This is the first review I am doing for iPad 2 cases. I will write about my whole iPad 2 setup in a later post probably sometime next week.
The iPad 2 cases are really interesting as compared to the earlier cases for the first generation iPad simply due to the existence of Apple’s Smart Cover. it’s viewed by many as one of the “features” of the iPad 2, despite it being a separate purchase. Thus the most interesting iPad 2 cases are those that work with it, or tries to emulate its functionality completely and offer a complete package. While I still like folio-type cases, the Smart Cover-accommodating or Smart Cover-inspired cases are definitely my favorite this year round.
And here’s my first iPad 2 case review.
To most iPhone and iPad owning Singaporeans, The Joy Factory is not a familiar name. I will go as far as even saying that before the iPad 2 launch, almost no one has ever heard of the iPhone and iPad accessories maker locally.
With the iPad 2 launch locally, however, many new owners are searching for something to protect the backs of their iPad 2s, yet at the same time work with their new Apple Smart Covers, an official accessory from Apple which is in itself one of the reasons why one will get an iPad 2 for. There were many folio-type and snap-on iPad 1 cases that were modified for the iPad 2 on the market, but a lot of them cost more than 80SGD and all of them don’t work with the Smart Covers. Many owners were looking for a Power Support Air Jacket type snap-on back cover, one that has been modified to work with the Smart Cover.
On Launch Day, there were only 2 or 3 types of such snap-on back cases available for the iPad 2, and the word on the streets is “to get the ‘JOY’ one because it’s much better”.
That “JOY” snap-on case is the SmartFit 2 case from the Joy Factory, available in limited quantities at limited locations such as the infinite Apple reseller booths at Best Denki.
My brother bought one on Launch Day, and at first glance it feels tough and sturdy enough, yet keeps the total thickness of the iPad 2 with the case to a minimum. However, the SmartFit 2 seems susceptible to scratches, as the review unit that I’ve received from their local distributor has scratches over various spots of the case (it is probably used before). This problem is common among cases of similar design though, including the Power Support Air Jacket (which scratches easily too and on top of that, is also very prone to breakage), so it isn’t a deal breaker, for myself at least.
Three weeks after the local iPad 2 launch though, competitors’ products have become more readily available through distribution channels. One direct competing product to the SmartFit 2 is Switcheasy’s CoverBuddy, which is also a snap-on case that works with the Smart Cover. The CoverBuddy is however, thicker than the SmartFit 2. One of the main reasons to get the iPad 2 if you already have the first generation is for the thinness of the iPad 2, and how well it feels in your hand because of the thinness. This is why I went with a iCarbons Carbon-fibre back skin for scratch protection while not increasing the thickness of the device by much, if any. A snap-on case, if so preferred, should only increase the thickness to a bare minimum while not compromising on the strength of the product.
Another reason why one will go for the SmartFit 2 is the design of the snap-on parts of the case. You fit the SmartFit 2 onto the iPad 2 by sliding the iPad 2 in from the left, then snapping on the two left corners. The entire right side and the two left corners of the SmartFit 2 grip the iPad 2 and hold the case on to it.
On the Switcheasy, however, the 2 left corners, the top, the bottom and the entire right side of the case all snap on to the iPad 2. All corners covered? Think again. The more snap-on parts there are, the higher the chance of the case scratching the metallic sides of your brand new iPad 2. Switcheasys traditionally have a problem of scratching the device they are designed to protect. The Capsule scratched my first generation iPhone, the CapsuleRebel scratched my iPhone 3G, and the NUDE scratched my iPhone 4. The scratching for Switcheasy’s snap-on cases like the NUDE usually happens when you try to remove the case, because they snap on way too many corners. It’s fine if you don’t ever intend to take the iPad/iPhone out of its case, but how many people stick with the same case for the life of their device?
Just for the design alone I will always pick the SmartFit 2 over the CoverBuddy. There are two color options available – black or NONE. LOL. Get the clear one if you are getting one.
The case should be available at the Infinite Apple reseller booths in various Best Denki, and Juzz 1 in Parkway. But don’t get it from the fuckers at Juzz 1 less you get a faulty product and they suddenly pretend their 7-day one-to-one exchange policy never existed like they did to some people I know. Fucking arseholes.