Some Thoughts on the iPad 2 Smart Cover

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iPad 2 Smart Cover

When I bought my iPad 2 on launch day last week, I also picked up an Apple Smart Cover for it. Even though I hated Apple’s case for the original iPad, the smart cover looked so different and so … smart, that I felt I had to give it a try.

The smart covers for the iPad 2 come in polyurethane or leather, and in a small range of colors for each material. I chose leather and the Navy color for mine. I’ve been using the smart cover for around a week now and have had it on my iPad 2 just about constantly. I have mixed feelings about the smart cover so far – there are some things I love about it, and others that I don’t like at all.

Hit the break for a quick rundown of my iPad 2 smart cover likes and dislikes …

What’s to Like about the iPad 2 Smart Cover

— It really is incredibly slim and light, which means the iPad 2 itself remains wonderfully thin while using it.

— The leather material has a nice feel and makes it a tad easier to grip the iPad.

— The magnets in the smart cover and the iPad 2 work perfectly. It’s amazing how effortlessly the smart cover attaches to the iPad 2 when you get it close – and places itself perfectly along the left side as well.

— The ability of the smart cover to automatically lock and unlock the iPad 2 as it is placed on or taken off is a great feature. I didn’t think much of this at first, but it has grown on me with each day of usage. It’s quite a nice little time saver. Between this feature and the magnetic attraction of the smart cover to the iPad 2, it does feel a little bit magical to use.

— The covers look quite smart as well. I think the navy one looks simple and elegant on the iPad.

— It folds back nicely into an effective typing stand position. It does so easily and typing is very comfortable in this position.

— The smart cover appears to ‘play nicely’ with my screen protectors so far. I had Ghost Armor screen protectors applied to the front and back of my iPad 2 this past Monday.

iPad 2 Smart Cover

What’s Not To Like

— The Smart Cover is ‘just’ a cover, not a case. It offers no protection for the sides or back of the iPad 2, and seemingly only the most minimal protection for the iPad’s screen. Combine that with the substantially thinner glass used for the iPad 2 and it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster if you have a severe drop.

— It doesn’t grip to the back of the iPad 2. I like to fold a case (or in this case, cover) over to the back of the iPad when reading or working with the device. When you do this with the smart cover it doesn’t naturally stay on the back of the iPad like a case would; it wants to flop around if you don’t hold it in place. You can fold it in half to make it less floppy, but it still needs to be held in place.

— It seems to have accumulated a good number of nicks and scratches (the smart cover, not the iPad 2) in its first few days of use. I only list this here in case some of you view this as a concern; I don’t feel fussed at all about it. I don’t think a bit of wear detracts from its handsome looks.


So it’s been a bit of an up and down relationship for me with the smart cover so far. After a couple days I thought the annoying things about it outweighed the good things. I stuck with it though since I don’t yet have any other case for the iPad 2 (though I have two ordered and on their way to me). I’m glad I did, because I’ve found myself liking it much better as the days have gone by.

I still can’t see the smart cover being my single, go-to case for the iPad, because I want a case that offers full protection. I have grown to like it enough to now be considering what case I may be able to combine it with though. I don’t feel optimistic about this though – as I don’t like pouch cases at all and I’m not sure there’s going to be any case that will look and function well enough in tandem with the smart cover.

My greater hope is that we’ll start to see more 3rd party cases that offer full-protection, good looks, and smart cover features. There are a couple of these announced already, but neither appeals to me. I hope we’ll see more coming along very soon.

What do you think of the iPad 2 smart cover? Are you loving it, hating it, or having mixed feelings like me?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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48 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the iPad 2 Smart Cover”

  1. Just curious — which cases do you have on order? I tried many through the year I had my first gen iPad, but kept coming back to Apple’s case, if only because it added the lest weight and thickness. This cover seems useless. Nifty, but doesn’t protect at all.

    1. The two I have on order are both from Marware – the Eco-Flip and the C.E.O. Hybrid. I’ve used both of them for ages on my original iPad.

      1. I’ve looked at the CEO Hybrid…may go with that if I absolutely hate the Dodo I have on order. Lots of people unhappy with the Dodo, at least the first gen model.

        1. I really like the CEO Hybrid. It’s very functional and also very smart looking – just a shame Marware hasn’t got any cases yet that use the smart cover tech.

          1. not true patrickj…as of today marware has a case that uses the smart cover tech. It is called the MicroShell Folio Black iPad 2 case & costs $70 which is the same price for the leather smart cover.

  2. Doug – You’ll love the DODOcase, had one for my iPad1 and really loved the functionality and texture it brings, along with character. Loved it.

    Patrick – Really enjoy the blog and can’t wait to get a hold of my iPad2 soon after release here in Canada. [White 16 gb wifi, grey smart cover I think]


    1. Glad to hear you enjoy the site! Hope you manage to grab an iPad 2 once they’re released there (one more week – yay).

  3. here’s another one from Marware, it works with the smart covers. The MicroShell iPad 2 case is just the back of the MicroShell Folio Black iPad 2 that I mentioned in another post and leaves the left edge open for the smart covers to lock on

    1. Thanks for pointing these two out. I like the first one you mentioned better, as I can see it being difficult to make this one plus the smart cover look really like they were meant to be together. I may well order one of those MicroShell Folio ones.

      I wish they’d hurry up on the shipping of all of these – still waiting on the first one that shipped on the 15th.

  4. Feel about the same as you Patrick about the Smart Cover. First, I’m happy that Andy didn’t buy me a leather one, plastic is fine. As a stand it’s quite handy. I actually ilke folding it to the back while reading. But it’s true that the iPad is essentially unprotected, which is why the felt iPad slipcover case ( is never far away!

  5. I’m not crazy about the smart cover for the same reasons you mentioned. I had the first ipad for months without a single ding. I already have two scratches on my new ipad after one week!

    Definitely looking for something to give it a little more protection.

  6. Well written. The cover cannot offer the protection from casual use You get what you pay for. I did like the Apple Smart cover, but I wanted something with more all inclusive protection. After some internet surfing & sifting, I sorted out a few brands that I would bet my iPad2 on. While Otterbox looked rugged, it wasn’t leather and it didnt have the magnetic feature. The Belkin looked clean and sleek, but didn’t have complete enclosed protection. I settled for Mivizu. Their Nouveau Chic (Mivizu Sense) design laced with Italian leather, and magnetic function, just called my name on it. I check their price at $39.95, against Apple’s $69.99 and I just couldn’t hold myself from ordering the soft green folio. Mivizu even has a $10.00 discount coupon code, BAFIPAD2 that offer free shipping. Check them out. I will return tomorrow to post my feedback (I get the case today). Joanne

  7. I like the smart cover but I think it has a serious flaw. When you fold it up to use as a stand you have to use the side that touches the screen on the outside. So the part that is pressed to the screen is the part that is rubbing around on desk, table etc collecting dust. Then you stick it back against your screen. You can use the outside, side but it is not as stable as the magnets let go fairly easy.

  8. All I want to know is this, with the Smart Cover on, and smart cover support, if I have a password set on my iPad, when one opens the Smart Cover, the iPad will STILL ask for my password, correct?

    Thanks in advance


  9. I just got the new ipad2 after having the old one since the inception. My ipad1 had a wonderful leather zip up cover. I kept a cloth between the back cover and the back of iPad so always at the ready. I also kept the stylus in the binding of the case. With this new case there is no room for either. The metal stylus kind of magnetizes to the edge, but not real secure. The worst thing is I can’t prop the ipad2 up while reclining on the couch. The pitch of the iPad is too low. The old leather case gave the perfect pitch. I don’t know if that is clear, but there must be a better answer.

    I tried to use the old leather case but it was difficult accessing the new side controls.

    1. To be fair, Apple have called this one a ‘cover’ not a case, so it’s not suited for storing anything at all in.

      Luckily, the third party case market for the iPad 2 seems to be expanding nicely now – so you should be able to find some that work better for your needs.

  10. After a week of use I’m happy with the Bear Motion for iPad2 (latest generation of the cover) that I got from Amazon for about $40. Snug fit, all the ports are in the right place, smart cover for sleep mode, nice pitch, and I’m a sucker for the classy leather look and feel. Fairly slim. Some edges could use more protection I guess, but with a kid-free environment perhaps not quite as important to me. It comes with a “pouch” that slips over all that gives a bit more protection for travel, etc. but smelled funky when just out of packaging….that’s diminishing after a few days.

    1. Hmmm, checked it out on Amazon – decent sounding case. I’ve got a couple now that are good for when I feel like I need a full-protection case on the iPad 2. My favorite of those is the Mivizu Sense.

      My favorite way to use the iPad though is, by far, to use it with the Apple Smart Cover. I’ve been searching round for the ideal back cover to go with it, and thus far haven’t found the perfect companion. Just recently I’ve come very close though – more on that in a post tomorrow.

      1. Hi Patrick,

        Did you find a good partner for the smart cover? I need advise on what back cover protection to get for my ipad 2? I bought a cheap rubber clear one from Amazon, which claimed to be compatible with Apple Smart cover, had 5 star reviews and is great quality, BUT the rubber ends prevent the magnets to stick properly to the screen and there is a little gap between the screen and the cover, so frustrating. I saw watched this review and not sure if this is any good, but if you have any recommendations, please pass it on. Many thanks

        1. Yes I have found several good partners for the iPad 2 and the smart cover. I should first mention that I’ve used (and reviewed) that SwitchEasy CoverBuddy and I didn’t have any issues with the smart cover and its magnets. For me, the CoverBuddy and few similar back cover cases are just a tad too heavy. I love the lightness of the iPad 2 – so my two favorite solutions thus far are a Gelaskin for the back only and a ZAGG leatherskin that matches the smart cover color. My thoughts on each of those here:

  11. I have the Targus case that has a place for holding business cards and a pocket. It makes into a nice portfolio and has a lot of protection for the ipad2 + has a camera hole that works perfectly.

    I always went back to the original cover, but it is just to flimsey.

  12. You guys ever try using a Quiver pen holder on an iPad? My friend has one, a Quiver, but refuses to let me use it because he doesn’t want me to stretch it if it doesn’t work. I saw one blog somewhere saying the two pen Quiver would work well with stylus’ but the blog wasn’t very realiable in my opinion since it was a journaling blog. Any chance you guys would know?

    1. I have to admit, I’d never heard of those until I saw your question. From just a quick look at their web site, I’d say that’s not likely to work well on an iPad. I think any cover you want to use with an iPad needs to be sized specifically for the iPad.

  13. I am a little unhappy with the cover right now. I feel like the magnets have gotten weaker and the cover comes off pretty easily now (got the ipad/cover right when it first came out). I am also REALLY unhappy with the marks it has left on the back of my iPad 2. I try to keep my equipment as in as perfect condition as I possibly can. And here I get an apple cover and it scuffed up the back where it attaches.

    i have had my ipad 2 for about 5 months, about two weeks ago i dropped it on my tile and i now have a large dent in the upper right. I have seen my brother drop his ipad 1 in it’s case multiple times with no damage. today i was watching tv and noticed that the upper left of my ipad has cracks all over it. they were not present before and i dont know how they got there since i did not drop it. It is highly unlikely that it would have broken in an actual protective case. just sayin

  15. For all those who says the smart cover doesnt protect the sides and the back.. It is a screen protector not a case if u want to protect the back they are some cases that works with the SM or they are some invisibles shields. If it doesnt stick on the back take it out thats why they made it easy take out.

  16. Had a smart cover and although its a nice design the magnets aren’t that strong. Which is why I had to pay £200 for a replacement iPad 3 weeks after I got it. Magnets came off the iPad and it fell to the floor and the screen shattered. My advice, get an Otterbox. Only way to be sure.

  17. The smart cover is a bit smart not like it says on the apple website. I found it did not stand properly in the video viewing position. Works well for typing though.

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