable. All of the openings allow full access, but they’re just a bit off-center. The speaker is the only output source that is partially covered; over it, there are 27 roughly punched holes that provide some protection without blocking the sound at all. A piece of soft padded leather is sewn on to the back to provide a little bit of extra protection.
Sense’s front cover is taller and wider than Smart Cover, but is split into the same array of four columns. It is connected to the back by a somewhat floppy piece of leather—it should have had some sort of reinforcement to make it feel sturdier. Part of the reason Apple’s lid works so well as a stand is that it magnetically attaches to itself, a feature that enables it to maintain its shape. Sense folds into a triangular stand in a similar fashion but doesn’t lock in position at all. Both typing and viewing angles are supported; they just don’t feel that sturdy and can come unfurled when the iPad 2 is moved. There are magnets in the two left corners of the cover, but they aren’t strong enough to connect to those on the right.
However, the magnets do help hold the cover shut against the bezel, which has corresponding magnets in the four corners. As we have seen with some other leather cases that utilize this kind of connection, the magnets show through and the material is slightly flattened by the pressure from the case being held closed. We think this really takes away from the visual appeal of a case, although it is more excusable in a $60 option such as Sense than some of the significantly more expensive options we have seen. The magnets do have the added benefit of activating the automatic sleep/wake feature of the iPad 2, although they can accidentally trigger it when the cover is folded underneath.
Mivizu had the right overall idea with Sense. Combining full body protection with a Smart Cover-like lid certainly makes sense and will appeal to a lot of people. We would like to see the company refine the implementation of the stand feature though, as it is the most obvious weak spot in an otherwise rather successful case. For the $60 price point the quality of the material is totally acceptable; it at least feels more “leathery” than the $69 leather Smart Cover, and there is considerably more protection. So while it’s not a perfect case, it’s a good one, earning a B rating and our general recommendation.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2