Update: Coolermaster has informed me that the Wake Up Folio is also compatible with the new iPad (third generation).
Coolermaster is a name familiar to anyone who has ever dabbled in building their own PC, providing products like cooling fans, power supplies, and PC enclosures for twenty years. More recently, they have expanded to peripherals, and are now producing products for the mobile space, including iPad 2 cases.
Recently I was looking for a new case for my wife’s iPad 2 to replace the Dodocase, which sustained a cracked corner from some unknown mishap (I blame the kids, and not my own butterfingers). I have to share that whenever a tech product needs to be purchased, I launch on an exhaustive research project. I scour the Internet in a quest for the ultimate solution, usually involving a combination of needed features and price point. In this case, we had a few criteria in mind when we chose, ultimately, the Coolermaster Wake Up Folio.
1. Not flashy, somewhat stealthy in appearance: My wife travels on the subway to work, and she doesn’t want a case that draws too much attention.
2. Protective of the front and back, while still allowing camera function: with two kids also using the iPad, protection is an imperative. Having had a case that blocked the back camera in the Dodocase, we wanted something that had a hole for the camera.
3. Hand comfort: let’s face it, holding a naked iPad 2 is somewhat akin to holding a very thin piece of paper. It gives my hand a cramp after a while, because it’s so thin. The case has to make it easier to hold.
4. Standing and angled positions: the iPad is used frequently to watch movies and TV shows, and for light email and other typing.
5. Magnet integration: this was my requirement. Since the iPad 2 has such a cool magnet system for wake/sleep functions, any case had to have this built in. One of the biggest disappointments with our Dodocase was that our version didn’t have magnets built in.
Made by Coolermaster and marketed under the Choiix brand, the Wake Up Folio is a one piece case incorporating a protective polycarbonate back that the iPad 2 snaps into, and an attached cover with integrated magnets, just like Apple’s Smart Cover. The cover can be folded over into the same familiar triangle shape as the Smart Cover, to either prop up the iPad 2 in Landscape viewing mode, or to raise it off the table for typing.
Two materials are available depending on the colour of the case. Pink, orange, blue, green and grey models have a polyurethane cover, while the Black and White models come in a faux leather Coolermaster calls “Eco-leather”. The texture and colour of the cover wraps around to the hard back of the case, but stops short of the edge. On the black model, the back is black, but on the other colors the back is white polycarbonate.
The back and inner cover is lined with microfiber to prevent scratches, and the back has cutouts for easy access to all buttons and ports.
There’s a lot to like about the Wake Up Folio. First off, it provides complete front and back protection from scratches and knocks. The cutaways for the ports and buttons are generous, but not so wide as to compromise protection. In black, it looks professional and businesslike, and the eco-leather gives the case a nice non-slip feel.
The iPad snaps into the back with very little pressure, and at first I was concerned that it would just as easily come out of the back, but that hasn’t been the case. The case feels solid and well put together.
The magnets of the cover wake and sleep the iPad 2, and also hold the cover in its triangle shape. Resting the iPad on a table gives a nice typing angle, and standing it up horizontally allows for a stable stand for watching videos. In addition, it is possible to stand the iPad vertically with the cover unfolded and slightly behind the iPad, although I would only recommend doing so on a hard surface as it’s not the most stable of positions.
Initially the cover would unfold itself when rolled up into the triangle position, but after a few days of use the material seems to have worked in a bit and now sits very nicely in stand mode.
The Wake Up Folio also gives the iPad a great feel to the hand. By making it subtly thicker and with a textured surface material, the iPad feels much more secure to hold and hang on to. However, as it adds only 236.5 grams or 0.83 ounces of weight, the case still retains a very slim feel to the iPad, while making it easier to hold on to.
There is little to fault the Wake Up Folio for. The colour choices perhaps could be broader, and with darker choices in the palette it would be more appealing to business types. The cover itself does slide a bit on the face of the iPad, but only marginally. And as is the case with any Smart Cover, the inner microfiber can get a little dusty and lint covered after a while. That’s an issue that affects all covers of this type, so I’m not faulting the Wake Up Folio for that, since it just comes with the territory.
If you’re looking for a full body case for the iPad 2 but want to enjoy the benefits of a Smart Cover, the Wake Up Folio might just be for you. Providing protection for the front and back, as well as magnet integration for wake and sleep in a one piece case, Coolermaster has a great product on its hands.
Coming from a Dodocase previously, I do miss the whole stealth “iPad in a book” vibe, but the functionality of the Wake Up Folio more than makes up for it.
Disclosure: Coolermaster was gracious enough to send me a review unit. I liked it so much I bought it.