What’s the best iPad 2 case?

Well here I am again finding myself in the unenviable position of having to be a “typical consumer” and being utterly overwhelmed by the information I find by googling.

I was recently given an iPad 2, and I’m really trying to give it a fair shake in being something that’s more than just a cool toy, and is actually USEFUL to me on a daily basis.  So far, I think it has real promise after adding a few apps and a stylus.  But I’m struggling with being able to take it with me wherever I go.

For that, I need a case.  But holy crap there are a lot of them out there!

I already know I don’t want a “pouch” type case – I don’t want to have to take my iPad completely out of the case in order to use it.  I prefer the “folio” style cases, where I can just flip open a cover and start working.  Still there are so many of THOSE and boy do they range in price.

I’m pretty price conscious – I don’t like to spend a lot on accessories if I can help it – and so I first went over to eBay.  Found a zillion sellers (mostly in China) with all sorts of cases, including many exact knockoffs of some of the expensive brand-name cases for a lot less money.

I settled on a very thin, no-frills case from a US seller, for a whopping $7 shipped.  At that price I figured I could take a chance.  It looked good “on paper” (i.e. on the screen) and I felt it should do the job.

Well it arrived this morning and I have to say – it’s pretty much a piece of junk.  I’m not sure I’ll bother returning it as the postage and time involved might not make it worth the effort.  But this is definitely not “the one”.

For starters, the iPad doesn’t even stay in the thing.  It has a felt-ish backing that is obviously supposed to hold the device in place and keep it from slipping out, but it barely does anything.  There is nothing really holding the iPad in, so it could easily slip out in normal use.  Also the case opens “backwards” with the iPad on the left and the cover on the right!  I expected it to be like any normal folio containing a pad of paper, with the heavy pad on the right and a cover that you flip over to open.  Also due to the iPad slipping, you can’t use the “kickstand” mode at all or the device will fall out the bottom.  Oh and the cutouts for the buttons are a joke – you have to fumble way too much to try and find the button inside the cutout.

OK so those are my complaints.  But now I appeal to the rest of the world (or at least those that actually read my blog…) – what is truly the best iPad folio case, and why?

My only absolute requirements are:

  1. It come in black/grey/silver/something plain and subtle
  2. It hold the iPad firmly in place without any risk of it slipping out
  3. It have workable cutouts for the buttons & such

Ideally I’d like it to be under $30.

Let the suggestions and opinions fly!


10 thoughts on “What’s the best iPad 2 case?

    • Nice one Jack, that does look like it’s just about right. Question – does it fold completely flat so you can use the iPad like a pad of paper? Pictures rarely ever show these cases being used with the cover folded completely around the back, which is frustrating for me trying to make a buying decision! 🙂


  1. I have this case from Bear Motion


    It’s slightly more than you wanted its $40. It does lay flat or you can use the flip cover as a stand. I normally have it laying flat, because I use it to take notes. It does add some size to the ipad (it’s only downfall).

    Let me know if you want me to take a few pics.

    What are your favorite apps so far? I love Notes Plus, Read it Later, and Textastic.

  2. Very cool Keith, thanks for the link. It led me actually to this by chance:


    only $20 for 72 hours so they say. Looks quite nice… I’m going to look into it further!

    My favorite Apps so far are DEFINITELY Notes Plus and Things. I also got a Pogo stylus which I am tremendously under-impressed with (glad I only paid like $4 for it!) I ended up making my own homebrew stylus with ultra-fine grain steel wool and a metal pen, works AMAZINGLY well, no comparison to any commercial stylus on the market.

    I also get a kick out of a free “Cat Toy” app I found. Gives 3 choices of “critter” and a red laser pointer, amuses my cats to no end. LOL


  3. Good find. That case looks a little thinner. It looks good.

    Steel wool, stylus? Nice, I would have never though of steel wool. Is it a fine point? Mine’s the typical ball like you see on the pogo. It works well though.

    • Yeah the stylus can be pretty fine, though for obvious reason you can’t go too fine. Here’s the video that tipped me off to the steel wool:


      It MUST be the #0000 though so it won’t scratch glass. Found a huge pack of it at the local hardware store for $4.50, could probably make 1,000 stylus’ (styli?) out of it.

      My only complaint is that the wool leaves fine bits of itself all over the iPad. I tried putting a very light coat of elmer’s glue on one of my experiments and it worked very well. Stylus requires a bit more pressure now but that’s more like using a real pen anyway. Important thing is not to use too much glue or you lose the conductivity. I tried it with another that was a finer tip, and used too much glue, and the stylus wouldn’t register anymore.

      Some sort of conductive glue would work best but my local electronics store was all out and I didn’t feel like waiting. 🙂

      I’ve had the thought of making steel wool “paint brushes” to use on the iPad, to approximate the feel of actual brushes. I’m not a painter but my other half is so I might ask her to try them out at some point. I certainly have enough steel wool to go around!


  4. yes, it does fold completely flat. The material is very flexible and durable. Good point about reviews typically not showing wether or not a case can fold completely flat. I’ll make mental note of that for future reviews!

  5. Hi, Jonathan,

    I have the ZAGGMate and absolutely love it. I do a fair amount of article writing when I’m out with the kids, waiting for them to finish their after-school activities. I don’t like using the virtual keyboard but I also hate lugging my laptop around.

    It’s an aluminum case that holds/protects the iPad, then doubles as a Bluetooth keyboard. I’m frequently interrupted by coveting passersby who want to know how I got such a small Apple laptop.

    It doesn’t fit into your “low cost” requirement but it is so nice to have a sturdy case and a keyboard. Oh, and if you get it, I highly recommend getting a skin on the front and back of the iPad.

    (Mark’s wife)

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