What's the iPad 2's best case scenario?

Even with the Smart Cover, finding a perfect case for the iPad 2 isn't as easy as it seems.

Smart Cover plus back skin: the best way to go?
Smart Cover plus back skin: the best way to go? Scott Stein/CNET

After hunting with surprising difficulty last week, I finally ended up upgrading to an iPad 2. As for my old iPad, I packed it up and resold it. Along with it, I sent along some of my favorite cases, since they'll no longer be of use anymore.

Which brings me to my current conundrum. While I'm happy with the improved zippiness of the iPad 2, I'm not as thrilled with its case options thus far.

I played with a number of cases and bags for the original iPad, trying to find the best fit. For me, it was almost always a no-brainer: Apple's own microfiber case turned out to offer the best protection and feel, while offering a slim profile.

With the iPad 2, it's a different story. Like many others, I'm sure, I ended up buying a Smart Cover. It's hard to resist if you've already plunked down the cash for the iPad 2, and it has a flexible feature set, along with its unique ability to turn the iPad 2 on and off.

But, it's not a protective case at all. Far from it: the iPad 2's metal back is exposed, and barely any protection is afforded to the chassis at all. I'd rather not scratch it up or risk abrasion.

The solution? Hard to say at this point. While a good number of dedicated iPad 2 cases are out there, many don't support the Smart Cover. The Targus 360-degree Rotating Stand case I've played with has a nice profile and good padding, but that Smart Cover has to come off.

While I hated the idea of "iPad skins" with last-generation models, there's something to be said about the idea now. BodyGuardz is one of several companies making adhesive scratch-guards. Their Carbon Fiber Armor isn't made of carbon fiber: rather, it's crosshatch-patterned nylon. What it does--protect the back from scratches--seems to complement the smart cover perfectly. Is Smart Cover plus skin the ideal solution?

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