From smart homes to smart cars, it seems like everything nowadays has a "smart" solution in an attempt to make our lives easier.

But what happens when there are so many of these solutions that you can't tell them apart? Well, that's how many users felt with the introduction of smart cases and smart covers.

When it comes to protecting your iPad, both accessories have you covered (literally). However, each offers different looks and capabilities that you'll want to figure out before you select the right one for your needs. 

We'll look at design features, protection measures, usage scenarios, and more so that you can confidently pick which smart option fits your needs.

TLDR Key Takeaways

  • Smart covers and cases are both designed to seamlessly work with your device's sleep/wake function and protect its most vulnerable parts from drops or scratches.
  • The smart case offers your iPad high-level protection from everyday wear and tear, whereas the smart cover only protects your screen.
  • Cases are the perfect choice for people who seek ultimate device protection, while covers are best for those looking to protect their device without compromising on its slim and lightweight form.

iPad Smart Case vs. Smart Cover: Side-by-Side Comparison

You'll notice some similarities between these two at a quick glance. After all, they both:

  • Work with your device's sleep/wake function
  • Ensure the most sensitive part of your iPad (the screen) is guarded against drops and scratches
  • Combine a durable exterior with a soft interior to maximize protection

However, when you look at them side by side, you'll notice some clear differences in their design and function. 

Let's start with the smart case (sometimes referred to as a smart folio). These cases wrap around the entire iPad, protecting it from scratches, dust, and other environmental hazards.

Additionally, some cases are designed to fit a magic keyboard or other smart keyboards so you can protect your whole setup. 

They usually have a:

  • Hard shell made of polyurethane, leather, or other rugged material
  • Soft microfiber interior liner
  • Rubber, gel, or polyurethane tray to hold your iPad in place
  • Clasp, strap, or magnets to keep the iPad securely closed
  • Built-in adjustable stand for multiple viewing angles
  • Place to store additional items 

On the other hand, a smart cover (as the name implies) simply attaches to the front surface of your device and shields it from scratches and minor impacts.

It does this by using magnets to hold onto the front of your iPad, which means the sides and back are unprotected. 

This cover has:

  • A single piece of material, such as polyurethane or leather, to protect your screen
  • Soft microfiber liner that rests against the screen
  • Strong magnets hold the cover to your iPad
  • Built-in foldable stand for multiple viewing angles

The biggest difference between these two is total device protection, bulk, and price. 

Device Protection

While each of these accessories will protect your device, the level of protection varies greatly between the two.

A smart cover only shields the front of your device, meaning drops and scratches won't hurt your screen—but the rest of your device is unprotected.

Smart cases, on the other hand, offer comprehensive 360° protection for your iPad. Plus, most cases come with extra protective features like raised edges and shock-absorbing material to give your device extra cushion.


This is a major point of contention among many iPad users since cases have the ability to affect the device's portability and functionality. 

Some users prefer the sleek, minimalist design of the smart cover because it allows their iPad to be as thin and lightweight as possible, letting them maintain the original look and feel of their device.

Others prefer the extra protection provided by a smart case. They're willing to trade a little extra bulk and weight, so they don't have to worry about their iPad getting scratched up in transit. 


The price of each accessory varies depending on the model and additional features. For example, a keyboard-compatible case is considerably more expensive than a smart cover or a standard smart case.

Generally speaking, the cost of a smart cover is lower than that of a smart case due to the fact that you're only paying for a single panel versus a whole case. 

When Should You Get an iPad Smart Case?

A smart case might be the right option for you if you:

  • Want to maximize your device's protection 
  • Don't mind a little extra bulk or cost
  • Frequently travel with your iPad or take it to places where it might be subjected to bumps, scratches, or other types of damage
  • Need additional storage or features, such as keyboard compatibility, Apple Pencil storage, etc.

When Should You Get an iPad Smart Cover?

You might want to consider getting an iPad smart cover if you:

  • Want a slim, lightweight option for protecting your device
  • Like to handle your device in its original form
  • You are careful with your device and don't anticipate it being subjected to a lot of bumps or scratches
  • Need a more budget-friendly choice
  • You plan on putting your device in a sleeve

Protect Your iPad in Style

At DODOcase, we believe you deserve the best protection for your investments without sacrificing your personal style.

Each of our cases is handcrafted by experienced artisans who use ancient bookbinding techniques to create a final product that feels like a truly luxurious one-of-a-kind piece.

Plus, we've built smart cover technology into almost every single one of our cases—after all, what's the point of having a case if you can't utilize Apple's original design?

From our executive line to our designer collection, there's an iPad cover that's perfect for you. And if there isn't? Well, why not make a completely custom order case built and designed specifically for you?

Check out our full collection and find the case that speaks to you.

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