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I Call Myself ZOMBiE CYGIG
"Educated" At Maha Bodhi School, Victoria School, Anderson JC, LASALLE College of the Arts
What I Do Lazing, Hobby Crafting, DIY, Graphic Design, Computer Stuff that you don't get it
What I Avoid Hipsters, Soccer, Apple Brand, Outings
How Am I Like Logical, Practical, Off-Beat, Anti-Social, Sarcastic
I have seen people discussing about this "smart cover" for Ainol Novo 7 series tablet (meaning you can use this case for Mars, Tornado, Aurora I / II, Advanced I / II, Elf I / II), that takes the form similar to that of the smart cover for iPad. If you have no idea what I am talking about, this Youtube video should give you a rough idea of what this smart cover for Ainol tablets is about:
It is special in the sense that it uses a reusable adhesive pad to hold the tablet to itself. The most controversial issue is that this case cost a freaking US$25, which is considered a bomb for an Ainol Elf II which can be bought for less than US$100 at the point of writing. After several considerations, I was convinced that this case is worth the moolah and decided to purchase one.
The Ainol Smart Case.
The magical self-adhesive pad. I wonder how many reuses does it take before you need to throw the whole casing away. I think you can clean it with a little water to restore some stickiness.
Most stores are selling it at US$25, I found a eBay store and persuaded the guy to sell me at US$20 instead, inclusive of shipping. What I did next would make eBay label me as a criminal: I dealt with the store keeper outside of eBay, so he can save paying eBay commissions and pass on the savings to me. Do note that you are not allowed to deal with eBay sellers outside of eBay as that would mean you have no consumer protection. I ordered the black one and I crossed my finger in hope that my casing will arrive. I ordered on 25th Aug 2012, and the seller sent it on the 27th. I received it on the 31st. That is pretty quick if you ask me, based on usual eBay shipping speed to Singapore.
My first reaction is "I ordered a black casing and why is it grey?". After asking the seller, it turns out that "black" actually refers to "dark grey". The other colour choices include light grey and baby blue. It is branded Cheese at the back and the surface feels silky and emits an irritating high pitch sound as you run your fingers across. A magnetic flap keeps the casing closed, and it can be attached to the back of the casing if you do not need it. After using it for a few times, you will see some wrinkles on the previously perfect surface, but it is no big deal as it does not ruin the appearance for me.
The case flipped open.
Cheesy brand name.
Wrinkles after a few uses.
The casing feels very light, and when you fold it over to use the tablet, it feels almost like using the tablet without any casing. The casing uses a reusable adhesive pad to secure the tablet to itself, thus there are no borders or bezels that will block your fingers. You can easily reach on-screen buttons near to the edge of the screen and it makes playing games much more comfortable.
Since there is nothing on the sides to hold the tablet, you have full access to all the IO ports and hard buttons. You can fold the front flap into a prism structure as a stand for the tablet. You can also lie it down, upside down for a lower angle.
It looks like and feels like there is no casing. You can full access to the screen side of the tablet.
Access to all IO ports and hard buttons.
You can make it stand.
View from behind.
Or lie it down, upside down for a lower angle. Note that this will be a problem for some apps that has fixed screen rotation.
Comparison With My Previous Case
I used to own a black slip-in case similar to the official Ainol one. The biggest frustration is the noticeably heavier weight when I put the casing on and the bezel that holds the tablet blocking my fat fingers from pressing buttons near the edge of the screen, basically my thumb would be pressing on the bezel instead and it relies on additional fats hanging off my thumb to come in contact with the touch screen which is a not-so-reliable process. The camera often get vignetting due to the poor alignment of the hole and thick material.
Comparing with my previous black case.
Note the bezel on my previous case that holds the tablet in.
The smart cover is certainly thinner.
Putting On and Taking Off
To put on the case, you align your tablet roughly using the front, non-adhesive side. Then what I did is to match the speaker port, making sure the speaker is in the vertical and horizontal center of the port hole. Now press in the adhesive side of the case and that's it! To take off, peel it off from the side SLOWLY. It is actually quite well adhered that I am afraid excessive force would cause the tablet to split. Just peel it off slowly, bit by bit and it will eventually come off clean. Although the adhesive pad does not feels sticky when you touch it, the tablet is well stuck to the casing, you need not worry about the tablet falling out from the case at all unless your adhesive pad has been overused.
The speak port hole.
The adhesive pad holds the tablet very well.
This smart cover case is very light, sharp looking, gives you full access to your screen, IO ports and hard buttons, and I feel it is worth the US$20 I paid. That said, I feel despite the good idea and design, the cost price seems to be no more expensive than the other cheap casing on eBay, and its high cost is simply due to it being a new product and that not much sellers are carrying it. It would be good if the pricing can be further lowered and it comes in a colour closer to absolute black and not dark grey. I really like this cover and now I am considering similar ones for my Kindle.