Apple iPad Smart Case (dark gray) review: Apple iPad Smart Case (dark gray)

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0

Average User Rating

5 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:

The Good The iPad Smart Case offers comfortable, solid wraparound protection for your third-gen iPad or iPad 2.

The Bad The Smart Case is wobbly when folded into a vertical stand, and it doesn't offer all that much that other cases don't already provide.

The Bottom Line Apple's iPad Smart Case is a reliable and solid folio case that offers much more protection than the Smart Cover, but it's nowhere near as magical.

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When the clever Smart Cover debuted alongside the iPad 2, a problem emerged: as functional, easy, and downright cool as the Smart Cover is, it doesn't protect the tablet's back. Plenty of back covers with cut-outs for Smart Cover compatibility started to emerge to address the problem, but finding the right fit has always been hard...and, when you add together the cost of the Smart Cover and a back case, expensive.

Apple's newly released iPad Smart Case looks, at first, like the perfect answer. The $49 full-folio case has a Smart Cover-like front, and also has a back. Together, it's...well, it's a folio case. That's the problem: really, it's nothing new in the iPad case landscape. However, the Smart Case is Apple's own first full iPad case since the original microfiber iPad case in 2010.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In many ways, the Smart Case is really a throwback to that original case: the segmented, folding cover was an idea that started with that microfiber case, not the Smart Cover. The Smart Case is made entirely from polyurethane with suedelike microfiber on all inside surfaces, and a set of magnets on the edge of the cover flap to automatically wake the iPad 2 or third-gen iPad from sleep.

The case comes in six colors, most of them matching the candy-pastel look of the polyurethane Smart Covers: blue, green, pink, red, light gray, and dark gray. I tried the dark gray, which actually looks medium-gray to my eyes. A white Apple logo is printed on the back.

Sarah Tew

So, is this case a regression in form? It depends on your perspective. If you value good, solid protection, this is progress. The all-microfiber case feels cut from a single material, soft to the touch and yet just a little bit sturdy. All areas of the iPad are covered up, even the volume buttons, which have molded areas you can press through the case. I don't know if this case would be shockproof, but like the original iPad case, it should survive a basic light drop.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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Where to Buy See all prices

Apple iPad Smart Case (dark gray)

Part Number: MD454LL/A Released: Jun 11, 2012
MSRP: $49.00 Low Price: $54.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jun 11, 2012
  • Color gray