iPad 2 Case Review: The Joy Factory’s SmartSuit2

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The iPad 2 is slimmer than the original iPad. It is lighter than the original iPad. It has two cameras so you can Facetime or shoot video. All of those were nice upgrades from the first iPad but none of them are the BEST feature of the iPad 2. No, the BEST feature, in my humble opinion, is the smart Sleep/Awake functionality. Within days of getting the iPad 2 I had forgotten that I even needed to use the home button to turn on the iPad. Now I simply put the cover over the screen and BAM! – it goes to sleep. Uncover the screen and BAM! – it wakes up.

I love this new feature! What I do not love are the overpriced, less-than-durable-enough Smart Covers that are available from Apple. The Smart Covers leave the entire back of the iPad exposed and that is a huge concern for me. Fortunately numerous companies have begun to ship a variety of cases that DO protect the back of the iPad while maintaining the Smart Cover functionality. One of the best I have encountered comes from The Joy Factory. I have been using their SmartSuit2 for the last week or so and it has quickly become my “daily driver”. Here’s why.

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From The Joy Factory:

Wrap your Apple® iPad2 in elegant synthetic leather, without adding bulk. The ultra-slim SmartSuit2 from The Joy Factory is a super slim 9.5 millimeters thick, yet made of sleek, stylish synthetic leather. The hard case snaps on easily to the back of your iPad2 to provide maximum protection, while the leather outer case provides an elegant look. The SmartSuit2 offers different convenient viewing options. Prop up your iPad2 for watching movies and videos comfortably, or lay it flat for easy typing. Simply close the case to put your iPad2 to sleep, and open it to instantly wake up the device. The SmartSuit2 comes in black or white/silver to suit your personal style.

• Ultra-slim case – only 9.5mm – envelops your iPad2 in elegant synthetic black or white silver leather, without added bulkiness.

• Wake up your iPad2 or put it to sleep instantly – just open or close the case.

• Hard case snaps on to the back of your iPad2, covering all four edges to prevent scratches and wear.

• Stand upright for video viewing and lays flat for easy typing


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The SmartSuit2 comes in simple, less-wasteful packaging. The heavy-duty plastic bag zips closed and can be repurposed. Love that!

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The case is actually a plastic interior shell that holds the iPad in place. The hard shell is then wrapped in a softer material that also makes up the “Smart Cover” portion of the SmartSuit2.

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The softer material is actually “sleek, stylish synthetic leather”. Although I love real leather I have no problem with such a material and I suspect it will wear better than actual leather would. I DO, however, have an issue that the packaging for the SmartSuit2 states that it is “The Ultra-Slim Leather Snap On Case with Wakeup/Sleep Cover for iPad 2”. I find it misleading and hope that in the future the company makes clear the fact that this is a synthetic material.

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From the top the SmartSuit2 looks just like Apple’s Smart Cover. I suspect that was the idea. :)

The company name/logo is embossed in the lower right hand corner. Because it is simply embossed it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the case but it is still quite noticeable.

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The cutouts for the camera, headphone jack, sleep/awake button and microphone are all precise. In fact, once the iPad is clicked into place the cover “becomes ones with it” to a large degree.

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Here is a look at just how refined the cutouts are. This is a very-well thought out case right down to these small details.

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A look at the bottom cutouts. For some reason they decided to have one long opening that leaves open the speaker and the dock connector and, strangely, the space between them. This doesn’t present an issue but it did catch my eye, especially since they did not take a similar approach along the top area.

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The iPad clicks into place with the hard interior shell grabbing the four corners. When it is in place the “grips” all but disappear and you are simply presented with the iPad and a cover. It is not look dissimilar to the iPad when it is used with Apple’s smart Cover. The difference here is that the iPad is actually being protected.

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A closeup of the “gripping” system. It is a refined, minimalistic way to hold the iPad.

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The cover portion of the SmartSuit2 works the same way as Apple’s Smart Cover and adds a built-in stand.

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You won’t get the multiple positions that some case/stands offer but it does present a great angle for typing on the iPad’s virtual screen.

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It will also stand the iPad upright so you can watch movies.

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I should, however, note that a slight bump on the upper side of the iPad can cause it to fall flat on its face. That does not mean it is unusable in this position, but if you do use the case for movies the surface should likely be flat and stable.

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From the back you can better appreciate the almost total protection the SmartSuit2 offers.

In all this is a great case. It doesn’t add a lot to the iPad aesthetically and it is far from the most flexible case/stand we have seen but the SmartSuit2 does fix the biggest issue many of us have with Apple’s Smart Covers and it does so in a sleek package that does not add a tremendous amount of bulk or weight. The case feels good in the hand and strikes me as being quite durable. At $60 there are less expensive options out there but when you consider what Apple charges for the Smart Covers this case, which offers twice the protection, is a bargain.

You can order the SmartSuit2 directly from The Joy Factory’s web site.

MSRP: $59.95

What I Like: Protects the back and screen of the iPad 2 while maintaining the Smart Cover functionality; well made and durable; cover doubles as a stand in the same manner as Apple’s Smart Cover

What Needs Improvement: The packaging needs to make it clearer that this is “synthetic leather”. As it stands now it is a bit misleading

Categories: Reviews


10 replies

  1. Thanks for the review. Do you like this cover or the smart cover enhancer better? Without touching either, I’m leaning towards this one, since the lid is attached…. Sometimes it is easy for the smart cover to become detached from the iPad.

    • I am really liking this case even more the more I use it. For me it really isn’t an either or. This case it a bit more bulky and heavy than the back cover/smart cover combo. There are different times when one or the other is more useful for me and I have been switching off. (the review of their back cover that works with the smart cover is coming up.)

  2. Cool. Thanks. I hope you can explain those times when one works better than the other. I guess the more I think about it. The more I think I’d like this case. I remember holding the iPad/smart cover with one hand trying to hold it up for the kids to watch movies and the smart cover popping off. I may get one of these. I’m really disappointed in the ‘smartness’ of the Sena Florence.

  3. Hey there,

    Just bought an iPad 2 today and I’m loving it! I am looking for a really nice case to get and I really hate to add bulk and weight to the iPad. At the same time, I really do not feel like giving apple $80+tax CAD for a smart cover!!

    To put it out there, I am one of those weird people that are not at all concerned about the back of their iPads. Weird, huh?

    I am however very VERY concerned about the front. I want a good quality case/cover that will protect the front and that I can rely on. From what I’ve read about the smart cover, it is definitely not the case for me.

    I recently discovered the SmartSuit2 online and your review too. I am definitely interested in it but I gotta ask about a few things first.

    Having used it for ~ a month now, how would you say it’s holding up?

    How good are the magnets that hold the case closed to the iPad? I will be taking the device with me to school on a daily basis and I do not want it flapping open in my bag and wasting precious battery life.

    I will be typing on it a lot. How does the case hold up when put in the typing position? Does it feel flimsy or well held when placed on a relatively flat surface?

    Thanks so much for your time.


    • It is holdng up VERY well!

      It doesn’t hold close but the case is designed in a way that the cover does not flop around. I would not worry truth be told.

      For typing it does pretty much like Apple’s smart cover. It stays put and really works quite well. It does add a bit of weight so that might be an issue for some people. It is not for me.

      I really like the case… And that is after using it for the last few weeks.

      • What do you mean by it doesn’t hold close?

        Does the flap lay flat against the iPad like the smart cover whenn put over the screen?

        Have you owned a smart cover for comparison?


  4. Dan, what do you mean, “It doesn’t hold close but the case is designed in a way that the cover does not flop around.”?

    I just put my smart cover back on…ooooh I love the way it stays magnetically closed and it perfectly turns the ipad on and off, no messing around lining up the corners like the Sena case.

    This case looks nice, but I love the way the Apple Smart Cover snaps closed and stays when the iPad is inverted or held face down. The case does not flop open.

    If this case flops open, perhaps I’d be better with the cases that are just for the back of the iPad and use the Smart Cover on the front.
    Thanks again, Dan.

    • I meant there is not latch, snap or other physical mechanism for holding the cover closer. The Smart Cover batteries to hold it in place however although I still find that Apple’s offering is still the strongest in this regard.

      I’m with you on the Smart Covers over all but even with the back shells that are designed to work with them on there is still a gap between the backing and the cover that leaves a strip of the back’s silver metal exposed. The bugs me.

  5. Dan, which cover do you like better?  This one or the Bodyguardz Garrison you recently reviewed.  I’m nervous about having to unlatch and relatch the cover of the Garrison all the time.  


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