iPad 2 Case Review: Griffin IntelliCase

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How many different cases can there possibly be for the iPad 2 before reaching the saturation point? That’s one of the questions that needs to be asked at this point as the iPad 2 reaches the six month mark. The short answer, of course, is plenty since there seems to be no slowdown in sales of Apple’s second-generation tablet. Griffin has a nice assortment of cases available for the iPad and I’ve been checking one of them, the Griffin IntelliCase, out for the past week or so. How intelligent IS the $59.99 case? Let’s take a look and you can decide for yourself.

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Here’s what Griffin has to say:

A marriage of protective polycarbonate (to protect the back of your iPad 2) and flexible TPU (to protect your Multi-Touch display).

Fold the flexible cover back to make an upright workstand (great for reading and watching slideshows or videos), or lay it down at just the right incline for touching and tapping and typing. Strategically-placed magnets in the cover activate the magnetic sensors of your iPad, to automatically wake when the case is opened, and sleep when it’s closed. The micro-textured surface is easy to grip and pampers your iPad, inside and out.

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The first thing that struck me when I took this case out of the box was how truly thin and light it is. Quite frankly, it felt a little TOO thin and TOO light at first. I was also struck by the fact that Griffin chose not to include any additional accessories, such as screen protection, with it. At $60 I found it a bit surprising.

The IntelliCase features a “hard-shell polycarbonate case” to protect the back of the iPad and a “Flexible TPU cover” to protect the screen. The cover folds into 2-positions so it works well for typing and for viewing. And, of course, Griffin included the sleep/awake functionality that is so awesome on the iPad 2.

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In short, the IntelliCase includes all of the key functionality one might want in an iPad 2 case. It doubles as a stand, it protects the screen AND the back of the iPad (Apple are you paying attention?) and it includes the intelligent sleep/awake functionality that is key to the iPad 2. Still, it felt flimsy. At first.

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Once the iPad was snapped into place however my disappointment at the flimsiness disappeared and was replaced by a growing appreciation of just how thin and light the case is. I love how minimalist the case it. When it is on you barely know it is there.

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Seriously, take a close look at the edges. You can barely see the case and yet it holds onto the iPad like nobody’s business. I LOVE cases that do that and the IntelliCase does it as well or better than any minimalist cases I have seen.

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I was struck by the way in which Griffin decided to hold the cover and the back together. If you look closely you will see two pieces of soft rubber; one at the top and one at the bottom. Like the case itself they initially struck me as super-flimsy but, as I used the case, it became clear the Griffin knows what they are doing; they aren’t going anywhere! (And if they did, there nothing to worry about since Griffin includes a 1 year warranty and by then the iPad 3 will be shipping.)

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One of the more unusual features of the IntelliCase is the way in which it turns into a stand. Instead of a three-fold cover that creates a triangle the way Apple’s SmartCover does is bends once and then gets inserted into the tab of plastic sitting on the back.

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On the one hand it creates a rather stable system for the iPad. At the same time, however, that tab of plastic is there even when the case is not being used as a stand. The result is that it did tend to get a bit in the way as I was using the case. No, it is not impossible to “work around it” but it is noticeable as you use the case.

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Here is one other oddity with regard to the IntelliCase: the case leaves open the speaker and the dock connector but it ALSO leaves the metal between the two exposed. I’m not sure why Griffin did this but I don’t love it. It just strikes me as odd that they would create a case that protects the iPad so beautifully with minimal bulk and weight but leave the expanse of metal completely exposed. hmmmm.

It may sound like I’m down on the Griffin IntelliCase. I’m not. In all, if you want Apple’s SmartCover functionality AND you want to protect the back of your iPad AND you want the thinnest, lightest case possible AND you want the case to double as a stand this IS the case for you. No, it isn’t perfect but it does give you the best of all worlds. And if the $60 price tag looks high initially consider this: Apple’s SmartCovers are $39 and $69 depending on what material they are made from. And once you buy one you STILL need to buy some form of protection for the back of the device. In other words, while $60 may LOOK expensive it actually saves you money over Apple’s SmartCovers.

You can check out the Griffin IntelliCase here on Griffin’s site.

MSRP: $59.99

What I Like: Thin and light; As minimalist as case/screen protector combos come; Includes sleep/awake functionality; doubles as a two-position stand

What Needs Improvement: Feels a bit flimsy at first; mechanism for stand-functionality gets in the way when holding the iPad in one hand; Bottom opening leaves more of the iPad exposed than it needs to

Categories: Reviews

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9 replies

  1. Wow, we’re really working hard for these this time around. :) Thanks for the opportunity.. 

    I’m a big fan of Griffin stuff, I have some other gadget accessories from them that’s of fantastic quality!

  2. I love my Sena Florence. But it appears bigger than the Intellicase.   I also love the Apple smart cover.  But the downside about the smart cover to me is two parts….no back protection and it pops off sometimes when I’m holding it open and holding the iPad up for me and my wife to watch netflix.  I’d love to have a Griffin Intellicase because it is thin, light, sleep/wake functionality, and a complete solution.  

  3. I like the non-intrusive quality of the case and my doubts about the sturdiness of it were addressed by your review. As I have a new ipad and no case as of yet, I would be cool with using this one. Thank you for the chance to own it.

  4. Looks like a pretty slick case! I’d like to win one!

  5. This case seems very versatile and flexible; I’d imagine that anybody would be able to use it, anywhere. The hard shell should also protect the iPad, giving it added benefits.

  6. I’m a fan of thin and light for cases. Most of the appeal of the iPad 2 is the design. Adding a bulky case around it seems like a waste.

  7. I like the combo of “smart cover”+back case. I would prefer a little camouflage though. It woul rather not let everyone know I’m holding an iPad (sticky fingers in public places).

  8. So smooth to touch!

  9. so pretty sleek case