The promo video on the $50 ZooGue Smart Case’s web site plays like an infomercial, and that’s appropriate. This case is so versatile and flexible that I’m still wondering if I missed the fold-out attachment that will slice through a tin can like a knife going through butter.
Here are the basics: This is a leather folio case with a leather frame you slide your iPad into from the top, allowing you to access all the ports and buttons. Where the Smart Case gets interesting is in how it’s designed to act as an iPad stand.
The front of the case is lined with two Velcro strips, and there’s a flap on the case’s back that opens to act as a kickstand. The inside of the kickstand has two Velcro pads, allowing you to fasten the kickstand to the folded-back case cover. The result is a stable iPad stand you can adjust to pretty much any angle.
But wait, as Ron Popeil would say: there’s more! The Smart Case also features two velcro-lined elastic straps that let you attach the case to the back of a headrest in a car, turning it into an in-car TV player—useful on a long trip with a kid in the back seat.
I can’t fault the Smart Case for functionality. However, one of the models we tested showed some pretty serious scuffing of the leather on the iPad frame after mild use, making us a bit concerned about the durability of the leather. And the case really isn’t much of a looker: with the front cover closed, you’re staring at two big velcro straps and a large plastic nameplate embossed with the ZooGue Smart Case logo. But if aesthetics aren’t your concern, there’s no denying that the Smart Case is cleverly functional.
[See all our reviews of iPad folio-style cases and all iPad accessories.]