Despite my earlier post there are times when it's wise to put a case on your tablet. On the beach for example. Suncream and iPads really don't mix, and putting an unprotected device into a bag with suncream WILL end in disaster (I know from experience). So I thought I would try Apple's Smart Case, the version of the smart cover that fully covers the whole device. It's not cheap, but being an Apple product you generally get top quality goods, it can also be engraved at no extra charge.
Upon receiving the case I was mightily disappointed. For a start, it feels very cheap. It's not very sturdy, with the Smart Cover you can stand the iPad up and use it as a picture frame, or just watch a film. The Smart Case apparently supports this, but the iPad seems very precarious when in this position, any sight nudge of the table would send the iPad crashing forward to the floor. The Smart Case also adds an enormous bezel around the screen, making the iPad's screen seem small. It also seems to trap a lot of dust on the screen and doesn't work as a screen wipe when you close and open it as the cover does. Talking of opening it, it's not obvious which side you open it from, and when you have finally worked that out you will need long nails to open the magnetic case.
On the plus side it does protect the iPad well, even the back. However I can't recommend this product for day to day use, and seeing how bad it is, it seems a bit much to she'll out for occasional trips out to places such as the seaside. I'm not sure what happened at Apple, it's certainly not to their usual standards (but it's still at their usual prices). I have now gone back to using a Smart Cover and it's like I have a band new iPad 🙂