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Old May 12, 2011, 12:44 PM   #1
clyde2801
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Review-new Speck Smart Shell (black) case

Got the black smart shell from Spec in from gleemobile unexpectedly this morning. Price was $26.99 with free shipping when using gleefriends 10% discount code.

Ordered it from gleemobile before I bought the Belkin. In retrospect, I think I should have waited.

Coverage identical to the belkin, build quality seems better. No imperfections on the black belkin as there is on the speck. Easily attaches, but stays on more securely than does the Belkin. Black is a bit translucent, meaning you can make out the faint black apple and 'ipad' outline on the back of the case when the lighting is right. The Speck has a small raised logo on the bottom of the case, nothing too flashy or distracting.

Speck took its time comparatively to get this to market, and they came up with a couple of added touches that I'm sure many will appreciate. It's almost as if the engineers took the time to look up comments and complaints about the belkin on this forum and you tube.

1. A small cutout on the far side of case allows for easy opening of the smart cover, as shown in my first photo. The fingernail inmpaired have posted that they found the Belkin case a bit hard to open and close, not a problem here.

2. There is a small glossy strip on the backside of the case illustrated in my second and third photos. To my surprise and delight, it's function is to hold the smart cover snugly to the back of the case when it is fully opened.

Otherwise, the Speck is identical to the Belkin and carries many of it's same traits...decent protection without adding unacceptable bulk or weight. I prefer the translucent black and overall build quality of the Speck. It promises to age better than the Belkin, which is already looking like a dirty, grimy piece of disposable plastic after a couple of weeks. Unlike the Belkin case, which somehow cheapens the looks and aesthetics of the iPad 2, the Speck makes it appear a bit more polished and upscale. It goes equally well with my red and black smart covers.

If you waited or hesitated on getting the Belkin, congratulate yourself and buy the Speck instead now.
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Old May 12, 2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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An additional comment plus a couple more photos...

Like the Belkin, the Speck appears to be both back and front protective cover friendly.

Unlike the Belkin, it appears to hide fingerprints, smudges and oils fairly well.

The last photo shows the cover holding the smartcover up against its back.



On an unrelated note, I'm kinda digging the webcam on this new iMac....
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Old May 12, 2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review. I ordered the clear one and should arrive about the same time I get back from my trip (got my shipment confirmation a couple hours after I placed my order... Enki could learn a few lessons here).
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Old May 12, 2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Looks very nice, thanks for the review. Did the price go up though? It's on the site now as $34.99.

I guess comparing to the price of the Belkin from BB, it's still cheaper although JR has it for $10 less.
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Old May 12, 2011, 03:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the review! I ordered two. Like the cut out to open the smart cover and the magnet ability around back.
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Old May 12, 2011, 08:10 PM   #6
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Clyde,

Do you think that glossy strip will be prone to getting a lot of scratches on it? Already returned my 2 Belkins due to poor quality and one not being full coverage.

How much space is open by the hinge? Most of the cases leave too much. Belkin has this right.

Is this a misprint?
Quote:
Originally Posted by clyde2801 View Post
No imperfections on the black belkin as there is on the speck.
The speck looks like it actually goes around most of the buttons for a tiny bit more coverage then the Belkin, no?

Price was at 29.99 listed on glee - 5% off earlier, must have went up when they received stock.

Now I just need to debate the black vs. clear...

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Old May 12, 2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouda View Post
Clyde,

Do you think that glossy strip will be prone to getting a lot of scratches on it? Already returned my 2 Belkins due to poor quality and one not being full coverage.

How much space is open by the hinge? Most of the cases leave too much. Belkin has this right.

Is this a misprint?


The speck looks like it actually goes around most of the buttons for a tiny bit more coverage then the Belkin, no?

Price was at 29.99 listed on glee - 5% off earlier, must have went up when they received stock.

Now I just need to debate the black vs. clear...
Was in a bit of a hurry when I initially wrote....I think the fit and finish of the speck far surpasses that of the belkin. The belkin looks like a cheap piece of disposable plastic trash compared to it.

I'll have to report back on scratches. None so far, and I do like this feature.

As for the side (hinge) coverage compared to the Belkin, I'll have to compare the two again.

The price went up AFTER I bought it? I didn't get screwed buying an apple branded accessory for once! Huzzah!

Really off topic, but does anyone have any advice for trying to clone an xp boot camp drive from my old imac to my new one?
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Old May 12, 2011, 09:16 PM   #8
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I love this. Is there anywhere with the clear version in stock? Much better than some of the other cases I've seen!
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Old May 12, 2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kvasir View Post
I love this. Is there anywhere with the clear version in stock? Much better than some of the other cases I've seen!
Specks site had them earlier today. Don't knowbif they still do. I would think glee has them if they are selling the black. I'm still debating black or clear. If the clear can get dirty then I want the black. If not maybe the clear.
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Old May 12, 2011, 09:42 PM   #10
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My only concern would be that the opening on the side to help with the smart cover looks a little big and open for scratches. Not a deal breaker and realize this is being too picky. I will be getting one soon. Wish target had it.
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Old May 12, 2011, 10:22 PM   #11
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The case looks slightly transparent.

I went to Order and their site is jacked it is charging the right price but the total is quadruple what it should be! They will have plenty of stock until they fix that bug.

I'll stick with my switcheasy they didn't raise prices right after they received stock.
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Old May 12, 2011, 10:40 PM   #12
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Try vebee.com

I picked up the clear one for only $20.62 (including shipping & outrageous CA sales tax @ 9.75%). The black was out of stock so I figure I'll just put a carbon skin under the clear.
http://www.vebee.com/speck-ipad-2-smartshell-clear.html
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Old May 12, 2011, 11:36 PM   #13
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I do not have an apple smart cover, but does the extra weight from the Speck SmartShell does it feel that it could fall over watching a movie on it if youre in a plane?

I definitely wouldn't want my ipad to fall on the ground and skip around under seats.
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Old May 13, 2011, 01:06 AM   #14
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Thanks for the review.

I ordered one to compliment my Belkin clear, which has no scratches and due to the frost coating I would not expect it to get any. I have had mine for a few weeks and have no signs of it being a "dirty, grimy piece of disposable plastic" It still looks brand new!

I do think the Speck looks nice, however I did not know it was this as translucent as it looks in your photos, that's kind of a bummer, I really hate those smoky effect covers, sold black would have been more my style and I might have to look into getting a clear one if the black is really what I consider cheesy translucent plastic. And the clear one would really be a scratch magnet though, unlike the Belkin's frost. I don't remember this translucency being in the description when I ordered it.

I also would have also preferred a rubberized good grip finish on the back. I don't recall this being mentioned in the review but the were hoping its similar to the Belkin's great grip.

It looks like it has the same protective qualities that are offered by the Belkin including the space between the smart cover and the case, not too concerned about that.

I do really like the Belkin and I'm not going to be throwing it under the bus, I think its a quality case, well constructed and durable, so I have to disagree with the OP's trashing it in comparison. Im going to reserve judgment on that one till I get mine.

I have always thought Specks has a tendency to make their logo's a little to big and in all the wrong places, so I am interested to see how that works its way into the overall design.

Oh well, another day another case!

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Old May 13, 2011, 01:16 AM   #15
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Its always helpful reading extra reviews to help me. I know then OP's pictures aren't too great from an iMac camera, but it doesn't seem too bad having a translucent black plastic from Speck but it could look cool in person. Take some nice pictures if you write a thread about yours.
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Old May 13, 2011, 05:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3goldens View Post
Thanks for the review.

I ordered one to compliment my Belkin clear, which has no scratches and due to the frost coating I would not expect it to get any. I have had mine for a few weeks and have no signs of it being a "dirty, grimy piece of disposable plastic" It still looks brand new!

I do think the Speck looks nice, however I did not know it was this as translucent as it looks in your photos, that's kind of a bummer, I really hate those smoky effect covers, sold black would have been more my style and I might have to look into getting a clear one if the black is really what I consider cheesy translucent plastic. And the clear one would really be a scratch magnet though, unlike the Belkin's frost. I don't remember this translucency being in the description when I ordered it.

I also would have also preferred a rubberized good grip finish on the back. I don't recall this being mentioned in the review but the were hoping its similar to the Belkin's great grip.

It looks like it has the same protective qualities that are offered by the Belkin including the space between the smart cover and the case, not too concerned about that.

I do really like the Belkin and I'm not going to be throwing it under the bus, I think its a quality case, well constructed and durable, so I have to disagree with the OP's trashing it in comparison. Im going to reserve judgment on that one till I get mine.

I have always thought Specks has a tendency to make their logo's a little to big and in all the wrong places, so I am interested to see how that works its way into the overall design.

Oh well, another day another case!
I believe these do have the rubberized grip as specks website mentions something about this on their site. If this is the case it shouldn't scratch and looks a little clearer then the Belkin. I purchased a few belkins and both the full coverage ones had blemishes and not clean lines on the edges of the case. Very disappointing as I really liked the belkin coverage. Specks looks a little clearer in pictures so I will be interested in seeing a review of that one. If it is clearer and have the rubberized back it will look even better and less cheesy then the belkin. Not saying the belkin looks cheesy, but if transparency is less cheesy then speck may have it. Can't wait to try this case. I'll wait for judgement but a review from someone like Clyde who has both goes a long way.
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Old May 13, 2011, 05:49 AM   #17
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Macmall's claiming to have the Specks on preorder, in all the colors of the rainbow, for $23.99.

It's translucent when you look at it straight on in the right lighting, otherwise it appears solid.

May have to get out the windex and wipe off the belkin a bit. Possibly was a bit too harsh in my wording of it, and it may indicate my own preference for dark or solid cases instead of clear or frosted ones. I think any clear or slightly frosted piece of plastic will show fingerprints, oils, smudges, etc,

Belkin is good, but Speck is better for the price.

And hey, that's a HD camera on the iMac, TYVM!
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Old May 13, 2011, 06:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clyde2801 View Post
Macmall's claiming to have the Specks on preorder, in all the colors of the rainbow, for $23.99.

It's translucent when you look at it straight on in the right lighting, otherwise it appears solid.

May have to get out the windex and wipe off the belkin a bit. Possibly was a bit too harsh in my wording of it, and it may indicate my own preference for dark or solid cases instead of clear or frosted ones. I think any clear or slightly frosted piece of plastic will show fingerprints, oils, smudges, etc,

Belkin is good, but Speck is better for the price.

And hey, that's a HD camera on the iMac, TYVM!
How is the feel of the case? Same as belkin?
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Old May 13, 2011, 06:41 AM   #19
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Would it fit an iPad with a clear skin? I have a Best Sins Ever skin.
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Old May 13, 2011, 07:39 AM   #20
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How is the feel of the case? Same as belkin?
Didn't occur to me to feel them, will try to do that if clients and docket allow.
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Old May 13, 2011, 07:39 AM   #21
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Would it fit an iPad with a clear skin? I have a Best Sins Ever skin.
Like the Belkin, it plays well with my ghost armor on the front and back.
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Old May 13, 2011, 02:43 PM   #22
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My Impression of Belkin vs. Speck-**BELKIN WINS!***

Ok got my Speck from Gleemobile.com this morning where I got an exceptional price by the way!

Its a really good alternative to the Belkin, however I still think the Belkin comes out slightly ahead.

Here's why…

The Speck weighs in is a little bit heavier than the Belkin, I don't have a scale that measures down to the grams but I would say because of the additional real estate the Speck has and the small metal conductive part it makes the case at least in my opinion feel a little bit heavier and more substantive. This is not a bad thing, just an observation.

It is translucent but not at all like some of the cheesy smokey ones I have seen. The Speck is almost sold as seen in the pictures and has a very nice grip to it. There will be no handing problems here, good firm rubbery kind of grip. I don't know what they call that coating but it is great for cases.

There is a small conductive part on the outside for the smart cover, first time I tried it, the cover flopped right down, second time it held, but I think I will reserve judgment on that right now. Seems like a good idea.

The Speck is also thicker, which may afford a little more protection that the Belkin in the long run.

I am really from the school that believes these protective cases are for just that purpose, protecting the back of the ipad from scratches, period end of story. You want something that will protect it from a drop, get a different case, these shells are not the ones you want.

These are for casual use around the house or office, lightweight, sturdy and minimally invasive to the overall ipad experience.

The Speck is also very much a full coverage case like the Belkin model that provides coverage.

I have to hand it to Belkin, they know how to make a minimalist case for this Ipad 2. It really is though the thing is not even there!
All of the borders and places the unit snaps into place are all perfectly level with the ipad screen so one does not feel as though there is a case attached. Seamless is the word I'm looking for.

All points, edges on the Belkin are finished, and polished smooth, no rough spots at all, no catches or places were your finger might feel a sharp edge. And this is especially evident when one has the smart cover off. No sharp plastic edges at all, you'd never know the case was on there, its as though you were using a naked Ipad.

The Speck on the other hand has a small border around the rim of the Ipad, clearly visible, which is not a problem at all, just an observation.

After snapping mine into place I continued to see a sliver of the rim around the screen, but that just may be the way this case works or may very well have to do with the Wrapsol skin on the back of my Ipad.

With the Apple smart cover on the Speck the Ipad is perfectly and easily accessible and the case is an extremely good companion for the this cover.

There is a nice little lip as the OP mentioned to open the from front cover, Belkin opted out of doing this.

That little additional break in the case structure however at least on mine is not as finished or polished off, and is a little on the sharp side. One knows this can be easily fixed but, this should have been done during the manufacturing process.

Surprisingly, I found many of the edges going around the border a little unfinished on the Speck. They just seemed a little rough and sharpish, and one can fix this, no problem. You really only notice this when one has the Smart cover off.

The left hand side where the smart cover attaches with the magnets to the body of the Ipad has plenty of protection and has extremely good good coverage on the back leading up to where the cover attaches. I do think there is a difference though when the cover is removed, the edges of the Speck are a little more intrusive.

Here is where the real difference in the cases comes. If you have both or are planning on getting both, try handling them without the cover on you Ipad. See what difference you feel in the overall experience handling your Ipad.

The Speck reminds you constantly that there is a case on the unit and you never know the Belkin is there. To me that's a great thing, I don't want to feel the weight or feel a slight jab or prick from a rough side of a case and I don't have that with the Belkin.

Now of course these are my personal preferences, and I only call it as I see it. I like both cases very much.

I do totally disagree with the OP that the Belkin is a trash piece of plastic, or whatever he said/ Respectively, I think in contrast to the Speck, the Belkin offers a minimalist design with a great deal of protection, but its every bit as sturdy and durable as the Speck, no doubt about it.

I see them both as long lasting good durable protective cases that probably can't be improved on all that much! In other words these are keepers, no one is going to come along and make something better than either one of these so don't worry about that. Speck should consider finishing off their cases a little better, that might make the experience of handling it a whole lot better.

Again, they are both excellent cases, both well designed and manufactured, and both will no doubt do very well in the market.
If you get either one, you'll be happy and so will the back of your Ipad!


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Last edited by 3goldens; May 13, 2011 at 03:02 PM.
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Old May 13, 2011, 03:04 PM   #23
bouda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3goldens View Post
Ok got my speck

Its a really good alternative to the Belkin, however I still think the Belkin is tad better.

Here's why…

The Speck is a little bit heavier than the Belkin, I don't have a scale that measures down to the grams but I would say because of the additional real estate the Speck has and the small metal conductive part it makes the case at least in my opinion feel a little bit heavier and more substantive.

It is translucent but not at all like some of the cheesy smokey ones I have seen. The Speck is almost sold as seen in the pictures and has a very nice grip to it.

I'm not at all how I feel at this point about the conductive part on the outside for the smart cover, first time I tried it, the cover flopped right down, but I will reserve judgment on that right now.

I think it is also thicker, which may afford more protection that the Belkin in the long run, but I really am of the school these protective backs are for just that protecting the back from scratches. You want something that will protect it from a drop, get a different case, these rant the ones you want. These are for casual use around the house or office, lightweight, sturdy and minimally invasive to the overall ipad experience.

The Speck is also a full coverage case like the Belkin.

Honestly I have to hand it to Belkin, they know how to make a minimalist case for this Ipad 2. It really is though the thing is not even there!

All of the borders and places the unit snaps into place are all perfectly level with the ipad screen so one does not feel as though there is a case attached.

Seamless is the word I'm looking for.

All points, edges on the Belkin are finished, and polished smooth, no rough spots at all, no catches or places were your finger might feel a sharp edge. And this is especially evident when one has the smart cover off. No sharp plastic edges at all, you'd never know the case was on there, its as though you were using a naked Ipad.

The Speck on the other hand has a small border around it that is clearly visible, which is not a problem, just an observation. I did not think mine snapped fully into place despite a couple of tries. I continued to see a sliver of the rim around the screen, but that just may be the way thins one works.

With the Apple smart cover on the ipad is perfectly and easily accessible and the case is a good companion for the cover.

There is a nice little lip as the OP mentioned to open the from cover, Belkin opted out of doing this. That little additional break in the case structure on mine at least is not as finished, polished off, and is a little on the sharp side. One knows this can be easily fixed but, this should have been done during the manufacturing process.

In fact all of the edges going around seem a little rough and sharp, and one really notices this when one has the Smart cover off. The left hand side where the smart cover attaches to the body of the ipad has plenty of protection and as good as the full coverage Belkins we all know and love. But there is a sharp difference when the cover is removed, the edges of the Speck are a little intrusive not to mention sharp.

Here is where the real difference in the cases comes. If you have both or are planning on getting both, try handling them without the cover on you Ipad. See what difference you feel in the overall experience.

The Speck reminds you constantly that there is a case on the unit and you never know the Belkin is there. To me that's a great thing, I don't want to feel the weight or feel a slight jab or prick from a rough side of a case and I don't have that with the Belkin.

Now of course these are my personal preferences, and I only call it as I see it.

I do totally disagree with the OP that the Belkin is a trash piece of plastic, or whatever he said/ Respectively, I think in contrast to the Speck, the Belkin offers a minimalist design with a great deal of protection, but its every bit as sturdy and durable as the Speck, no doubt about it.

I see them both as long lasting overall protective cases that probably can't be improved all that much! I would think Speck could finish off the cases a little better, that might make the experience handling it a lot better.

Over all, I think they are both excellent cases, both well designed and manufactured, and both will no doubt do very well in the market. It's all about what you want out of a case and I don't want to know its there when I'm sitting on a couch reading a magazine on my Ipad!


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If the Belkin is off the iPad, looking at the edges halfway up (on the hinge side as well as the volume button side), are the edges completely even, not wavy? Are there any sort of blemishes on the inside of the edges at these points? It sort of looks like it from the picture you just posted. I've purchased two from best buys no where near each other, and the manufacturing has been terrible. Others have reported this as well. It's not something one might notice with a quick glance, but it is clearly there and for the price should not occur at all. I prefer as much minimalism as possible, just wish Belkin had better quality control.

Last edited by bouda; May 13, 2011 at 03:25 PM.
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Old May 13, 2011, 10:54 PM   #24
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Thanks for the review. I have the yoobao (fixed second version) leather folio case and love it but after seeing this review I have decided to buy the smartcase from apple again (sold it previously) and use this case. The youtube video below helped show what I still had questions about... how well the smartcase would stick to that shiney metal strip on the back when the smartcase is open. It seems to stick well. That was the only thing I really didn't like about the smartcase was how it would flop down in the back while holding it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQw9hLcKyqE

This combo will be slimmer than the yoobao which is already pretty slim. I'm sold.
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Old May 14, 2011, 01:25 AM   #25
3goldens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouda View Post
If the Belkin is off the iPad, looking at the edges halfway up (on the hinge side as well as the volume button side), are the edges completely even, not wavy? Are there any sort of blemishes on the inside of the edges at these points? It sort of looks like it from the picture you just posted. I've purchased two from best buys no where near each other, and the manufacturing has been terrible. Others have reported this as well. It's not something one might notice with a quick glance, but it is clearly there and for the price should not occur at all. I prefer as much minimalism as possible, just wish Belkin had better quality control.
Not seeing any kind of blemishes at all bouda. I'm sorry your having such a problem with this case, sounds like it's the one you really want too!

If minimal is what your after then I think you should keep this. I am very impressed with how naturlly it blends right into the iPad, as I said one really doesn't know it's there. With the Speck you know it's there, no getting around that.

Frankly, the Belkin is like a having a removable hard skin, I was comparing the two tonight, it's quite bit thinner than the Speck, which is probably the reason it's lighter. Again, these shells are not for major damage control, only minor scratches and accidentally dings and dents.

Neither one will compare in terms of protection to the harder cases and shells available out there, like the Mareware, if they fixed the tightness problem, which they have said has been remedied.

I am also using A Wrapsol skin on the back of my unit. Wrapsol tends to be a thicker protective skin compared to the others I have tried. Zagg and Best Skin Ever, what a name, are both in my opinion like wrapping a stick piece of plastic around your beautiful IPad. The handling of the unit is a totally different experience, a sticky experience!

In any event, the fact that I can keep this skin on with with either one of these shells is a real plus for me, allows me the flexibility to use it with or without a shell. I can easily use slip it out of wither of these cases without a struggle and not have to worry about minor scratches from laying it on a table top because the Wrapsol is there and when going out I can either use one of the two shells, probably the Belkin with a smart cover or a leather folio, which will be the next quest!

Mareware is sending me an Eco-Vu to repa,ce the micro shell, and I am sure to settle on a Mophie Workbook when ever they get around to releasing it, hopefully soon!

I do think thankfully I am good on shells now! No more experimenting!
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