The typical criticism of Apple first party accessories is that they’re too expensive. This was certainly true for owners of previous generation iPads who purchased the leather smart case. However, that case provided all around, full body scratch protection (drop protection was debatable) with minimal bulk.
As I was researching a case for my new 2018 iPad, most of the products seemed to be either too bulky, made of cheap material, or lacking a soft lining for the back of the iPad. Weight minimalism was especially important because I was upgrading from a 7.9 inch Mini to the larger 9.7 inch model.
I’m happy I gave the Smart Cover a try. First of all the dark gray color pairs nicely with the black bezel, space gray iPad — it’s a sleek, sophisticated but unshowy look. Secondly, the outside of the cover has a very premium feel. It’s soft and smooth with a subtle almost cloth-like texture that allows just enough grip in your hand. The inside cover has a microfiber lining that will keep your glass screen protected. The microfiber does collect dust, so you will have to clean it occasionally with a lint roller. Third, the magnet on the hinge is fairly strong. Once the cover snaps onto the iPad, it doesn’t come off easily. When the cover is folded into a triangle, it turns into a stand that is stable enough on flat surfaces.
The main concern for this product would be the lack of backside protection. Two ways to deal with this: when not using your iPad, just lay it face down on the cover side. When using your iPad and you fear the surface is dirty or could potentially cause a scratch, you can reverse the cover flap all the way back and your aluminum side will be fully covered.
If your going to buy the Smart Cover, I would recommend Best Buy for sure. The price is better than the Apple store and Amazon has developed a reputation for having counterfeit Apple accessories on their marketplace platform. Doing an online order for in-store pick up is very convenient and fast. I don’t know how durable the Smart Cover will be over the long term, but for now I find this premium, minimal weight cover to be worth a buy.