Smart Cover-ing the Nexus 7

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I'm not a big fan of cases — most of my mobile devices run naked, if you will. But while in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this past week, I was quite envious of my colleagues and the Smart Covers on their iPad minis. Not only does the Smart Cover provide a modicum of protection for the iPad mini, it also lets you prop up the iPad mini for viewing video content without having to hold it. And it looks snazzy (especially the red one).

But alas, I don't own an iPad mini, I have a Nexus 7. And my Nexus 7 has been sans case ever since I bought it last summer. Most of the time, this isn't a problem for me, but when I'm on a plane and I want to watch some movies, it's downright annoying to have to hold the thing up for the entire length of the feature. There are plenty of third-party cases out there with built-in kickstands to solve this problem, but I wanted the Smart Cover-esque features of automatically waking the tablet when opening it and folding over to provide the kickstand. And I wanted it in red.

Consequently, one of the first things I did when I returned home from MWC was to scour Amazon for a Smart Cover knock-off case for the Nexus 7. Lo and behold, I quickly found this: the Poetic Slimline Portfolio case (it's also available for the Nexus 10, if you happen to be one of the few souls that own one of those). It seemed to have all of the features I was looking for. Slim design? Check. Built-in magnet to automatically wake the tablet upon opening it? Check. Fold-back kickstand? Check. Red? Check. And it was only $15, significantly less than Apple's Smart Cover. Needless to say, my search was over and my Amazon card had been charged.

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The Poetic case arrived today and for all intents and purposes, it seems to be just what I was looking for. It keeps the Nexus 7 relatively trim, offers a somewhat usable fold-back kickstand, and automatically wakes the tablet when I open it. It's not nearly as slick as Apple's Smart Cover — since the Nexus 7 doesn't have the magnets to align the case along the edge, the bottom half of the case is a plastic shell that snaps around the tablet. And the kickstand function isn't the most sturdy. I'm not sure how long the hinge will last — that seems to be the biggest complaint among reviewers on Amazon and sure enough, it does feel pretty flimsy. The faux leather polyurethane finish is kind of cheezy feeling too, and I'm not a fan of the embossed chrome logo on the front. But the next time I'm on a plane and want to catch up on some episodes of Girls, this should work nicely. Or at least I hope.

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