Plastic shells are conceptually basic, and have become one of the most popular case styles available for the iPad 2. They provide coverage for the aluminum back, but leave the glass face completely exposed. Two of the most recent models are SwitchEasy’s Nude ($30) and Simplism’s Crystal Cover Set ($30), which we review together today.
Of the two shells, the Crystal Cover Set is less protective by just a bit. It covers almost all of the back of the iPad 2 with the notable exception of the top, where there is an opening that runs from the Sleep/Wake button to past the headphone port, and right below both. The bottom, however, is properly protected with appropriate openings for the Dock Connector port and a 12 x 4 grid of boxes over the speaker. There is also a cutout for the side switch and volume rocker, with another hole for the camera.
Crystal Cover Set is available in clear, translucent purple, translucent black, and solid white. The colored see-through models look nice, as they allow for the Apple log to show through without showing every piece of trapped dust or dirt. Each comes with a screen protector film, polishing cloth, a squeegee, dust removing tape, and a portable stand. The stand is really basic white plastic. Two halves opens horizontally, folding flat while not in use. Cutouts along the top and bottom edges allow for two different viewing angles in either orientation.
Nude has a form factor that is close to identical, but does provide more coverage at the top. Instead of a long opening the plastic extends all the way up, with spaces for the headphone port, microphone, and Sleep/Wake button. The cutouts for the rear camera, side switch, volume rocker, and Dock Connector port are almost exactly the same size and shape as those on Crystal Cover Set. One other difference is the speaker coverage. Rather than a grid, there is simply a row of oval shaped openings that works just as well.
SwitchEasy’s case comes with plenty of extras: color-matched headphone port and Dock Connector protectors, screen film, a cleaning cloth, film applicator card, and two video stands—one white and one black. The stands are a bit nicer than Simplism’s: their three pieces of plastic expand into a locked triangular shape. A small lip at the bottom holds the iPad 2 in place in either landscape or portrait orientation, although there is only one viewing angle. UltraBlack, UltraClear, white, blue, fuchsia, lime, and red models of Nude are available; all of the colors are bright and attractive.
It’s worth noting at this point that both of these models have correlates that are compatible with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover; SwitchEasy’s CoverBuddy and Simplism’s Smart Back Cover. These previously reviewed options have an opening to magnetically attach the lid, don’t have any pack-ins, and cost $5 less, while offering zero screen protection of their own, a major differentiator in protection relative to the versions covered today. CoverBuddy earned a B+ rating, so thanks to its additional protection and accessories for just a few dollars more, Nude is worthy of an A-. We highly recommend it. For the same reasons, Crystal Cover Set earns a B+, compared to the B that Smart Back Cover received. Either is a very good option for minimalist iPad 2 protection, but the greater top and port protection, better stands, and wider array of colors make SwitchEasy’s offering a better purchase for the same price.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2