This is the third in a series of reviews of iPad 2 cases that wrap around the back and sides. Some also come with a screen protector, but the Macally SNAP2-MR does not. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Differences when compared to the previously reviewed Scosche glosSEE and snapSHIELD are immediately obvious. The SNAP2-MR comes in studier plastic packaging, and that made a good impression on me. Here’s a photo. There’s a cardboard insert that fits inside the SNAP2, when inside the plastic package, to make it clear it’s an iPad product.
Sturdy, informative packaging
The next thing I noticed is that the SNAP2 is neither polycarbonate nor soft gel, but a metalized plastic shell that has what I can only describe as a satin finish. It feels a lot like the Scosche snapSHIELD, and flexes similarly, but is not transparent. It is only mildly resistant to slipping on a sloped surface, but I didn’t try a lot of different surface types.
One important design difference, compared to the Scosche snapSHIELD, is that the SNAP2 clips only along the long edges of the iPad 2, that is, the sides. The top and bottom of the iPad 2 are left semi-exposed. The result is that it’s easier to brush small bits of debris (cookie crumbs!) off the iPad display. It also has the aesthetic effect of revealing more of the iPad, and the contrast between the red sides and silver top and bottom makes for an interesting look. There may be other technical reasons for this design decision, and I’ve asked Macally about it. (My first guess is that the case, with metallic content, might interfere with GSM/CDMA iPad antennas if it wrapped fully around the top.) Here’s a look at the top right side showing how the clip edge transitions and leaves the top of the iPad 2 unencumbered.
Side edge and top of iPad 2
This case has about the same flexure as polycarbonate, and that makes it easy to remove. I didn’t find that having only the sides doing the gripping made the case any more likely to accidentally come off. It attaches firmly, yet is easy to remove. I can only imagine how mechanical engineers wrestle with that design requirement.
One of the negatives I discovered with the satin finish is that it will show finger prints. However, a little bit of iKlear and a microfiber cloth with some heavy rubbing will remove the finger prints.
Here’s a photo of the back of the iPad that shows how it wraps around and remains open at the bottom. This material is not transparent, so you’ll lose visibility of your Apple logo — if that’s important to you. Note the very nice beveling of the edges and the expansion slots that make the case easy to apply and remove.
Speaker opening is nicely beveled. Note expansion slots.
What I Liked
Like the Scosche snapSHIELD, this kind of case contributes to the overall solidity of the iPad 2 but doesn’t add much weight. In terms of grip, the satin feel is certainly different that polycarbonate, but I can’t say that one is any better than the other. They’re just different, and if pressed, I think the polycarbonate has a better grip and feel. But it’s a close call.
The SNAP2-MR only comes in a metallic red that’s very handsome and will make your iPad stand out. The contrast between the red sides and silver edge of the iPad, as seen when you’re using the iPad 2, is beautiful. If you’re Alexis Castle (ABC’s TV show Castle) and want to make a splash, this is probably the case of choice.
Macally focuses on the case and doesn’t presume to vex you with the process of trying to apply a screen protector with perfect optics. It seems like they’ve allocated the costs, instead, to sturdier packaging. While it gets thrown away right away, it does protect the case better, especially for retail display, and it exhibits a bit of pride in the product.
Macally’s glamor shots
What I Didn’t Like
Except for the fact that the satin finish tends to accumulate fingerprints, there is very little to not like about this case — assuming of course that this is the kind of case you’re after.
Making the Case
Like the Scosche cases, the price is US$29.99. You may feel like you get less without a screen protector included, but there is a certain feel and look to this case that makes it especially appealing. And perhaps that’s the distinguishing characteristic. The SNAP2-MR is designed to look very cool while protecting the iPad with minimalism. The Scosche cases give up some glamor and focus on all-round protection. That means that if you’re in a lab, technical or academic environment, you may want to lean towards the (gel) glosSEE. If you’re primarily using the iPad at home or in the office, the SNAP2-MR, with it’s distinctive look and feel, may be the better choice.
I described the Scosche glosSEE and snapSHIELD as practically perfect, and I’ve found myself regularly switching between them depending on my mood. Now that I’ve had the SNAP2-MR for several days, I’m tending to select it as the default, primarily for its minimalist design and great looks. It too is practically perfect. I can’t see the Apple logo on the back, but, d’oh, who looks at that side of the iPad?
A Note About Cases
The kind of iPad case you need depends on how you use your iPad. If you travel frequently, you may want a folio case or the Apple iPad Smart Cover that protects the face. However, my iPad tends to be in my office on my Keynamics iPad stand or in my lap on the couch. There are no kids in the house, just well behaved cats. So my iPad remains fairly protected, and what I am interested in is “swipe and go.” I don’t want anything else wrapped around the iPad that will get in my way on my lap, and what I really need is something to protect that back and sides from grit or sticky stuff on my desk or the coffee table. That’s the special appeal of this kind of case.
Certain folio cases just don’t work well with a stand like this