CoverBuddy protects iPad Pro, plays nice with Magic Keyboard [Review]

The Apple Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard for iPad are amazing but they prevent putting the tablet into most cases, so it has to be “naked” when not clipped to the keyboard. That’s no problem for the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy, a protective case that Apple’s clip-on keyboards can work right through.

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SwitchEasy CoverBuddy review

Both the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Apple Smart Keyboard cling to the back of the iPad with magnets. That precludes most cases. So when you pop your tablet off the keyboard, there’s no extra protection for it.

But the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy is slim enough to not interfere with the connection between the iPad and the keyboard. It even employs extra magnets to ensure that. Plus, it has an Apple Smart Connector pass-through port. And it includes a holder for the Apple Pencil.

Hardware and design

SwitchEasy’s case is super slim — about 1.5 mm in thickness. It’s essentially a hard plastic skin for the tablet. The corners and most edges of the iPad are covered, as is almost the entire back. It fits tightly, and never came loose during my testing, probably because of its built-in magnets.

CoverBuddy provides some welcome additional protection for the iPad, cushioning it from bumps and guarding the back from scratches. But SwitchEasy makes no promises about drop protection. And not likely to save your computer if someone sits on it, or a similar disaster occurs.

There’s no direct screen protection, but the case has a small lip around the display. This lifts the glass up off the surface it’s resting on.

There are openings for the camera hump, speakers, buttons… everywhere they’re needed. That includes leaving the entire left edge completely open, as this needs to plug into the Apple Smart Keyboard. As sometimes happens with cases, the opening for the USB-C port isn’t very wide and so some cables can’t make a connection. There’s no problem with the standard Apple charging cable, though.

CoverBuddy weighs in at 3.8 ounces (108g) and is so slim it adds hardly any bulk to the tablet. The exception is the top edge, which swells out to surround an Apple Pencil. Not surprisingly, the SwitchEasy EasyPencil Plus stylus fits equally well. My usage shows the enclosure does a fine job of preventing the stylus from being accidentally knocked loose.

There are versions for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as well as the 11-inch version of Apple’s top-tier tablet. The version in the pictures is dark grey — it also comes in black.

Use with Apple Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard

An Apple Smart Keyboard works right through the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The CoverBuddy sits between the iPad and Apple’s clip-on keyboards. Another way of think of it is the keyboard connects on top of the case.

I tested it extensively with an Apple Smart Keyboard, and the case doesn’t interfere with use. I can easily clip the keyboard to my iPad Pro with it in SwitchEasy’s case. The fit of Apple’s keyboard case is a bit tighter, but that’s not a problem.

The Smart Connector pass-through works fine. I can detect no difference typing through it. I typed this review using it, for example.

I don’t have a Magic Keyboard to do tests, but I doubt the experience will be much different from the Smart Keyboard.

SwitchEasy CoverBuddy final thoughts

Carrying an iPad around “naked” isn’t very safe. The SwitchEasy CoverBuddy adds some welcome protection, without interfering with Apple’s clip-on keyboards. And the Apple Pencil holder is a nice addition.

But the case has to be quite thin to squeeze between the tablet and keyboard, so it provides only a moderate amount of extra protection.

SwitchEasy CoverBuddy is slim but widens to give the Apple Pencil some additional security.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Pricing

The CoverBuddy is available now on the SwitchEasy website for $42.99. And it sells for the same price on Amazon.

That’s a reasonable price to pay for a well-made iPad case. Many of them cost much more.

Comparable products

Cases that fit between an iPad and Apple keyboards are virtually unknown. Perhaps the closest analogue is Slickwraps. These adhesive skins cover the exterior of the iPad, changing the look and adding a small amount of protection.

Alternatively, there’s the Dodocase Keyboard Folio Sleeve, a flexible case that protects the iPad and an Apple Smart Keyboard. The UAG Scout is a similar option.

SwitchEasy provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.