I used a Smart Cover for a while
But ended up getting a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard that attaches to the iPad
Best purchase I could have made
Love it with my iPad and has increased its usefulness for me exponentially
MacDawg, what model and what did you pay for your keyboard? I'm interested in getting one.
And to the OP, there are a lot of quality 3rd party cases out there. Check the smart case thread in the accessories forum and you'll find lots of complaints from it not fitting right, to discoloring the back of the iPad and looking cheap.
I don't like Apple's Smart Case. It feels cheap, and it's frustrating to use.
The Smart Cover is good but requires some other protection for the back. I'd suggest to look at cases of third parties.