bighugenerd
 
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Another day, another iPad 2 case. Or two. Today we present you the grandest showdown in the miniscule history of bighugenerd. In one corner we have the Speck FitFolio, and in the other – the Targus Protective Cover/Stand. We think both are mostly winners in their own way, but which would we pick for everyday use? Find out after the jump.

We love cases at bighugenerd. It’s like getting a new pair of shoes lovingly designed and sized just for us and no one else. We also have big imaginations, as you can tell. But, both the Targus and the Speck fit the iPad 2 perfectly. Custom design indeed!

Yes, FitFolio sounds like a disease from the Far East, and you really couldn’t be less imaginative than Targus’s “Protective Cover/Stand,” but then again Targus really weren’t misleading anyone, so we give them credit there.

Well, we have to start somewhere. So let’s begin with the Targus Protective Cover/Stand.

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Available only in black, the outside is covered by handsome-looking faux-leather, as seems to be often the case (ho ho ho) these days. The sharp-looking light blue stitching is quite consistent around the outside.

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The inside is a micro-suede-like material, is very soft and won’t hurt your precious iPad 2 at all. 

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Getting the iPad 2 into the cover proved to be a little tricky. You have to slide it under the clasps that stick out of the case. We’re going to call these things “grippers,” because they’re the only reason the iPad 2 doesn’t fall out. With some (read: a lot of) trepidation, we slid the iPad into the case, under the grippers. Thankfully they don’t hurt your Apple device at all as it slides in, but be prepared to have the power button toggled on and off a few times as your iPad journeys into its final resting place in the cover.

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Once in, there’s absolutely no way the iPad 2 will fall out, and the case itself gave us great confidence in its solidity.

In terms of usable angles, there are really only two (if you don’t count the case folding flat on itself). As you can see, not a whole lot of flexibility here, and we believe Targus should have put another indentation or two in the micro-suede for more customization of angles. 

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Now in terms of usage, the Targus case is quite a nice case. But (isn’t there always a but?) it’s a bulky thing, and well… let’s go back to those grippers. They are ugly as sin! They taunt you from their off-center position top and bottom of the iPad, and they’re also ugly, and really ugly. Did we mention they’re ugly? Cause they are.  

The other issue with the case is that while in landscape mode, propped up and looking quite dashing, the iPad 2’s rear end is rather exposed. And this is never a good thing! And while this isn’t any NSFW-type action going on here, we’re rather protective of our iPads’ rear ends round these parts, so this bothers us quite a bit…

And then there’s the coverage the case offers. Even with the case closed up tight, there’s quite a bit of the iPad 2 exposed, and we like to preserve the iPad’s modesty whenever possible. We think a tighter case design could have preserved functionality while still exposing the speaker and dock connector 

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And lastly, we’re not sure how we feel about the way the case closes together on the iPad 2. It’s sort of a clasp 
that you have to bend out/push around the iPad 2 to close it. Just… the pressure you have to exert around the iPad 2 makes us a little leery. Yep, we’re leery. 

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So What's to Like?

We like the feel of the faux leather. It’s soft and pleasant in our hands. We also appreciate the consistency of the stitching, and the case really is put together in a quality way. No chance of the iPad 2 falling out. 

So What's Not to Like?

Not enough flexibility of positions to hold the iPad 2 in. Bulkier than the FitFolio, and too many exposed edges! Those gripper things just kill the aesthetics of the front of the iPad 2. We could never get over their presence. We swear we could hear them taunt us as we fell asleep with Angry Birds in our laps.  Did we mention we don’t like the gripper things?

Verdict:

We can imagine there are those of you out there who will love this case. We’re just not one of those people. While we certainly don’t hate it,  there are some changes we’d love to see happen. Until then, we award the Targus Protective Cover/Stand a not-too shabby 3.5 nerds. 

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Let's move on now, shall we?

One of Speck’s first attempts at dressing up the iPad 2 all stylish-like is the FitFolio. Supposedly available soon in a myriad of other colors, red is all that’s available at launch, and it’s certainly... red.
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First impressions are reasonably good. This seems like a solid, well-designed case that doesn’t weigh too much for what it is. These are all things we like. Comprised of that faux leather and some plastic/polyurethane material, we like what we have before us.

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That said, there seems to be a trend recently of rushing cases out before they’re quite ready, and the FitFolio doesn’t seem to have escaped this truth. As you can see in the image below, some of the fit and finish of the err… FitFolio isn’t perfect. The edges weren’t cut flush in the center area. It doesn’t matter at all once the iPad 2 is in the case, but still, we’d like to see a tad more care and attention here in future revisions.

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Slotting the iPad 2 into the case takes a little bit of prying, but as long as you take your time and are careful, it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

However, once the iPad 2 is inside, once again we’re treated to some fit issues. The picture below once again illustrates that this could be a slightly tighter design. The right side of the case in landscape mode covers the aluminum bezel of the iPad well, but as you can see on the left side, an aluminum strip is visible. This lack of consistency bugs us, but then again we are easily bugged.

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We’ll stop being negative Nancies here and move on to the things we do like. For example, we really like that Speck saw fit (hah!) to outfit the FitFolio with extra grooves for propping the iPad 2 up. 

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Twice as many as the Targus as fact, with four slots for the iPad 2 to sit in.

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And instead of having to pry the cover around the iPad 2 to close it, the FitFolio has a little elastic piece that wraps around the case, as you can see. The nice thing about the elastic is you don’t have to use it. For at-home use, just close the cover and be done. For traveling, use that elastic for a bit more security. We like these kinds of options!

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The cutouts on the FitFolio are also excellent, much more so than the Targus. Just the necessary bits are exposed when the case is closed, and we feel much more comfortable slinging the iPad around in this case than with the Targus. When the iPad 2 is in use, all the edges are protected in the FitFolio, too, which we love.

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That said, when propped up in landscape mode, part of the back of the iPad 2 is still exposed, much like the Targus, but we suppose with this design there’s not much to be done about it. Phooey!

Anyway, the thing we enjoy most about the FitFolio: No grippers! Yes, the fit might not be perfect, but not seeing those ugly leatherette grippy ugly things just brings smiles to our lips and warmth to our hearts. Yay!

So What's to Like?

We knew as soon as we opened the packaging that Speck had thought about this case before designing it. Only the necessary areas are exposed to the elements. We like the thoughtful elastic to keep the cover closed during its travels around your house/country/world. The red color coupled with a black iPad is definitely striking! Cutouts for microphone, earphone socket, dock connector and speaker etc are spot on.

So What's Not to Like?

That fit and finish issue that never seems to go away with these new iPad 2 cases! Only available at red at the time this review was written. No way to prop the iPad 2 up for easy typing at an angle (a la the Apple iPad 1 case). A little too busy for our tastes.

Verdict:

We really like the FitFolio. It does what it sets out to do quite well. Only some relatively minor issues really keep it from being excellent. But for us to truly love this one it’ll have to go back to the drawing board just a little longer. We award the Speck FitFolio a well-deserved four nerds!
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So let's wrap this up (the puns keep coming, sorry!).

If you didn't catch on, we think the Speck FitFolio is a much more useful case than the Targus Protective Cover/Stand. From our testing, it's clear Speck spent more time in the design room with the FitFolio, and it shows. That said, we here at bighugenerd are waiting for that "next great thing." Maybe something with Smart Cover capabilities (magnets to turn the screen on and off like Apple's official cover)? Maybe something a little softer and more... snuggle-worthy? We have special needs. Don't ever let it be said otherwise.

But for now:

Speck Fitfolio: 1
Targus Protective Cover/Stand: 0
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Heather Thomas
4/21/2011 07:03:11 am

My biggest concern beyond fit & function is protection. Our insatiable appetite and quest for sleek appeal, we would of course trade & sacrifice the protection of our iPad2's, and Then we are going to wish we bought a sturdy case. The protection worries me, and that is why I returned my cover.I do like the Apple Smart cover, but I wanted something with more all inclusive protection. After some internet surfing, I sorted out a few brands that I would bet my iPad2 on. While Otterbox looked rugged, it wasn’t leather and it didnt have the magnetic feature. The Belkin looked clean and sleek, but didn’t have complete enclosed protection. I settled for Mivizu. Their attractive (Mivizu Sense) design laced with Italian leather, and magnetic function, is just what I wanted. I checked their price at $39.95, http://www.mivizu.com/ against Apple’s $69.99 and I just couldn’t hold myself from ordering the pink folio. Mivizu even has a $10.00 discount coupon code, BAFIPAD2 that even throws in free shipping. Check them out.

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