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

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.