id America's SmartFold for the iPad mini is yet another one of them folio-style cases with borrowed innovation first pioneered by Apple's Smart Cover. In a marketplace that's literally flooded with shameless resembling offerings, the SmartFold surprisingly floats to the top with its improved Smart Case-like design and notable execution. id America's SmartFold for the iPad mini is a $40 approach to fulfill your demanding checklist for a great case that offers a full 360 degree protection, "smart" magnetic features and one luxurious leatherette package that'll fool just about anyone who claims they know what real leather is all about.
Folio cases like the SmartFold are chosen due to their unique ability to provide full front and back protection while having the ability to fold into generally two types of comfortable, hands-free viewing positions. But before we get into details and how the SmartFold actually performs as a whole, exteriorly it resonates an undisputable executive styling. What perhaps impressed me the most was the use of this incredibly real-esque leatherette material which goes by many other terms such as faux leather. It's not genuine natural leather that at some point was the skin of some live animal of sorts, but one that looks and feels like real expensive leather - but becomes immediately apparent that it isn't when you smell it.
So in other words, the SmartFold does a very good job at looking like it's made out of real quality leather while it really isn't. The price does speak for itself too. If you love leather but cannot pay the price, this is the next best thing. I love how the SmartFold's Smart Cover-esque cover has a beveled edged design as opposed to looking flat and dull.
Drop protection at its best
Like a turtle flipped on its backside, you can see that there's an extra layer of padding that almost acts like the underlining of an armored vehicle in that it's there to provide additional protection where other similar types of folio cases fail to achieve this with their thin piece of material. Apple's own Smart Case is a good example of that, but unfortunately it was never ported over to the iPad mini. Couple that with the SmartFold's rugged construction and rather thick form factor, and you've got an amazing drop-protective iPad mini case.
Taking a quick look at the bottom, there are individual cutouts for the iPad mini's Lightning connector port as well as its stereo speakers. We've gone over individual cutouts before and why they're there. It's due to retaining a strong support of the case's structure. The cutouts are nice and wide, leaving no trouble for you to press the iPad mini's volume and sleep/wake buttons, or plug in a pair of headphones with a slim 3.5mm audio plug.
I'm guessing you're wondering whether or not these drop-protective assumptions can equally be said when the SmartFold is at its most vulnerable state - open flap state that is. We can put your concerns to rest thanks to the SmartFold's supportive frame that covers up the iPad mini's bezel whilst keeping the screen recessed and away from harm. If you look closely, there's a small imperfection where the round embedded magnet creates an insignificant bulge in the bottom right corner. Nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance though. The fit is near-perfect had it not been for the SmartFold's slightly roomy interior. There's just a little bit of extra room that should have been shrunken down to form-fit the ultra-slim design of the iPad mini a bit better than it really is. Other than this being a small visual detail upon closer inspection, it doesn't affect the SmartFold's performance in anyway.
Speaking of embedded magnets, the front cover is able to sit completely flush when closed and not in use while the embedded magnets bond it securely shut up against the SmartFold's interior frame. I would go as far as saying id America's implementation of the SmartFold's front cover is slightly better than Apple's Smart Case mostly because of the flat design as opposed to the Smart Case's thin interior frame which isn't completely flat by comparison.
One of the great features about the SmartFold is that unlike many other cases of its type, the frame that covers and snuggly keeps the iPad mini secured within the folio case itself, has an amazing flat design which supports itself in that it feels sturdy and much like a solid picture frame. This gives you the comfortable feeling of pressing your thumb down on the sides without the frame flexing away or drooping. You can comfortably hold your iPad mini by the side without actually touching the display like you would without using a folio case.
Thickness wise, the SmartFold is thicker or some might even say bulkier than the average iPad mini folio case, but for good reason. It's a lot more protective than slimmer variants and will most likely appeal to you if you're looking to get a very grounded, and drop protective folio-style case. The good news is that the front cover flap can be flipped around the back while it sits completely flush and flat against the back of the SmartFold making holding and using the iPad mini very pleasing. And because the SmartFold's front cover isn't a flimsy one, it does a good job doing what you want it to do.
The SmartFold's front cover flap is just as rigid as the interior frame which keeps the iPad mini in its rightful place. This is one of the more rigid folio covers I've ever seen and that's actually a good thing when you consider protection and sturdiness. You can feel the heft of the front cover when begin to fold it into its triangular shape when you want to form a stand. And speaking of the stand functionality, the SmartFold's cover folds into a triangle with its three segments just like the iPad mini version of the Smart Cover. It then magnetically clings to the rigid backside of the SmartFold where it forms a very reliable and sturdy stand for landscape viewing. The viewing angle is perfect if you're using an external Bluetooth keyboard to type on or simply want to enjoy a movie and so on.
Don't have an external keyboard? Well then, the SmartFold comes in handy as it can also fold into a superb slanted orientation that's best suitable for typing on the iPad mini's on-screen keyboard. What's more is that the SmartFold also features magnets embedded inside its cover that will automatically wake your iPad mini as well as put it to sleep. Again, the SmartFold does exactly everything Apple's Smart Cover does with the added protective benefits of the iPad's Smart Case. So it should all be very familiar territory for you if you're not a total newbie to the whole iPad ecosystem.
I'm not one who likes to use folio style cases because they just don't appeal to me and my simplistic needs, but I can definitely see how others will have a great experience in using the SmartFold and all of its solid features. It's one of the better performing drop protective folio-style case we reviewed for the iPad and iPad mini, and one that we can easily recommend to anyone looking for a quality leather-like folio case with great Smart Cover features. If only the price was slightly less expensive and the from-fitting more precise, the SmartFold for the iPad mini would have seen an even higher rating from us. You can find id America's SmartFold for the iPad mini not just in black, but in 6 colors including red and white.