Next up on the TUAW test bench is the Smart Cover-compatible Hard Shell Back Cover for the iPad 2 by Proporta, which is available in white or black to complement and protect your beloved tablet.
The Hard Shell takes a more open approach to most of the back cases we've seen for the iPad 2. It covers all four corners, the bottom and the opposite side to where the Smart Cover attaches, but leaves the top of the iPad 2 totally exposed. This has the effect of giving great access to the headphones port, microphone and power button, but won't offer much protection if you happen to drop your iPad 2 on its top edge. Cut outs in the back for the camera, side for the volume buttons and switch, as well as the bottom for the dock connecter port and the speaker provide decent access. The bottom edge of the iPad isn't totally covered either with a thin strip of aluminium visible where the case doesn't quite cover the entire bottom edge. It's safe to say, if you're looking for all edges coverage, you can stop reading now.
Thickness and material
The Hard Shell is made out of polycarbonate with a rubberised coating, giving it a smooth yet grippy texture. The case itself is about 1.5mm thick and doesn't weigh much, so won't add much to the bulk or mass of the iPad 2. The polycarbonate will protect your tablet from scratches to the back for all the surfaces covered, but will offer minimal impact or drop protection, just like most of the cases in this class.
The Proporta Hard Shell Back Cover fits the iPad 2 well and feels nice to the touch, but doesn't cover enough of the edges for decent protection. It adds very little to the bulk of the iPad, so if you're looking for something to literally just cover the back when placed on a table, this back plate will do the job. There are better offerings out there for US$34 of your cold hard cash, but its lifetime warranty might entice you.