Along with a handful of other cases, X-Doria has introduced its SmartStyle ($60), compatible with both the iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad. The folio-style case sports a very familiar design that combines a molded plastic shell with a Smart Cover-like lid. Although the concept can work well when executed properly, X-Doria hasn’t quite pulled it off.
The lid is made of real leather, although it’s thin and flattened—definitely not the nicest stuff we’ve seen. Running down the two creases that allow it to fold are repeating patterns of small and large dots, framed by stitching. Although intended to be decorative the low quality of these patterns takes away from the overall appeal of the case and in our opinion X-Doria would have been better off leaving them out entirely; the circles are generally misshapen, and on the white version show very unappealing brown marks that look like rust, dirt, or burnt material. On a somewhat positive note, the magnets embedded in the lid do work properly to automatically lock and unlock the iPad 2 and third-generation iPad, although unfortunately much like Targus’ Slim Case, the cover moves up and down too easily, potentially causing the tablet to turn on unintentionally and drain the battery.
Further, the lid is segmented into only three portions and therefore can’t hold its own triangular shape when used as a viewing stand. To support it, X-Doria built a 3.5” magnet into the plastic shell, located about halfway up and directly in line with the headphone port, as well as a pair of raised ridges. We found only the one closest to the hinge to be useful though; the other is too far away to be used in any effective manner. We thought it might work to support a typing angle, but it doesn’t, although the triangular structure does work in that position. A second magnet is located underneath the iSight camera, and holds the lid in place when it’s folded underneath. Otherwise, the shell is pretty standard, extending just about all the way to the four edges with the appropriate openings for the buttons and ports.
We don’t find fault with the basic concept behind SmartStyle, but X-Doria simply missed on too many of the details, big and small. For the price, we would have expected to see higher quality leather that in the very least does not look dirty and rough as well as a magnetic lid that actually stays properly in place. The shell is fine, but we’ve seen better implementations of the folding cover that don’t require the unsightly ridges. Better looking and performing cases can be had for the same price; we advise you to steer clear of this one.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)