After buying an iPad 2, there's an important question to ask yourself - to case or not to case? Refuse to use and you can appreciate the tablet's full beauty, for about a week - after which it'll likely become a scratched-up mess. Opt for a case and you can wave goodbye to its ultra-slim aluminium look. Unless you opt for a SmartFit2 Clear iPad 2 case from The Joy Factory.
This is a very simple clear plastic skin that clips onto the back of your iPad, covering the rear apart from the speaker grill and any useful side elements. The SmartFit2 also leaves the left edge exposed to accommodate an official Apple Smart Cover too, which further adds to the sense that this is an unobtrusive addition.
The case keeps the iPad 2 in place with a very slight ridge that runs along the top extremity. Fitting it on is very simple - a light push is all that's needed to get it on, but a much more defined yank required to release the iPad. Despite its sparse design, it's no flimsy fit accessory.
SmartFit2 Clear's top benefit is that it doesn't dramatically change the size, weight or look of your iPad. The thing still looks lovely, is very comfortable to hold and is only roughly 1mm thicker. At just 60g, you'll barely notice it's attached, weight-wise.
Choosing such a minimal method of protection is dotted with pitfalls, though. Made of lightly flexible plastic rather than rubber, it offers little impact protection - it'll crack before your iPad does, but it won't save the tablet from a proper fall.
Durability is also poorer than a silicone alternative. Relying on just a very small lip of plastic, frequently removing and inserting the tablet will significantly curtail its longevity - the smallest chip will diminish its grip power.
It also becomes scratched fairly easily, though while the iPad 2 is attached you'll only notice these if they become pretty bad.
If you only need very light protection for a tablet that's going to spent the vast majority of its time sitting at home, the SmartFit2 case is one of our top recommendations. There's something awful about buying a gadget so good-looking only to hide it away in a bulky case - this is one way to avoid that feeling, without exposing your new toy to the elements. Or the cat's claws.
The Joy Factory's SmartFit2 iPad 2 case offers very basic protection, but retains the look and feel of your tablet much better than most. It's lightweight, transparent, and some onlookers may not even notice it. Roving iPads probably deserve something more robust, but if it's going to stay at home, this is a top choice.