We had a look at a TPU-based Smart Cover-compatible backplate in the last in this series of reviews. Today we're going to be looking at one of the polycarbonate variety, the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy.
The CoverBuddy has pretty good coverage for a polycarbonate case with all edges and corners covered. There are cut outs for all the important bits, the buttons, switch, ports, camera and mic, and of course a strip down the side for the Smart Cover to attach. The cut outs themselves are quite large, meaning you can get easy access to the bits and pieces, but it could also mean that they're left exposed. It's always a trade-off with a case and I think SwitchEasy have made the best of it here. Instead of a flat opening, the speaker on the back has a grill to let the sound out while still providing a modicum of protection. The case clips on with thin overlaps on the iPad 2's bezel that hold it in place, meaning it doesn't protrude onto the front of the screen at all. It's a good fit and does the job admirably.
Thickness and material
Being polycarbonate the CoverBuddy is slightly thicker than some of the TPU offerings we've seen before, but it is by no means thick at 1.8mm thin. The polycarbonate itself can be covered in either a rubberised coating or a scratch-resistant UV coat, depending on color of which there are 11 to choose from including UltraClear as shown above (check the gallery below for the Tan version). The UV coating feels especially nice in the hand and is smooth yet not slippery. The CoverBuddy is certainly well made and feels a cut above some of the rest with nicely rounded corners and good finishing at every edge, but as with all these thin cases, don't expect it to do much if you drop your iPad from any decent height.
The SwitchEasy CoverBuddy doesn't do much other than cover the back of your iPad 2 while letting your Smart Cover attach to the side, but in that respect it does it very well. It's unobtrusive, form fitting and the UltraClear case is especially good with a great finish.
If you're looking for a good quality simple polycarbonate backplate for your iPad 2, the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy deserves to be near the top of your list for about US$25 plus shipping.