So I went to www.switcheasy.com and went through the ordering process. I was a bit dismayed at first about a $15 shipping charge, however the product came to me in 2 Days! That's right, 2 days is what it took to get to me from click to front door. It's being reported across the board that everyone is receiving their orders in that time frame, so its not an anomaly. The FedEx tracking was unbelievably smooth and accurate and it actually felt as though I knew where my package was at all times. The whole shipping process couldn't have gone any smoother especially since it took me 3 weeks to receive another brand I had ordered from eBay!
So, after opening the package, and examining the contents, I find that it does indeed come with a free screen protector for the iPad 2. I won't be installing this as I have a Full Body Invisible Shield by Zagg on one iPad 2 and a generic screen protector on another to see how a $10 'dry install' works vs a $50 'wet install.'
Edit 1: The separate screen that SwitchEasy sells on their website for $14.99 is the same one that they give you for free with the Canvas. (or incorporated in the price depending on how you view it)
Edit 2: We were able to fit the iPad 2 with the Zagg Full Body Invisible Shield, we did cut a small portion off the Invisible Shield where the volume button is, in order for the iPad 2 to 'click in' and sit properly in the Canvas. About a 1cm portion. It is a tight fit but it works!
Originally I thought the small package that came with it was a squeegee but its actually plugs for the microphone port and the power port. This is a fantastic addition especially for those who take their iPad 2's to work or in dusty environments. In my opinion it was a very well thought out idea and I am hoping that Apple incorporates this in future designs of their own.
Placing the iPad 2 into the 'bucket' is very easy, the instructions, (yes I viewed them) suggest that you lean and place the left of the iPad 2 in first and then snap or depress the right side. I find that if you raise the case and look at it at eye level you can tell if you have been successful at installation. If you can see the aluminum trim it has to go down a bit further. Overall, it was a very easy process that only took 10 seconds. 2 to snap it in and 8 seconds to make sure it was down. Any more and I suggest you never buy anything with moving parts ever!
Another major distinction this case has, and it makes sense now why they call it a 'canvas' is its three stand positions. At position 1 (the one furthest away) it actually works as the typing mode, and as a 'Smart Cover' owner, let me tell you that the SwitchEasy method is much more ergonomically correct (to me anyways) and feels more natural. It also doesn't involve turning or flipping the iPad 2 and the best part is, that no part of your iPad 2 is touching the desk or ground. It stays within the confines of the case at all times. I really appreciated this aspect as the 'Smart Cover' was scratching my desk! (the magnetic hinge in viewing mode).
Some people say that the first picture is how the typing mode should be, and it might be but I prefer my method as illustrated in the second and third picture below!
The picture above correlates to the picture below for typing mode. The other two are viewing modes but the website lists all three as viewing modes and the first picture in this series as the typing mode, both work and its up to you which method you will eventually use!
My thoughts are that this case does exactly what every iPad 2 owner who wants a porfolio style wants it to do. The designers of the 'Smart Cover' at Apple are probably looking over their shoulders to make sure Steve Jobs doesn't fire them and hire the people who made the SwitchEasy Canvas. (or they will just sue, lol) I will admit that the iPad 2 does gain about 2-3x (feels like) its weight in this canvas, but for the added protection it brings, my opinion it is worth it. I love you all very much and thank you for coming to my blog, but I'm not going to do a drop test! My fear is that when working on the iPad 2 and accidently dropping it, will the iPad stay in? It feels like it is sitting very securely but until (if) it happens, we won't know for sure. While closed, I have no doubt this is one of the best cases out there based on design and can absorb many shocks that may occur while traveling, transporting, and even in the care of small children or clumsy adults. Maybe someone can report back to me if they were to drop it while they were using it and what occurs! It also works well with the auto sleep on/off function, I tested it very diligently and made sure that while open the iPad 2 won't go to sleep when you don't want it to, unlike reports of some other cases out there that have this feature.
If you are looking for a portfolio (bookcase) style, that incorporates the sleep on/off feature, typing and viewing stands, superior protection, and a very sleek look and feel, I would be remiss in telling you not to get the SwitchEasy Canvas. Although I am a great fan in saving money, this is something I can truly recommend spending $49.99 U.S plus $14.99 shipping for. I am so impressed with this case, that I will even go as far as saying that all previous cases I have reviewed are null and void when compared to the SwitchEasy Canvas.
Now if I can only get my money back for them and save a lecture from my wife, maybe if I return them and put a sticky on it saying, "Wife says No". But I'm going to guess that only works once...
Update as of April 18th, 2011: I have been experiencing an issue on the second Canvas that I purchased, right from the start the Velcro at the back isn't working as it should. It is not even able to carry its own weight and comes apart when you don't want it to. This is nothing short of a Quality Control issue and has been experienced by another user who received his SwitchEasy Canvas today. I've emailed customer support and they have asked me for pictures of the problem. Will report back once I have a resolution to the issue!
Update as of April 22nd, 2011: I have received an email from SwitchEasy support saying they have sent out a replacement Canvas. Tomorrow is a holiday so I expect shipment to come on Monday. Fantastic quick response. Will post a final update once the replacement is in!
Update as of April 26th, 2011: I have received the replacement from SwitchEasy! Fantastic customer support, although I have to report it has the same issue. I will be making a YouTube video to highlight the error and why it shouldn't make a difference when using the case. It may be time for a Do it Yourself Velcro fix.
YouTube Velcro Issue Explained
Switch Easy Canvas Unboxing Video