As many of you will know, I like my tech.  I particularly like Apple’s stuff.

I have, amongst other things, an iPad 2, which I think rocks (my iPad 2 pre-review of this is found here).

Anyway, one of the best things about the iPad 2 is the Apple Smart cover. I actually purchased the smart cover several days b4 I ordered my iPad online (yeah that’s commitment eh?).  The magnetic on/off just rocks (I don’t think I have used the power button on it more than a few times).

So when I was asked to review the new iChic cover I thought: Sure (but knew deep down it couldn’t be as good as the smart cover).  Well I was wrong!

Let me explain.

I have been using the smart cover from Apple for several months now.  And I love it.  The magnetic on/off together with it’s light weight just works for me.  BUT, the one time I wouldn’t mind a more substantial cover is when I travel (which I do a fair bit).  In fact I use the iPad more when I travel that I do at home (since when I travel it’s my mobile computer, and when I am at home, its just a cool device to play with most of the time).

So yeah, the Apple Smart Cover is awesome, but a bit light weight.  There is no back on the Smart Cover, and the front is just held on by a magnet at the side.   But all the covers I have seen are too heavy, or the wrong type (i.e. slide in), so I stuck with it.   Oh, and the smart cover also it only really holds up the iPad in landscape mode, and wouldn’t hold up the iPad handsfree (well) in portrait layout.  But that is less of an issue for me.

So back to the iChic cover – I did have to wonder about the wee bit on the back (a leather tab).  I mean .. it wasn’t a closure, so what was it?  Anyway, I snapped the iPad into the hard back plastic back, and then started playing.  I soon whet DUH when I figured out what that tab was!  It meant that I could now use the iPad in portrait without holding it!  It was a catch to hold the back in place (see image below to the right).  Not only will it allow to hold itself up in portrait mode, but also allows a higher standing up in landscape mode (as shown in the pic below).

And yes, it’s a magnetic lock – so still means I don’t need to turn it on (or off) again.  And the inside front cover is silk – so MUCH nicer on the glass.

So from a starting point where I thought nothing will beat the smart cover I now have to say I have demoted that cover to my back up around the home cover, and will use the iChic whenever I travel (which as already said is heaps).  So if you are after a lightish cover offering a mix of protection (a hard back) and magnetic lock (how could you not?) plus multiple display modes, look now further.  $49 US from the iChic web site (plus $15 shipping to NZ).    It comes in a range of colours (or colors for my north American readers).

Black and White Version: The new iChic slim shell folio cover is now my first choice cover – high praise from me!

Disclosure: No I wasn’t paid to say this.  My going rate to say nice things about stuff I don’t like is FAR more than any company would pay :-)

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