updated 04:20 pm EDT, Tue April 3, 2012
Case essentially unchanged for new hardware
MacNN has had an opportunity to test a Griffin IntelliCase ($60) with the third-generation iPad; while a case would normally warrant a full review, the current IntelliCase appears to be unchanged from its version for the iPad 2, so it was decided to do a capsule review combined with a simple test of how well the case fits with the new tablet. As before, the case consists of a polycarbonate back with a Smart Cover-style front flap that uses magnets to turn an iPad on and off.
An immediate problem is that its materials feel relatively flimsy. This is tolerable, since the case isn't aiming at Otterbox levels of protection, but owners also shouldn't assume their iPad will survive a drop to the floor. A more realistic worry is the case's "hinges," which are made out of the same material as most of the lid. These could easily tear over time with enough abuse.
It should also be pointed out that the case leaves a curious amount of the iPad's bottom exposed. Instead of just providing cutouts for the dock connector and speaker grill, an entire section of the bottom is missing, in a way that could easily let an iPad get scratched. Another strange omission is a microfiber lining for the inside of the lid. The material that is used is certainly acceptable, but still feels like a downgrade from other cases, including a genuine Smart Cover.
Perhaps the one solid benefit of the IntelliCase is a slot on the back for holding the lid. This is needed to use the case in its two stand modes (typing and display), and works pretty well. In other circumstances it simply keeps the lid secure in a way that doubles as a convenient handgrip.
As for fitting the third-gen iPad, it does a reasonable job, but one indication that the case may be unchanged is that there are some edges where the iPad sticks up slightly over the polycarbonate. The case's ultimate problem, however, isn't so much fit or quality as cost. There are other accessories that may do as good a job or better, and for less. The book-like SwitchEasy Canvas is actually $10 cheaper, making the IntelliCase a questionable choice at best.