Review: SwitchEasy's CoverBuddy Protects Your iPad Pro and Holds an Apple Pencil [Updated]

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,996
11,263



Apple offers protection for the iPad Pro in the form of a Smart Cover and a Silicone Case for the back of the device, but Apple's products are priced rather high at $59 and $79 respectively, for a total price of $138 for complete iPad Pro coverage.

Luckily, third-party manufacturers have already started coming out with some clever cases and covers for the iPad Pro, and one of the first available rear shells comes from popular accessory maker SwitchEasy. The iPad Pro CoverBuddy is SwitchEasy's first product for Apple's tablet, and it's designed to work alongside Apple's own Smart Cover and Smart Keyboard.


SwitchEasy funded the iPad Pro CoverBuddy through Indiegogo, but now it's ready to ship out to customers. While the Indiegogo campaign was still ongoing, SwitchEasy sent me a prototype CoverBuddy to check out, which I've been using for the last week.


Made of a thin but rigid polycarbonate, the CoverBuddy snaps onto the back of the iPad Pro. Since it's only 1.5mm thick, it adds very little additional weight and bulk. The polycarbonate of the CoverBuddy is textured and it's super grippy. The grip on the CoverBuddy is probably my favorite aspect of the case because it makes the unwieldy iPad Pro a lot easier to hold on to.

CoverBuddy's polycarbonate material isn't going to protect the iPad Pro from serious damage, but it feels sturdy enough to protect it from the scratches, dings, and minor drops that occur from day-to-day use and travel.


The CoverBuddy leaves all of the ports and the rear camera accessible with precise cutouts, and it has a Lightning port cutout that's able to accommodate the Apple Pencil for charging purposes. On the back, there's a removable plastic Apple Pencil holder, which is actually quite versatile.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: Review: SwitchEasy's CoverBuddy Protects Your iPad Pro and Holds an Apple Pencil [Updated]
 

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
7,939
578
In my imagination
The fact that this case can be used with the smart keyboard cover, holds the Apple Pencil, and is just a standard run of the mill looking case makes it a nice option.

I'm more than surprised Apple thought the battery case for the iPhone 6s was more of a need than an Apple branded case for the iPad Pro that holds the Pencil.

Nice to see 3rd parties coming in to correct that oversight.

p.s. decent price. Just wish it came in RED.
 

okboy

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2010
243
452
I can't take a review seriously that offers a giveaway and a direct link to buy the product. The omission of the regular "pros" and "cons" list is suspicious too.
 

fredr500

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2007
223
18
I can't take a review seriously that offers a giveaway and a direct link to buy the product. The omission of the regular "pros" and "cons" list is suspicious too.
Add to that this quote and I find it even more suspicious:

I also had some trouble getting the plastic cover to stay in place, but SwitchEasy has told me small manufacturing issues like this will be ironed out with the final release of the CoverBuddy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ZZ9pluralZalpha

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
50,429
18,785
I can't take a review seriously that offers a giveaway and a direct link to buy the product. The omission of the regular "pros" and "cons" list is suspicious too.
Pros and cons are there in the full review, and if a product being reviewed what's the issue with providing a link for someone to purchase it if they might be interested in it?
 

okboy

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2010
243
452
Pros and cons are there in the full review, and if a product being reviewed what's the issue with providing a link for someone to purchase it if they might be interested in it?
Remaining impartial.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,666
3,343
California
I can't take a review seriously that offers a giveaway and a direct link to buy the product. The omission of the regular "pros" and "cons" list is suspicious too.
Sorry. I've been working on a lot of reviews lately and I left out a pros/cons list on accident. Wasn't intentional. Thanks for pointing out the oversight -- I've added it in. Review was written before SwitchEasy offered to give some of the cases away, and I agreed to the giveaway because it's always nice to offer you guys free stuff when we can. My reviews are always unbiased regardless of whether or not a review includes a giveaway. I'm not compensated by the company offering the review product and I have nothing to gain. By the way, we always offer links to purchase in all of our reviews because it's convenient for people who might like the product.

Add to that this quote and I find it even more suspicious:

I also had some trouble getting the plastic cover to stay in place, but SwitchEasy has told me small manufacturing issues like this will be ironed out with the final release of the CoverBuddy.
It's true that I had a prototype unit, and SwitchEasy told me up front that it was rougher than the finished units. I chose to take them at their word because this is a seasoned manufacturer that has produced CoverBuddy cases for previous iPad generations that have been well received and positively reviewed. I'm happy to get a production unit CoverBuddy and update the review. The plastic cover for the Apple Pencil slot is definitely fiddly (it takes some patience to get it in place), and as I mentioned, I don't really like the look of it. I would much prefer a CoverBuddy that didn't have this feature for people who don't plan to use an Apple Pencil.
 
  • Like
Reactions: macduke and randyj

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
50,429
18,785
Remaining impartial.
Can be done regardless of a link being there or not, while having the link provides more information for the user as to where they can obtain the product. It's just a link.
 

artfossil

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2015
1,355
1,510
Florida
I've used the Cover Buddy on my iPad 2, iPad 4 and iPad Air 2 and love them because they make the back less slithery. I can also attest that they do provide some drop protection. Also, I'm confident that the plastic insert WILL fit precisely because in general the machining of the Cover Buddy(s) I've had has been superb.

I'm demo-ing an iPP and Smart Keyboard and would love to have a back cover solution and an easy way to keep the pencil handy. This looks to me like a really useful solution to both problems.
 

jmgag03

macrumors member
Apr 5, 2010
49
1
The single biggest issue I have with my Ipad Pro, which I like very much, is that there is no place to put the pencil. The pencil is incredibly annoying to carry around. It is very expensive and easier to lose than your average pen. Mine currently has a paper clip scotched taped to it. Microsoft said in the Surface Pro 4 launch that users complained there was no place for their pen. That will be a large complaint of iPad Pro users too. Its really maddening they made the pencil far less usable by not including some way to attach it to a pocket or a case.

This coverbuddy is that like an answer to prayer :p.
 
  • Like
Reactions: artfossil

craig1410

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2007
1,125
896
Scotland
I guess I must be one of the few iPad Pro owners who has no problem with the fact I can't attach my pencil to the device. I find I'm either using the pencil in which case it's in my hand, or I'm not using it in which case it is sitting beside me on the desk.

This "Cover Buddy" looks like a pretty clunky solution in my opinion and doesn't appear to be anywhere near the quality of the Apple silicon cover which I've got and really like. Yes it isn't cheap but it feels great and offers some real protection for the iPad unlike the cover buddy.

Anyway, I guess choice is a good thing so fair play to SwitchEasy for getting this out fairly promptly. With a bit of luck it will keep the "I've nowhere to store my pencil" folks from complaining so much! :p
 

artfossil

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2015
1,355
1,510
Florida
This "Cover Buddy" looks like a pretty clunky solution in my opinion and doesn't appear to be anywhere near the quality of the Apple silicon cover which I've got and really like. Yes it isn't cheap but it feels great and offers some real protection for the iPad unlike the cover buddy.
The Cover Buddy is the opposite of clunky. Thin and elegant but more protective than silicone.
 
Last edited:

craig1410

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2007
1,125
896
Scotland
The Cover Buddy is the opposite of clunky. Thin and elegant but more protective than silicon.
Nah, I've got to disagree. Having to slide the Pencil into a little tube on the back, which when not attached requires a little strip of plastic to be snapped into place to avoid leaving a hole. Is there somewhere to store the little strip of plastic when not using it?

Then when the pencil holder is attached you can't get the iPad to lie flat even though some have spun this into a 'feature' to help prop the iPad up a bit, lol.

Finally, the thin polycarbonate shell is not as protective as the Apple silicon case which in case you haven't actually felt one, is a hard shell wrapped in soft premium silicone. You seem to be suggesting that it's just flexible silicone without any structure which is not correct.
 

artfossil

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2015
1,355
1,510
Florida
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/11/dogs-dont-understand-basic-conce
Nah, I've got to disagree. Having to slide the Pencil into a little tube on the back, which when not attached requires a little strip of plastic to be snapped into place to avoid leaving a hole. Is there somewhere to store the little strip of plastic when not using it?

Then when the pencil holder is attached you can't get the iPad to lie flat even though some have spun this into a 'feature' to help prop the iPad up a bit, lol.

Finally, the thin polycarbonate shell is not as protective as the Apple silicon case which in case you haven't actually felt one, is a hard shell wrapped in soft premium silicone. You seem to be suggesting that it's just flexible silicone without any structure which is not correct.
It's not for you. :)
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,074
14,896
Central U.S.
If I ever get an iPad Pro I wonder if I'll ever use a case (and I use a case on everything except Apple Watch—unless I'm doing yardwork). This thing seems big enough that I wouldn't just carry it around outside of a bag. As for this design, I'm not a fan of having the pen protruding off the bottom. The case already has a cutout for a Smart Cover. I'd just use that to prop it up, and prefer the pen to be a sidecar attachment that is easily removable. It also looks kinda cheap. For all the people deriding Apple over the battery case (myself included), it looks better than this.

What Apple should have done is build in a hardly noticeable, narrow pocket along the hinge of the iPad Pro cover that the Pencil could be slipped into. Alternatively, they could have included a clip (possibly optional add-on that comes with it—perhaps an alternative lightning cap?) that you could attach to the pencil, and that could easily clip onto the cover of the iPad near the hinge.

I don't think Apple should include a holder on the device itself. First of all, I'm pretty sure the thing is thinner than a Pencil. And I think they were actually right this time to go thin on the Pro because it would become too heavy to easily wield during normal use. Secondly, many people won't buy the Pencil. If they include a holder on the device itself, then it should ship with the Pencil. This would unnecessarily raise the price for people who wouldn't use it for creative purposes—and also potentially imply that the Pencil is to be used as a primary input device, which it isn't.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,744
1,889
192.168.1.1
This would interest me if the Pencil slot/tab was along the top (in portrait) and not on the back. It being on the back prevents the iPad Pro from laying flat - basically a deal-breaker for me. Nor can the Smart Cover be flipped behind and lay flat against the back.

The best place I've seen to store the Pencil would be along the top edge. Won't get in the way when laying flat, standing in landscape display mode or laying flat in landscape mode for typing with the on-screen keyboard (propped up on Smart Cover or Smart Keyboard). And won't get in the way of the Lightning port at the bottom.
 

davideotape

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2012
452
75
Mine arrived today. Pretty solid for what i need. Agreed the placement is a little awkward, but only because i used velcro on all of my other backs to hang it on the fridge and on the nightstand as a tv so i still need to figure out a solution for that. Otherwise or once thats solved its perfect. Thinner and tougher than i was expecting and a place for the pencil is a necessity for this device
 

jqc

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2007
261
71
I've used the Cover Buddy on my iPad 2, iPad 4 and iPad Air 2 and love them because they make the back less slithery. I can also attest that they do provide some drop protection. Also, I'm confident that the plastic insert WILL fit precisely because in general the machining of the Cover Buddy(s) I've had has been superb.

I'm demo-ing an iPP and Smart Keyboard and would love to have a back cover solution and an easy way to keep the pencil handy. This looks to me like a really useful solution to both problems.
How did you get one for your Air 2? I wanted one but they never sold them on their website.

I was all set on ordering but the specs say it weights 134g, which is 19% of the weight of the IPP, which I feel is too much as I want to keep it as light as possible. Back skins from skinomi/bestskinsever have worked well for me for my air 2/mini4 were I dont have to worry about scratches and it adds no weight, so am going to go that route.
 

jamesrick80

macrumors 68030
Sep 12, 2014
2,513
2,112
I had the coverbuddy for a couple weeks now and I cannot recommend it. The pencil holder is just too flimsy and one time I had it in my messenger bag and the flimsy holder deattached....my pencil was literally in danger of getting smashed within my backpack; lucky it didn't.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.