At a Glance
Miniot’s Cover for the iPad 2 looks great, with its combination of real wood and microfiber. It rolls up into a great stand for the iPad, too. But it’s lack of a hinge renders an otherwise impressive accessory merely average.
Boy, I really wanted to love the Miniot $70 Cover for iPad 2. It’s a magnetized alternative to Apple’s Smart Cover made from solid wood, available in six different shades. (For $98, you can “tone your own” cover with multiple wood shades.)
Unlike the Smart Cover, the Miniot Cover lacks a hinge. Rather than gripping the left edge of your iPad 2, the Miniot Cover sits flush and flat, solely covering the iPad’s front surface. The magnets on both edges of the cover are strong; it clings tightly to the left and right sides of the iPad alike. The underside of the cover is black ultrasuede microfiber. (If you “tone your own” cover, you can pick one of nine microfiber colors.)
While the Apple Smart Cover sports four foldable segments, the Miniot Cover works a bit differently. It’s hinged in no fewer than ten spots. As with the Smart Cover, the Miniot Cover supports the iPad 2’s magnetic sleep/wake function: Peeling back the right edge of the Miniot Cover wakes up your iPad, and closing it puts your iPad back to sleep. And all of the device’s ports, buttons, and cameras are accessible. It’s when you want to open the cover all the way and actually use your iPad that things start to get interesting.
First, the good. The Miniot Cover can fold up at a dramatic angle, which makes for three excellent stand orientations. You roll up the cover with the microfiber facing out; its magnets make the flipped-over right edge stick strongly near the cover’s left edge. Your iPad then rests in a slim groove on the cover’s left side, magnetically adhering on both the iPad’s back and left edges. At its peak in landscape mode, the Miniot Cover lifts your iPad a little more than two inches off the table, presenting an excellent typing incline (about a half-inch higher—and better—than the Smart Cover can offer). As with the Smart Cover, you can flip your Miniot-clad iPad around for a fine movie-watching angle, too. You can even stand your iPad up in portrait mode with the Miniot Cover: The curled-up cover makes a firm stand, and the iPad isn’t at all wobbly.
The Miniot Cover’s weakness, though, is that design decision to omit a hinge. That means that when you want to roll the cover up to use it as a stand, you must first detach the cover completely. That’s not a difficult task in itself, but it requires more effort than folding the Smart Cover does. Were that the only problem, I’d look beyond this single failing.
The real problem is this: What the heck do you do with the Miniot Cover when you want to use your iPad without using the cover to prop it up at some angle? Or put another way, what about when I just want to hold my iPad in hand?
There’s no great answer. My first instinct was to swing the Miniot Cover around the back of the iPad as if it were hinged. But the magnets don’t work in that direction, and the wood-against-metal marriage between the cover and the rear of the iPad doesn’t make much sense. So then I flipped the Miniot Cover over, with the microfiber cloth hugging the back of my iPad instead. Two problems: It doesn’t stick along the iPad’s left edge this way, and worse still—the strong magnets in the Miniot Cover put my iPad to sleep as if I were attempting to close the cover.
I contacted Miniot for advice. The company’s advice was to make sure that the strong magnets on the Miniot Cover’s left side stay on the left side of the iPad, to avoid the unintentional sleeping issue I’d encountered. To use the iPad, Miniot suggested, I should flip the cover over the top of the iPad in portrait mode. That works—sort of. The cover doesn’t stick flush to the rear left side of the iPad; to reach the iPad’s magnets, the left edge of the Miniot Cover extends past the left edge of your iPad. I found it awkward to grip in my left hand. I could hold the (non-magnetized) side of the cover against the iPad with my right hand, but if I’m using my iPad with just one hand, I prefer to hold it with my left.
The result? I ended up taking the Miniot Cover off my iPad whenever I wanted to use my iPad in hand. That’s a fine solution, I guess, but not my preference. Too often, that meant that if I put my iPad down in a hurry—because, say, one of my young kids needed immediate attention—it then sat completely coverless for far too long, which I don’t like.
I have some reservations about the Smart Cover, too. But as much as I appreciate the Miniot Cover’s look and its excellent ability to work as a stand, I just don’t love the product. Without a hinge, and particularly a hinge’s ability to allow the cover to sit smoothly flat against the iPad’s back, the Miniot Cover falls short of its obvious potential.