January 5, 2012 | Andy Boxall
Apple introduced the Smart Cover with the iPad 2 last year, saying that rather than let owners cover their beautiful tablets in unattractive cases to protect the screen, they’d made a good-looking, Apple certified one themselves. It’s clever too, as it not only attaches to the iPad 2 using magnets, but uses one to activate and deactivate the screen when the cover is opened or closed too.
I got mine a short while after getting the iPad 2. It’s perfect because the tablet rarely leaves the house, and it’s slim enough not to interfere with sliding the iPad into a protective sleeve when not in use. It feels very well made, the blue looks great against the white iPad 2, and the magnetic clasps keep it in its triangular stand position with no problems at all.
Then along comes the Choiix Wake Up Folio, an interesting take on the Smart Cover, as although it resembles Apple’s design from the front, instead of attaching to the iPad’s chassis with magnets, it’s fixed to a plastic shell and therefore offers complete, all-round protection.
Available in a wide variety of colors from blue, black and grey to bright pink and orange, our review case is finished in green and white. Inside, it’s covered in a grey microfiber, just like the early Smart Covers. While the panels feel a little thicker, they also bend far more than the Apple model.
The grey microfiber continues on to line the inside of the hard shell, in which the iPad 2 slots perfectly. It snaps into place and is held very tightly, with no chance of it accidentally coming loose. All the ports and buttons are left uncovered, plus there’s a cutout on the rear for the camera lens, and a grille over the speaker.
Holding the iPad 2 in a landscape orientation is more pleasant with the Wake Up Folio fitted, as it takes away the sharpness of the naked iPad 2′s chassis. The cover folds away neatly behind the tablet, and although the whole thing was a little heavier, it was noticeably more comfortable to hold for long periods.
The sleep/wake magnetic function worked without any issue, however the folding stand feature was more problematic. With the Apple Smart Cover, it can be folded up into a stand and left on its own, something I often do to keep it out of the way when playing certain games. With the Wake Up Folio, the magnets just weren’t strong enough to hold the cover in place without the weight of the iPad against them.
For example, picking the iPad 2 up with one hand and folding the cover into a triangle with the other, just saw it spring out flat immediately. Setting it down on the table, then holding the cover together underneath so the iPad 2 would keep it in position made it work, but it’s a far from ideal solution. I just didn’t have the confidence to leave it free-standing in the upright position at all, for fear the cover would unravel itself and the iPad would fall flat on its face.
In case this was due to the Folio’s ‘new-ness’, I gave the individual sections a good bend, hoping this would reduce strain on the magnets. It made no difference to that, but instead stopped the cover from laying completely flat anymore.
This really let the Wake Up Folio down, and despite the attraction of the hard shell section, the cover doesn’t work as well as Apple’s own Smart Cover. Choiix’s Wake Up Folio for the iPad 2 is priced at the same $39 price point as the polyurethane Smart Cover, so it’s better value in that it has the hard shell included, but worse because the cover isn’t as functional.
Until Choiix, a division of Cooler Master, beefs up the Wake Up Folio’s magnets, we can’t recommend it over the Apple Smart Cover.