If you're willing to spend a little more than average on a case for your iPad 2, a brand like Pipetto is worth checking out. It uses "genuine" materials, like leather and suede, rather than cheaper fake alternatives, to offer the luxurious feel you won't find in a bargain basement case. Oh, and it's a British company too.
Pipetto's latest case is the Smart Cover, which comes in navy blue and forest green. Unlike Pipetto's other models, though, it isn't made predominantly from leather. Employing a mixture of fabrics, including corduroy, as well as some leather trim elements, it has a look all of its own - something that very few cases offer.
Functionality-wise, it's fairly standard, though. Using a folio design, it offers full-body protection, is meant to be kept on the tablet 24/7 and it doubles up as a stand. Along the fabric divide of the front flap is a crease, letting its front popper plug into an additional popper at the back. This rear clasp isn't just there to enable the stand function, either.
Underneath it is a slimline pocket. At a stretch it'll hold a smartphone, but the popper doesn't have the strength to keep much of a pocket bulge in check. The front popper is the same - it's not strong enough to hold the weight of the iPad 2, opening under fairly light pressure. As Pipetto admits on its website, it's all about a mix of style and substance - and here the style wins out.
A style choice that comes to define the Pipetto Smart Cover is its use of bright tartan fabric inside. It fits-in very well with the brown leather iPad surround, but is sure to have put some of you off already. In a world of near-identical black iPad cases, it's a refreshing change.
The case's outside is more demure, but is similarly carefully-contrived. Two-thirds is fabric bearing a stitched boxy design and one third slightly darker corduroy, it's not for everyone but the look works so well as a cohesive whole that it's hard not to view it as a design success. There's a whiff of riding boots and aspirations of pony ownership to it, but it looks great nevertheless.
To join the eye-catching design, the Pipetto Smart Cover for iPad 2 offers two extra features not seen in much cheaper cases. The "Smart" of its title refers to magnets in the front cover that automatically take the iPad in and out of sleep mode as the cover is opened and closed, and it offers an adjustable briefcase-like handle.
Two strips of leather with poppers at each end sit in the case's spine. They can be removed completely, or arranged as either a short of long handle. The poppers here are, thankfully, much stronger than the little one on the back pocket, and are easily capable of taking the iPad's weight. The main downside of having the strap attached is the extra bulk it adds - when the cover is flipped around, it stops you from being able to fold it back flat. It also ensures the Pipetto is rather weighty. At 372g, it's a good 100g heavier than the folio norm.
For a case as carefully-designed as the Pipetto Smart Cover, that some of its poppers are a litte weak and often require a realigning is a little disappointing. This the latter problem only crops-up when the iPad is inserted - they line-up perfectly sans tablet - suggesting the look may have given a priority boost over logistics. However, it's clear where the money has gone here. Yes, plenty had been piled into style but there's real merit to the high quality of materials used.
With a look like no other and materials that wouldn't seem out of place on an expensive garment, the Pipetto Smart Cover iPad 2 Case gets pretty close to justifying its high price. We have some minor reservations - the poppers aren't quite perfectly aligned in use and the back pocket could be stronger - but these criticisms only pop-up because of its high price. In quality terms, it's far ahead of most iPad cases.