The bottom line: The iPad Air Smart Case excels as a stylish, lightweight and high-quality protective enclosure. It fails a little bit at being a stand.
Since I ordered my iPad Air and the corresponding smart case ($79) from Apple the day they were first available, I’d imagine I am one of the first to post a review. Normally, a case isn’t something I would feel needed to be reviewed because it does something so simple: protect your purchase. Typically, when shopping for a case, I’m usually only looking at how stylish and durable it might be. If it has some extra functionality baked in that makes it unique, that is worth considering as well.
I opted for the Project Red iPad Air Smart Case pictured above less for the AIDS assistance (sadly) and more for the color (though I’m happy some of the proceeds will go on to help people in need). I tend to like bright colors and this is definitely a bright case. For my last iPad I had purchased Apple’s Smart Cover. I’ll never do that again. The back of the iPad is the easiest to scratch and get messed up. Eventually I ended up buying a whole new case that covered both sides. So, with this new purchase I didn’t want to take any chances and went for the Smart Case.
Since the Smart Case was “Designed by Apple in California” I assumed it would be the epitome of perfection. For the most part it is, but when it comes to acting as a stand to watch movies, for instance, it kinda sucks. I can’t believe I’m saying that about an Apple product, but the truth is it barely stands up. It’s weird because the triangle stand that forms in the back anchors to itself magnetically, but the magnetic connection it fairly week. If you so much as slightly touch the top of the iPad while in this formation, the stand will collapse. That means you won’t be able to push the home button without bracing the stand/iPad from the back first (because it will fall over). I couldn’t tell you if the Smart Case for iPad Mini works the same way or not.
If you are looking for an iPad case that looks good and is made of top-quality material, this is a great purchase. If you plan on making heavy use of the stand feature, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.