With a case as simple as a sleeve, it’s not easy to make big updates from generation to generation; there’s simply not that much that can be changed. Spigen SGP did about as much as possible with the newest version of its iPad 2- and iPad (3rd-Gen)- compatible Illuzion ($48). Based on last year’s model, this one shows real improvements in ways that really matter. We’re happy to see the company moving forward, rather than resting on its laurels.
Illuzion is conceptually almost as simple as it gets, serving as a basic sleeve with a flap to hold your iPad secure when it’s not in use. Both of Apple’s later-generation iPads fit in the sleeve well, with or without a Smart Cover attached. The new model maintains almost identical dimensions to the old one, with the only noticeable difference being the front flap is about half an inch shorter. Both are made from genuine leather, but we preferred the feel of the material on this version. We commented that the original was “a little less sturdy and substantial” than competitors; the material on the 2012 version feels nicer and is reinforced so that it’s not so floppy.
Opening the flap reveals a few more changes. Now, instead of slightly rough fabric stamped with a repeating SGP logo lining the inside of the sleeve, there’s an improved, softer suede-like material. The company also addressed one of our aesthetic concerns: instead of embedded magnets that mar the nice leather, it chose to use silver external connectors to hold the flap shut this time around. All of these changes certainly improve Illuzion’s look.
Not only did SGP make some really nice improvements, it also dropped the price of its sleeve by $12, and that’s appreciated. But here’s the thing: even though we like this revamped, less expensive model better, it’s still just a simple sleeve with limited functionality. It’ll keep your iPad protected during travel, and that’s about it. The same cash can buy you a really nice case that offers full-time protection and does more, too. Because of the significant improvements, the new Illuzion gets bumped up to earn our general recommendation, a true rarity by sleeve standards. It’s a genuinely good option in its field, as limited in functionality as that field may be.
Company and Price
Company: Spigen SGP
Compatible: iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)