WaterField Designs are a company based in San Francisco, with all bags design and made right there. No overseas labor, just pure American love. Quality and design is a big seller for WaterField Designs, and the Smart Case for the iPad/iPad 2 serves as one of their more luxurious sleeve offerings for the iPad. With so many sleeves on the market for iPad users, something unique is essential in setting a case apart from the competition. Find out more after the break!
WaterField Designs has opted for an open top design for this sleeve, with no zippers to contain the iPad. This leaves the final design more elegant, but there is the risk of the iPad falling out. However, the case fits the iPad snug so that if held upside down, it doesn't slip at all. The only real problem I see with an open top is the risk of dropping it directly onto the open side, as the impact force will push the iPad out. Solution? Don't drop it.
The front, back and bottom consist of a nicely textured nylon material, similar to that used on the iPad Wallet. The sides are accented with distressed leather, which looks lovely. The inside is covered with a soft black material that I am confident will not leave any scratches on my iPad. The two layers of material on the front and back are made of several layers of material, and I find the amount of padding more than enough to take everyday bumps. The bottom is also very rigid, with a little loop made of the same leather there to help with removing the iPad.
The front of the sleeve has a black mesh attached to the majority of the front, once again similar in design to the iPad wallet. This is intended as a 'pocket' to hold small accessories, such as a charger and a cable, while keeping the thickness to a minimum. The photo above shows a possible group of items that can be held together (earphones, iPad stand, sync cable, mobile phone and the iPad itself). These item fit without a hassle, though I would only trust this pocket if the sleeve was going in my bag. If I was carrying it on its own, I would be afraid of things dropping out if I mindlessly happened to turn it sideways.
The sleeve itself is fairly compact, and has the right balance between thickness and protection. The case definitely feels sturdy, and I wouldn't be scared to be a bit rough with the iPad when in this sleeve. It's slightly lighter than I thought it would be, but it still has a bit of heft to it. That's the trade off with protection, the thicker it is, the heavier it will be. The quality of the unit itself is outstanding, one of the major selling points of WaterField Designs. I have read many posts about happy customers whose products have lasted many years, and I wouldn't be surprised if this unit was the same. There is no visible stitching, leaving the sleeve looking sleek but at the same time very sturdy.
As I stated previously, I don't see an issue with the iPad sliding out, however, dropping the iPad top-face down could become problematic. The sleeve extends several millimetres past the sides of the iPad, but a small knock would easily slide the iPad's top edge to be exposed. It's something that should be considered with these types of cases. If you plan to carry the iPad out of a bag, it's probably best to buy a fully enclosing sleeve. With the Smart Case, its all about the ease of taking the iPad in and out without the need of opening and closing a zipper.
The case is available in six colours: green, flame, copper, pine, pearl and black. The one pictured here is the flame, which I find blends nicely with the leather accents. At a price of $59, it's probably not the cheapest of it's kind, but the amazing quality of the product, combined with the elegance and protection, make it a nice choice for people looking for a more businessy looking sleeve. It would definitely contrast the leather smart covers nicely. If you want something to protect against bumps within a backpack, this is for you. If you want something that provides complete protection, look elsewhere. They sell the Smart Case to fit the iPad 1, iPad 2 naked or the iPad 2 with a smart cover. Check out the link below for more details!