All iPads What's with the obsession of the Smart Cover type cases?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by jedolley, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. jedolley macrumors 68000

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    #1
    As someone who is shopping for a case for my new Retina iPad mini, I find it frustrating that the market is flooded with these smart cover/smart case knock-offs (i.e. Poetic Slimline). Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with cheap case options, but what I do have a problem with is three-panel (four-panel in the full size iPad's case) design that has become so popular that Amazon is littered with different no-name brands with the same case.

    I guess what frustrates me the most is that it's not even one of the better "functional" designs. I realize this is only my opinion, but I think the stand design (not the case itself) for the original iPad case was better and I would love to see more options with that stand design and a shell enclosure (instead of the slide-in enclosure Apple used), sort of like the Brenthaven Trek case. I also think the design the Devicewear Ridge uses is also superior.

    Do people really think the Smart Cover/Case design is superior? Are people scooping up the Poetic Slimline because it's superiorly functional or because it's a great value (or both I suppose)? If Poetic made a case similar to the Brenthaven Trek case or the Devicewear Ridge and sold it at a similar price, do you think those designs/cases would be more popular?

    I guess this is part me venting after a few days of case searching and another part of me wondering what other people think.
     
  2. rgarjr macrumors 603

    rgarjr

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  3. Nhwhazup macrumors 68000

    Nhwhazup

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    #3
    I would be totally into the original design Apple ipad case but snap in back. However the only one I've seen with this style is the Tumi. It's pricey at $145. But even so, as I really liked this design the best, I bought this case. Loved the design, loved the quality. The only issue I had was that the cover was wicked heavy. Seemed that the cover weighed more than other full cases. I ended up returning it.
     
  4. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Are you referring to Apple's leather Smart Case or just making a general statement about leather?

    Personally, I have no strong affection for leather, but do like my cases well made. If I were looking at a leather case, I would probably start with a Vaja case or something similar since they offer leather and their case designs don't use the tri/quad-panel design.
     
  5. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    The Tumi case does look nice, but not for $145. Other cases I have found with similar designs are the Brenthaven Trek Folio and an Amazon brand called Photive has one, but it's got mixed reviews and I'm not sure if it's Retina mini compatible.
     
  6. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a

    SomeGuyDude

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    #6
    It's because most people don't want cases or covers that add a lot of bulk. The tri-fold design lets you prop it up in different positions without requiring extra parts or thickness. Same reason people tend to balk at Otterbox Defenders except for when totally needed.
     
  7. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #7
    I don't know if you can say "most", not enough info out there to come to that conclusion. Also, you can get the same weight/lack of bulkiness from the designs I mentioned.
     
  8. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a

    SomeGuyDude

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    #8
    The vendors follow the market. They produce what sells the best. Look at the review counts on Amazon for the smart cover knockoffs. Those are what sell, those are what people are after. I didn't say they're better or worse, just that there's a trend toward them.

    It's the same reason the Air makes such a big deal about being thin and light. For a lot of people, they don't want to upgrade to the thinnest and lightest tablet out there and then stick it in a thick padded case. I'd wager a lot of people would go naked if they felt comfortable with it.
     
  9. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #9
    I get that, but are people really buying the knock-offs because of the design or because it looks like Apple's case?

    Again, I'm not looking to add much bulk to my iPad either, and neither of the case designs I have suggested would be considered a "thick padded case".
     
  10. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a

    SomeGuyDude

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    #10
    They're buying the knockoffs because they want the design of the smart cover and are attracted by the lower price. Simple as that. I'd argue that very, very few are just doing it to have the appearance of an "Apple" case for less. It's an iPad cover, not a pair of Ray Bans.

    I'd also heavily bet that there are more knockoffs because the smart cover type CANNOT be hard to make. It's a really thin trifold case with a magnet. There can't be much by way of materials, the design is simple. It's like the two buck TPU iPhone cases. The suggested cases seem like it would be tougher for companies like Poetic to make them for ten bucks.
     
  11. Nhwhazup macrumors 68000

    Nhwhazup

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    #11
    I do agree, that at least from reading these forum threads, that most iPad owners are looking for a lightweight, slim case with a cover that has the wake and sleep function.

    I go through crazy case searches every time I get a new iProduct. Usually takes me at least a couple of months to find the perfect case for me. Once I find that case, I would love to just get a new one to fit the new phone or iPad. Wouldn't that be wonderful not to go through the crazy search again? However, here's my dilemma - either the same case is totally changed or the company is out of business or their new cases aren't out for months. I think this year for my Air was the worst. I probably tried around 15 cases before ending up with no case but a back skin with a few different colors of the Smart Cover to swap out. I actually like this combination even better than a case. I always wanted scratch protection for both the screen and back of the iPads but although I always quickly put on a screen protector, I never even thought about a back skin. My main reason for a case was to give a better grip when holding the iPad. I find that the skin does just that. Once I tried the skin, I found that I liked the total lightweight and slim form factor and the ease of quickly pulling off or switching up the cover. When I take the iPad out of the house, it goes in my purse for protection.
     
  12. Cptnodegard macrumors 6502

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    Jan 17, 2013
    #12
    Official iPad mini smart case with stylus holder and magnets for the cover to snap to the back

    [​IMG]

    Some things are easy enough to add to a case so that it doesnt need to be there when you buy it IMHO
     
  13. jrs22 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I originally bought a poetic slimline based on the reviews here, just to tide me over until there was a better selection of air cases out there. What I found was that the plastic shell fits perfectly, both stand options function well enough for typing, reading and viewing, and the folded front cover is convenient to hold when using the camera.

    I had heavy folio cases on my first two iPads (both alive and well in their new home) and taking photos was so awkward that the iPad was in danger with every shot. I frequently use the camera to take photos of art projects as I work so this is important to me.
     
  14. Nhwhazup macrumors 68000

    Nhwhazup

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    #14
    I totally agree with you about the Poetic cases. Although after my endless search, I ended up with a skin on the back and Smart covers to swap out, my favorite case option is the Poetic. I have the cases in both red and white and will most likely keep them and I also have their frosted back only case which I can use over my skin for a bit more protection when out of the house. What I like about the Poetic is that their quality is great. Other cases I received such as iBlason - came with a split in the plastic and the other with a molded in black spot.
     
  15. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #15
    I just want to clarify that I am not focusing on build quality, but actual case/stand design. I've tried out the Poetic and I agree it's a nice case, but it's the tri-panel design that I don't like.

    I do have a question since it's been awhile since I used the case... Has Poetic updated their case to include magnets on the edge (like the Apple case) or are they still relying on the weight of the iPad to keep the triangle together in stand mode?
     
  16. Nhwhazup, Dec 28, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013

    Nhwhazup macrumors 68000

    Nhwhazup

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    #16
    I agree with you that the folio with the cover that tucks in back is the most sturdy with respect to both typing and stand modes. My overall favorite case design was a snap in back with the front cover that also had a tab that really helped the iPad to be totally secure when the tab was stuck in the loop on the back. That was one I got got for my original iPad. I think it was a Yoobao. Of course they only made that design the first year. For my iPad 3 I had another Yoobao that was a soft back with the one fold cover. It was another decent design but the case didn't wear all that well.

    The Poetic cases do definitely seem to have magnets at the edge. Their trifold holds together better than the Apple Smart case in my opinion.

    Because I couldn't find a decent case with the design we both like, I ended up with a Smart Cover and skin. Although this combination wouldn't have been my original choice, once I tried it and got used to it for a week, I'm sold. I find the Smart Cover to have magnets that work very well and keep the tri-fold secure. The Smart case magnets were not secure at all. Now, when I read in bed, due to the lighter weight of the air, I find myself using it with no cover.
     
  17. jrs22 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    I mentioned aspects of build quality simply because there are other inexpensive cases that look just like the poetic slimline but don't function like it. Some of the others draw more complaints about the snap on back not fitting properly and the stand not working.

    I just checked and the magnets do hold the trifold in place which is probably why I can type in the upright position.

    The folio style might be more important if your iPad travels with you. I have an iPod touch and so I rarely take my iPad out.
     
  18. mpantone macrumors 6502

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    Mar 20, 2009
    #18
    I like the tri-panel Smart Cover design as it does add stand functionality without extra bulk (like the original iPad case from Apple), it adds the sleep/wakeup function, and it's easy to remove.

    The four-panel Smart Cover design originally introduced with the iPad 2 is more stable than the three-panel design for the current iPad mini Retina.

    I've come to the conclusion that I dislike the bulk of full-body cases, as they largely neutralize much of the enjoyment of using a slim, lightweight device. This dislike also extends to portfolio-style cases that protect the back of the iPad.

    The only time I care for full-body protection is when the iPad leaves the house and gets shoved in a backpack, so I opt for a sleeve that can transport the iPad along with the Smart Cover. That way, the sleeve provides protection in transit, but when I get to my destination, I can use the iPad normally without a bulky case.

    This is the leather sleeve from Etsy that I'm currently using for my iPad mini Retina:

    [​IMG]

    It is sized to accommodate the Smart Cover and is spacious enough where I can insert a couple sheets of paper for note-taking.
     
  19. asleep macrumors 68040

    asleep

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    #19
    As do I. No all that different, but very well executed and functionally solid. It just shows to go you that you need to get a bunch of these similar looking cases in hand to actually understand why one rises above the others. Or trust reviewers like Metagamers.
     
  20. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

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    #20
    I bought a Poetic case for a friends Kindle after seeing Metagamers review it. I was skeptical because of the $9 price. When it finally arrived, I was pleased at the quality and the sleep awake function. After a 1yr it hasn't shown any wear at all. I'm pleased at my $9 case.

    Smart covers like any iPad case gives the consumer options. I was going through my stuff the other day and came across the first iPod case that was shipped with the iPod. It was a black little sleeve bag. No function but to cover when not in use. Smart Covers is light years away from that design.

    I like that now there are cases that don't cost $30 or more and that have a nice build quality to it. Remember everyone is not using the iPad the same way. Some use it for work vs play. Some allow their kids to play on them. So you would need to have an option for a case… I'm still looking for that perfect smart cover case to fit my needs.
     
  21. jedolley thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #21
    Ok, so I decided to give the Poetic Slimline case another shot... I had originally got one back when the first iPad mini came out and was really underwhelmed, and the case got a lot of praise back then too.

    I received it today and was quickly impressed by the look, feel, and quality (especially considering the price). Even though I was impressed, I was not surprised as this was never my issue with the original one. As I have stated throughout this thread, build quality was not my issue with this or these types of cases. My issue has been the tri-panel design and it's lack of stability which I experienced as recently with the Apple Smart Case for iPad mini.

    I put the Poetic Slimline in "stand" mode and started playing around with it... Then I intentionally tried to collapse it or knock it down, but it stayed strong. I was impressed and willing to "eat crow" for my previous statements. If done correctly (i.e. Poetic Slimline) the tri-panel design is definitely usable, but still not my favorite design. The Poetic Slimline is a solid case, but I still have two problems with it (fairly minor).

    1. I don't like the side being exposed... This is an issue with most of these cases so I don't fault Poetic directly, but I still don't like it.
    2. The angle of the landscape stand is not great and as far as I can tell cannot be improved upon.

    Even with those two issues the Poetic Slimline is currently my favorite case for the iPad mini with Retina display and I have tried the following cases so far: Apple Smart Case, Devicewear Ridge (close second), Brenthaven Trek Folio, Roocase Origami case, and Anker Slim-Fit case. I have the Kavaj Berlin coming in and assume it will be between that and the Poetic for my final decision.

    The Devicewear Ridge is still my favorite design and I really think Devicewear could improve it by making it slimmer/lighter. I think they could accomplish this by making the front cover as slim as the Poetic and then using a textured pattern on the inside of the cover instead of the ridges (may have to change the name in that case :D). I think it's only the bulkiness of the front cover that keeps the Ridge from being as slim as these other cases. Actually the Anker case is a good example of what I just described... The problem with the Anker case is that they have the cover extend fully over the back covering the shell which seems unnecessary and creates bulk to what could have been a solid slim case.
     
  22. donnaw macrumors 65816

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    #22
    I agree with the OP about the tri--four fold stands. I bought the original Smart Cover and hated it. But I need a case with a stand for travel. I finally found the STM Grip and loved it. In fact I bought another for my husband and he loves it too. It was light, on-off worked, had a snap to keep it closed, every port was aligned properly, and had a two stage stand that snapped out of the back. During my last trip with my iPad 3 the guy sitting next to me spilled his coke during turbulence all over my iPad. Luckily I had just closed it or it would have been covered with liquid and probably it would have gotten into a port. My case saved it and all I had to do was wash it off.

    Unfortunately they changed the design a bit for the Air. It's a bit heavier and the snap to hold it closed has to be worked to make it close correctly. And it doesn't seem to fit just right. It leaves a bit of a gap at the ends when closed, not much but the old one was perfect. I still have it and use it but I'm disappointed since the other one was so good.

    The manufactures seem to have given up on designs other than the foldable covers like Apple makes. Every case I've looked at had something missing. I just wish one of them would make the right combination I want. Sigh.........
     
  23. Raffi macrumors 6502a

    Raffi

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    #23
    Hardcandycases sells a case similar to the original iPad case.
     

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