Apple iPad Smart Cover

Updated 11 May: six more cases added.

The iPad 2: it's thin, it's shiny and, at the time of writing, it's in astonishingly short supply relative to demand. If you have managed to get your hands on an iPad 2, it would be wise to protect it with some sort of case. But which case is best? While Apple's own Smart Cover gathered plenty of press, it's not the only option on the market.

We've gathered as many early case and accessory samples as we could and gave them a test run. Given that there's still a few at retail and plenty in the hands of Aussie consumers, we've also assessed these cases for how well they work with the original iPad. Accessories for the original are becoming tougher to find, so it's good to know which accessories manage to cross the iPad generation gap.

Seen a case we haven't covered yet? Drop us a line and we'll try to chase it down!

RRP: AU$45 (Polyurethane); AU$79 (Leather/Project RED)

Rating: 9/10

Magnets: Yes

Original iPad Compatibility: Not without extensive hacking — see here if you're brave

What we liked
The smart cover is undeniably smart; it snaps onto the iPad 2 effortlessly, folds up into a stand and uses magnets for smart and simple waking of your iPad 2. It adds only a millimetre or two to the iPad 2, keeping things nicely thin. We rather disliked the original "official" iPad case, but the Smart Cover is an object of pure geek lust.

What we hated
It's a stretch to call this a "case" in any real sense. It's a front cover, and as such does nothing at all to protect the back of the iPad 2 at all. On the original iPad, this was less of a problem save for scratches, but the iPad 2 includes a rear-mounted camera that the Smart Cover leaves completely unprotected.

Verdict
A stylish and slim case, and a whole lot better than the original Apple iPad Case, but not much of a complete protection solution.

Updated:
Photo by: Apple / Caption by:

Gecko Gaming Glove

RRP: AU$29.95

Rating: 7/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: No

What we liked
The gaming glove is a silicon case — mostly featured on the back, although there are contoured sides that make for easy gripping, along with protuberances at the rear that aid this particular case in protecting your iPad 2 should you drop it. All the necessary ports are within easy reach, and the case's "gaming" focus is shown off nicely if you play any games that require a lot of tilting. This is a very easy case to grip once you've slipped it onto your iPad 2.

What we hated
You know how one of the key selling points of the iPad 2 is that it's slimmer than the original iPad? The Gaming Glove reverses that, and then some, leaving you with a chunky and oddly contoured tablet to carry around.

Verdict
A good occasional-use case for the iPad gamer, but not likely to be your main iPad 2 case.

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Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

Gecko Traveller for iPad

RRP: AU$19.95

Rating: 7/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes

What we liked
The Traveller is a very simple sleeve for protecting the iPad 2 (or the original iPad) in transit. There's a slight cop to style in the form of coloured stitching; our review sample was a rather fetching red. It's very easy to slip an iPad 2 into the Traveller pouch.

What we hated
The downside of easy insertion is easy removal. Hold the traveller the wrong way up (or place it the wrong way in your bag) and the iPad 2 will very easily drop straight out. A fixative tab at the top of some sort would completely rectify this problem, but it's notably absent.

Verdict
An inexpensive travel sleeve that works well as long as you hold it the right way up.

Updated:
Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

Gecko Swagbag

RRP: AU$19.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes

What we liked
For better or for worse, the Swagbag is an anorak. It's a padded, zipped-up case in the same style as the Targus Crave Slipcase we reviewed for the original iPad. Elastic straps hold the iPad 2 in loosely, and the whole effect of the case is to make for a rather puffy, almost huggable iPad 2.

What we hated
It's still an anorak, and does absolutely nothing to show off the iPad 2 at all. It's also remarkably soft, and while this might suggest some shock protection, we suspect sufficient force on the case would crack an iPad 2 much more quickly than with a rigid case, as there's little to stop such force.

Verdict
An inexpensive raincoat for your iPad 2.

Updated:
Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

Belkin Flip Folio Stand

RRP: AU$49.95

Rating: 5/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Only with excessive force

What we liked
Belkin sent us two samples of the Flip Folio to test, each with different dotted highlights inlaid into the folio-style case cover. An elastic strap holds it closed nicely, and grooves in the interior of the case allow for a variety of viewing angles.

What we hated
There's no magnet support, so instant on is off the menu. The iPad 2 also lines up slightly oddly within the folio, making reaching the power button a little fiddly, which makes that particular problem even more noticeable. As with most folio cases, you're also sacrificing a lot of the iPad 2's innate thinness simply by using it.

Verdict
A good protective case, but it doesn''t do all that much to make the most of the iPad 2's features.

Updated:
Photo by: Belkin / Caption by:

Belkin Verve Folio

RRP: AU$69.95

Rating: 5/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Only with force

What we liked
The Verve Folio is essentially the Flip Folio in a leather-style finish, but without the dot pattern inlaid into the cover. It still holds closed nicely with an elastic strap, and allows for multi-angle viewing from the same grooves present in the Flip Folio's case. The leather is slightly thicker than the Flip Folio, giving it more of a protective focus.

What we hated
It's even thicker than the Flip Folio, so you're once again losing the cool thin edge of the iPad 2. Lining up the power button was once again a challenge, although slightly less of one than with the Flip Folio, and once again magnets are nowhere to be seen.

Verdict
A nice-looking protective case, but not a cheap or particularly feature-rich one.

Updated:
Photo by: Belkin / Caption by:

Cygnett Glam

RRP: AU$69.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: Yes

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes, although it doesn't close all that neatly

What we liked
The Glam is, as the name suggests, a highly conspicuous case in a highly glossy finish. It's a folio that provides good protection to the iPad 2, holding it in place with a velcro tab. It's got magnetic support for instant on, and that worked flawlessly for us. Solid strips within the front case cover allow for three viewing angles in widescreen mode.

What we hated
It screams extrovert. That might not fuss some folks, of course, but if you've ever worried about carrying around something that's very obviously got a Tablet of some sort within it, this might not be the case for you.

Verdict
The catwalk stand folio of choice.

Updated:
Photo by: Cygnett / Caption by:

Cygnett Lavish Earth

RRP: AU$69.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: Yes

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes, although it doesn't close all that neatly

What we liked
There's an easy way to describe the Lavish Earth. Take the Glam, remove all that high-gloss finish and replace it with what can only be described as "earthy" tones. To be more specific, the two samples we tested were apparently "Sandstone" and the slightly less elegantly titled "Purple", but we'd just call them nicely muted. Like the Glam, the magnets in the cover allow for instant on and off, as well as keeping the case closed.

What we hated
Like most folio cases, the one thing you won't get with the Lavish Earth is anything resembling a ''"thin" iPad 2.

Verdict
A good all-purpose folio case.

Updated:
Photo by: Cygnett / Caption by:

Cygnett Windsor

RRP: AU$79.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: Yes

Original iPad Compatibility: It'll fit, but the tight case keeps trying to switch the iPad off.

What we liked
Cygnett's clearly gone in for a simple design with only small variations. The Windsor has no particular royal pedigree, but what it does have is the same essential folio design of the Lavish Earth and Glam ranges, but in "premium" leather, which Cygnett claims "exudes Old World class". It's certainly comfortable to hold, supports the same three viewing positions as the other cases and uses magnets to keep itself closed and switch the iPad 2 on and off.

What we hated
You might be gaining "old world" class — although that's a claim we're doubtful about, to be frank with you — but like all the other folio cases, you're also adding a lot of bulk and thickness to the iPad 2.

Verdict
If leather's your thing, the Windsor works well enough.

Updated:
Photo by: Cygnett / Caption by:

Logic 3 Leather Case Stand

RRP: AU$39.95

Rating: 9/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes, with only minor bulging

What we liked
Logic 3's take on the iPad 2 folio is a little different than most. Rather than folding open book-style, the Case Stand opens outwards from a pattern that reminded us rather of teeth. This affords you a minor privacy shield from the sides when opened in portrait-mode and a fold-back stand in widescreen mode with two viewing positions.

What we hated
There's no magnetic support for instant-on. In portrait-mode, it's also a little difficult to hold open, especially when standing or on public transport. Despite the Stand function inherent in the product's name, there are only two viewing angles on offer. Many other cases offer multiple viewing angles.

Verdict
For a leather case, this is quite nice and very competitively priced.

Updated:
Photo by: Logic / Caption by:

Griffin Elan Sleeve For iPad

RRP: AU$59.95

Rating: 6/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes but with squishing.

What we liked
The Elan Sleeve is, as the name suggests, a sleeve for your iPad 2, with more of a focus on stowing it safely in a bag than using it on-the-go. A single tab holds the Elan Sleeve down, but it's also the party piece for this particular case, as it's elastic. Remove it from the tab closure and give it a pull, and the iPad 2 contained within starts to slide out.

What we hated
For a simple sleeve, this is fairly expensive, and even with the somewhat cool trick of being able to pull the iPad 2 out with the elastic tab, it's still a slow and fiddly way to access it if you need it in a hurry.

Verdict
A good protective case at a rather high asking price.

Updated:
Photo by: Griffin / Caption by:

Griffin Elan Passport for iPad

RRP: AU$59.95

Rating: 5/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes

What we liked
The Elan Passport is a reasonably thin folio style case as they go, and it's certainly a case that's easy to pop an iPad 2 — or for that matter an original iPad — into and out of. The interior of the folio has spaces for cards and documents, something that many folio cases omit.

What we hated
In fact, it's a better original iPad case than it is an iPad 2 case, as the elastic straps hold the slightly thicker original iPad in place more securely than they do the iPad 2.

Verdict
Good for the older iPad crowd, but if you've got an actual iPad 2, look elsewhere.

Updated:
Photo by: Griffin / Caption by:

SwitchEasy Ribcage

RRP: AU$59.95

Rating: 9/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes

What we liked
If you've looked at the iPad 2 and thought, "what this needs is more of an HR Giger feel," then the Ribcage might just be the case for you. It's essentially a sleeve in the same style as other iPad 2 sleeves, with the notable difference being that the deep black colour, and the ribs that make up the front of the case. Pop your iPad 2 into it with the glass facing the ribs, and it should be protected from all but the hardest knocks. The Ribcage also comes with lots of added goodies, including a screen protector, screen wipes and black-and-white plastic iPad stands.

What we hated
This is a case that most assuredly will scare small children. Even leaving that aside, it's also bulkier than other sleeves due to the presence of the ribs. The extras are nice and the stands work acceptably well, but you'd need to sort out somewhere else to store them separately to the Ribcage sleeve itself.

Verdict
A disturbing-looking sleeve with protection on its mind.

Updated:
Photo by: SwitchEasy / Caption by:

Gecko Carbon Folio

RRP: AU$39.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: A tight fit, but yes.

What we liked
Given the name, it's perhaps not a surprise that the Carbon Folio is meant to look like it's made of carbon fibre; perfect, perhaps, for the petrol-head iPad 2 community. Inside, the look is more muted with a gecko motif softly inlaid. It folds up for three viewing angles and holds the iPad 2 very solidly in place, while making all buttons easy to access. A hard rubber strap also keeps it firmly closed when not in use.

What we hated
It's not actually carbon fibre; at this price all you get is "carbon fibre-like" material on the outside and "suede-like" material on the inside. That snug fit also means that while your iPad 2 isn't likely to fall out, it's also not that easy to take out, either. It's also a magnet-free zone if automatic switching is important to you.

Verdict
A very solid and good-looking case as long as you're happy to always keep it on.

Updated:
Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

Padacs Rubata 2

RRP: AU$79.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: Yes, but not in the way you'd think.

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes. Technically compatible with anything that supports Bluetooth.

What we liked
The updated version of PADACS' Rubata keyboard has been slimmed down slightly in its iPad 2 version. The keyboard's been redesigned with a larger delete key, a dedicated .com button for when you're entering URLs and brightness controls built-in. The main power, charging and Bluetooth buttons have also been redesigned and are much easier to use.

What we hated
Our review sample was an early prototype; we're hopeful that some of these flaws will be fixed. The cut-out sections for front camera and the iPad button are indistinct and this makes it easy to put the iPad in back-to-front. No problem there for screen spinning, but one side offers far easier access to the screen lock/mute switch and volume controls than the other. As with the original Rubata, while we prefer the physical keyboard to the soft rubber of the Toccata, it flexes a little if placed solely on the lap.

Verdict
If you type a lot and can deal with keeping it charged, it's a good solution.

Updated:
Photo by: Padacs / Caption by:

Kensington Virtuoso Touch Stylus & Pen

Yes, we know this is actually an accessory, not a case — just checking whether you're still paying attention!

RRP: AU$29.95

Rating: 7/10

Magnets: N/A

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes. Compatible with any capacitive touchscreen, really. Also paper.

What we liked
The Virtuoso is a pen. Really, a pen, with ink — it takes Parker-style pen refills if ink's your thing. So what's it doing anywhere near an iPad 2? That'd be the other end of the pen, which eschews a rubber style eraser in favour of a soft rubber tip that can be used with any iPad application, but has obvious utility for drawing or note-taking applications or touch-enabled games that use lots of tapping. Those with specific physical disabilities may also find a pen easier to use.

What we hated
The soft rubber takes a specific amount of pushing down to get an active response from an iPad 2, and this does have a learning curve. You'd also obviously be kicking yourself if you accidentally used the wrong end of the pen on your iPad 2.

Verdict
Useful if you actually need a physical pen along with your iPad 2.

Updated:
Photo by: Kensington / Caption by:

Griffin Elan Folio Slim

RRP: AU$49.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: No — it fits, but the front cover won't close.

What we liked
: The biggest problem with Apple's Smart Cover is that it does nothing to protect the back of the iPad 2. The Elan Folio Slim solves this, with a very thin wrap-around case that keeps the iPad 2 profile nice and slim and completely covered. The cover also folds at the back to create a single angle that's very similar to that of Apple's original iPad case.

What we hated
It's really thin, and as such, the level of protection offered isn't great. Our review sample also had a couple of stitching faults near the dock connector that looked unsightly.

Verdict
A good all-around case, as long as you don't need lots of protection for your iPad 2.

Updated:
Photo by: Griffin / Caption by:

Gecko Folio Deluxe

RRP: AU$59.95

Rating: 7/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: No

What we liked
The Folio Deluxe has a nice, soft touch interior and not one but two stands within it to allow for multiple viewing angles. Button access is nicely unrestricted, and like most thick folios, there's a solid level of iPad 2 protection on offer.

What we hated
The side clip that holds the iPad 2 isn't all that large, and only just holds the iPad 2. Like all thick folio-style covers, you lose the innate thin and cool style of the iPad 2 when it's within.

Verdict
A nice enough case, but nothing that truly stands out.

Updated:
Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

Gecko Keyboard Folio

RRP: AU$99.95

Rating: 7/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes, but the side clip on the folio hangs loose. Technically compatible with other Bluetooth products.

What we liked
The Keyboard Folio is a combined Folio and Bluetooth keyboard, similar to the Padacs Rubata 2. The big key difference is that the keyboard is removable; you could technically use it with the iPad 2 and any other case if you didn't mind it being out and loose. A single stand on the back provides for an elongated viewing and typing position.

What we hated
The rubber soft touch keyboard is tough to get to grips with, and the way it sits in the case makesthespacebarparticularlytoughtoaccessaccurately. Ahem. It's also got the layout flaw we hated on the original Padacs Toccata keyboard, in that the apostrophe key has been shuffled down near the arrow keys. The stand works, but only really on a desk; its elongated nature makes it a pain to juggle on your lap.

Verdict
Neat removable keyboard, but the Rubata still has the better overall keyboard experience.

Updated:
Photo by: Gecko / Caption by:

SwitchEasy CARA

RRP: AU$69.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: No

What we liked
The CARA is a hard rubber case on one side and a polycarbonate shell on the other. The word shell is apt; the back casing makes it look like the kind of iPad 2 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would use. It's very robust while being slender, and more functional than the similar SwitchEasy Ribcage. It's also decked out with extras, including hard seals for the dock and headphone sockets, as well as the same screen protector and black and white iPad stands that come with the Ribcage.

What we hated
It's quite tough to actually pop an iPad 2 into the CARA, and equally tricky to remove it if you want access to it again.

Verdict
A very solid protection option for iPad 2 users.

Updated:
Photo by: SwitchEasy / Caption by:

Booqpad iPad 2 Agenda

RRP: AU$79.95

Rating: 8/10

Magnets: No

Original iPad Compatibility: Yes

What we liked
The Booqpad Agenda surprised us on many levels. For a start, out of the box, it opens with the iPad 2 on the left, rather than the right. It's made out of soft and very comfortable leather with a very solid metal buckle. But that's just the start; the really surprising aspect of the Agenda is that it comes with a notepad.

Yeah, a notepad. You know, paper. It sits on the right-hand side, along with slots for a pen and several business card-sized apertures.

What we hated
It's a thick and chunky folio, and it's slightly more tricky to get open thanks to the metal clasp — although that again could be seen as a plus. Unlike many other folios, there's no attention paid to landscape viewing angles; this is purely a handheld iPad 2 case.

Verdict
A good tool for those who need to hand around notes as well as tap away on their iPad 2.

Updated:
Photo by: Booqpad / Caption by:

SwitchEasy Canvas

RRP: AU$69.95

Rating: 6/10

Magnets: Yes

Original iPad Compatibility: No

What we liked
The Canvas' outer casing is covered in weather-resistant canvas; this gives it a unique look and a really solid and durable feel without being as eye arresting as cases like the Ribcage or CARA cases. As with other SwitchEasy products, it also comes with a screen protector and covers for the headphone and dock connectors, but you don't get the white/black iPad stands, because the Canvas offers three tilted ridges for differing viewing angles. It's also one of the few non-Apple cases to date to offer on-board magnets for automatic power switching.

What we hated
The catch that holds the folio shut is tough. Really, really tough. That's good for keeping it closed, but we struggled to get it to open or even to close it because it's so hard and unrelenting. This also makes the instant-on magnets a touch moot; by the time you've struggled to open the case you could easily have pressed a button anyway.

Verdict
A very solid case that's surprisingly tough to get into.

Updated:
Photo by: SwitchEasy / Caption by:
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