The ZooGue iPad 2 Case Genius is an amazing product that not only solves many of the issues with the default iPad 2 smart cover line but also provides a stylish and functional alternative to Apple’s first party offerings.
The masterpiece of Laguna Beach inventor Tim Angel, the ZooGue iPad 2 Case Genius is a stylish leather portfolio style case with a felt lined interior. To help justify its “genius” moniker, the case provides a number of features over its Apple counterpart, most notably the velcro lined cover that allows for a full range of screen angles. Using the cover as a base, with a velcro edged stand, the case provides viewing angels from a shallow 30 degrees up to a full upright 90 degrees (though at 90 degrees the stability is wavering).
The case, like the Apple Smart Cover, also contains magnets in the cover which provide the same Smart Cover style lock and unlock for an iPad 2. Unlike the Smart Cover though, the iPad 2 Case Genius also provides ample protection of the back and edges of the iPad 2. The case also has cutouts for all side controls, the front and rear facing cameras, the speaker, and the dock connection.
As part of its portfolio style, the iPad 2 Case Genius uses an envelop/frame style of fitting to secure the iPad 2, which is obviously more bulky than the minimal mounting of a Smart Cover. As such, while the Smart Cover has the dubious claim of being able to clean the iPad 2 screen while closed, the iPad 2 Case Genius cannot boast such properties due to the leather wrapper.
While I feel that the iPad 2 Genius Case quite good overall, there are a few small details I would love to see ZooGue improve.
Firstly, I think the front cover should employ more magnets to help snap and secure it in place when either closed or fully open and flat to the back of the iPad. As it stands, the cover is very loose and not secured in place and as such feels flimsy.
Secondly, in notepad style mode with the cover flush to the back, the velcro strap is not particularly useful in securing your hand to the iPad. The physical grip as a whole is not conductive to this type of use. I found it difficult to maintain a solid grip against the felt interior lining of the cover, and the strap itself only provides marginal grip on your fingers as a whole.
Earphone Wrap/Stylus Holder
ZooGue also boasts a recently released accessory for their iPad line of cases, the iPad Earphone Wrap/Stylus Holder. This accessory is a simple piece of purposely cut leather that fits into the top of the iPad 1 and 2 Case Genius models. Using this accessory, you can wrap a pair of earbuds and secure them with the attached velcro for convenient carrying with your iPad. Alternatively, you could also use the insert to hold a stylus instead.
The iPad 2 Genius case continues its advantages against the Smart Cover with its pricing.
At $49.99, the iPad 2 Genius Case is a leather case that is $10 more expensive than an Apple Smart Cover, but $20 cheaper than the leather Smart Cover. In both cases, the ZooGue case provides full body protection of your iPad as well as a variable angle adjustment not found in the Smart Cover.
The earphone wrap insert costs an additional $4.99, but liking ZooGue on Facebook will get you a coupon to make it free.
Story Behind the Company
In a compelling example of the American Dream, reviewing the ZooGue iPad 2 Case requires more than just a simple product review filled with specs and descriptions of a physical product. The ZooGue series of iPad cases exemplifies the determination of personal perseverance against all odds. Leaving his dead end job and looking at $15,000 in personal debt, Tim Angel set it upon himself to take control of his destiny and make use of his enterprising spirit. Even if you aren’t interested in the product, the company history available on the website is a great and inspiring read.
Overall, I find that the iPad 2 Case Genius more than deserves its self-appointed moniker and can say that it’s by far the best iPad 2 case I have used. At $49.99, it is a great bargain compared to similarly priced cases and covers.
The ZooGue iPad 2 Case Genius and Earphone Wrap insert are both available directly from the ZooGue website. As a further bonus, ZooGue contributes a dollar from all sales towards the non-profit Children International.
- User defined viewing angle
- Full body protection
- Smart Cover style magnets in top cover
- Felt can be hard to grip
- Top cover could use more magnets to help secure it when closed
UPDATE May 8, 2012:
If you bought one of these cases last year, and have now upgraded to “the New iPad,” you’ll find that the magnetics in this case may not work properly. This is because the smart cover sensor in the newer iPad is slightly different and requires the magnet to be in a specific orientation which it may not be with the older cases.
Fortunately, you can contact ZooGue for a small sticker magnet to fix the case. Fixing the case is very easy actualy.
One update to the above video suggested by ZooGue founder Tim Angel is to take a precision razor blade and cut out the old magnet itself.