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Review: Get Smart With WaterField Designs' Secure And Stylish iPad Smart Case

Company: WaterField Designs Product: iPad Smart Case Price: $69 (9.7-inch iPad) and $67 (iPad mini) Compatibility: iPad (both 9.7-inch and iPad mini) Date: Oct. 27, 2013 Much like selecting an iPhone case, choosing an iPad cover or case that offers both style and protection is a difficult task. Fortunately, a number of groups pride themselves on creating fashionable, well-designed, yet nevertheless highly protective iPad cases, and one such designer is WaterField Designs. In the past, we've talked about their impressive Indy Leather Bag, and in our most recent review we go hands-on with WaterField's iPad Smart Case.

The Product

[caption id="attachment_479821" align="aligncenter" width="642"] iPad Smart Case.[/caption] For $69 and $67, the first observation worth making is that WaterField Designs' iPad Smart Case beats the prices of Apple's own Smart Case offerings. The new Smart Case for its iPad Air, as you'll remember, carries a $79 price tag, while the new iPad mini Smart Case is set to retail at $69. In both instances, then, WaterField Designs' Smart Case is cheaper. But is it better? The Smart Case offered by WaterField Designs actually comes in four different versions, which support the iPad Air or iPad 4, a Smart Cover-equipped iPad Air or iPad 4, the iPad mini, or a Smart Cover-equipped iPad mini. In our review, we tested the Smart Case alongside an iPad mini (with no Smart Cover attached). Though unusual to a degree, the reason for WaterField Designs offering Smart Cover-compatible iterations of its iPad Smart Case becomes apparent when you first use the product. Working as a kind of sleeve for the enclosed iPad, Apple's tablet slips into the Smart Case and is protected by its heavily padded material; it's a tight, tight fit, however, and one that indeed doesn't appear to leave room even for the minuscule thickness of Apple's Smart Cover - unless you've ordered the Smart Cover-compatible Smart Case. Of course, this isn't a problem. In fact, it's one of the iPad Smart Case's best features. Because once you've slipped your iPad inside the sleeve-like case, you can be sure that it isn't going to fall out of its own accord. After performing a rather nerve-racking test, we can confirm that even the force of its own gravity isn't enough to dislodge the iPad from WaterField Designs' iPad Smart Case, and as such you can feel confident that your iPad wouldn't slip free of its Smart Case in mid-fall, if you happened to drop it. [caption id="attachment_479827" align="aligncenter" width="587"] The iPad Smart Case housing an iPad mini.[/caption] The interior of the heavily padded iPad Smart Case features a soft material, and as such it'll protect the enclosed iPad without damaging its screen or back. There's no danger of any scratches to the iPad being incurred, and you should feel comfortable housing your tablet without using a screen protector or skin. Furthermore, on one side of the Smart Case there's a pouch sewn onto the exterior, which allows users to store earphones, USB cables, or anything else related (or indeed unrelated) to their iPad. Finally, a leather tab helps when pulling one's iPad free of WaterField Designs' iPad Smart Case. For a closer look at the iPad Smart Case, check out the below video.

If you can't see the above video, please click this link.

After using the iPad Smart Case, then, we can confirm that it offers users reliable, stylish protection for their tablet. It feels great to use, is clearly well made, and can compliment one's tablet perfectly.

What's Hot

  • It looks great and is stylish
  • It feels great to use and is well made
  • Your iPad isn't going to slip out
  • Its padding offers protection against falls
  • The interior lining will protect your iPad against scratches
  • The pouch allows users to store other items
  • The leather tab allows users to more easily remove their iPad
  • It's comparably affordable

What's Not

  • It can be difficult to remove the iPad at times (but this is necessary in order for the case to securely house the iPad).

Our Advice

Apple's Smart Cases offer protection for its 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini, but WaterField Designs' iPad Smart Case looks and feels better. Besides protecting the enclosed iPad, the exterior design of the iPad Smart Case is stylish, functional (thanks to its pouch), and is nicer to hold and use. The case feels well made, it's clearly well designed, and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to our readers.


Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★★★ Wow Factor: ★★★★☆ Build Quality: ★★★★★ Value: ★★★★★ Buy Now: $69 (iPad Air or iPad 4) or $67 (iPad mini)
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