Thanks to Tim from ZooGue for getting me this case so soon, I needed it in time for my trip to Germany next week. That being said, it's still an unbiased review...he didn't give me a discount, pay for me to review it, or anything. I paid full price and shipping for the case.
I have a bunch of pictures and perhaps I'll make a video at a later time if need be.
First things first...it comes in a nice box which is boxed within a box, and instructions just in case you are too stupid to figure out how to use the case.
First thing you notice about the case is, it definitely has some girth to it, but not too bad (I'll get to that later). The leather seems to be quality, as is the velcro and snaps. I will say this: this case is more for function that finesse. In other words you can find some "nicer" looking cases out there, but it depends on what you want to use it for...do you want to take it into a board meeting in a very slim case or do you want function over form? Me personally, I want function, and this case does it. Not to say that it doesn't have nice looks though. The case is nice, but it's not that streamlined nice like a very simple, otherwise useless Apple case, for example.
The one thing I expect that I will not like (and it's hard to be avoidable in leather cases), is the soft leather lining will most likely produce the same dust like stuff you get from the Apple case.
Putting the iPad into the case was one of the first things I liked about it. With the Apple case, it's just slightly too snug so it takes a lot of effort to pull the iPad in and out of the case. This is ok if you like to keep your iPad in one place, but me personally around the house and what not I like to take the iPad out and use it bare without a case...so for this reason I never use the Apple case because it's not easy to slide in and out. With the ZooGue, it slides in easily and then a little leather strap and snap keeps in place.
Once the iPad is in the case you can see that nothing is obstructed in any way, shape or form. The light sensor has a perfectly positioned hole, the home button is exposed, as are all the other buttons, jacks, and ports. That being said, your corners are also exposed...so if you drop this on a corner, it's still going to dent your iPad.
That being said, when you plug the camera connection kit into it, the iPad is able to see the kit, imports the pictures no problem, etc...but it isn't able to push in far enough to lock into place, so you could bump it off. But it DOES work.
When it's open like you see in the pictures above, the dimensions at the widest point are approximately: 7.75"W x 9.75"H x 1.25"D. Compare to the iPad dimensions of 7.47"W x 9.56"H x .53"D you can see most of the girth comes from the thickness, which is necessary to have the stand and straps. The WiFi only iPad comes "stock" as 1.5 pounds, with the ZooGue case it weighs in at just a hair over 2 pounds, 4 ounces. So about 12 ounces more than the iPad by itself.
Now when you shut the case you will notice that like the Apple case it doesn't stay shut...however, if you want it to stay shut, the straps designed to help it interface with a seat headrest or airplane headrest will flip around perfectly to keep it shut.
The flap for the "kickstand" is held in place by small pieces of Velcro, so it's not always flapping around.
Flipping the cover over and using the little kickstand will give you access to just about every angle possible that you would want. This is what sold me on the case. The Apple case sucks when it comes to watching a movie in landscape mode on an airplane. The case is unstable, it's not at right angles, and the slightest bit of turbulence will send the case tipping towards you on the place. It's also dependent on whether the person in front of you has their seat up or back. With the ZooGue case, this is not the situation.
One minor issue, depending on how you decide to carry it, are the small pieces of velcro that hold the flap in place and lock it into the back for the different viewing angles. The sticky side by design is forced outward so if you have a smooth cloth bag that you will be putting it into, it could potentially get stuck. I thought that it would be an issue the moment I opened the box, but so long as I put it in with the snaps facing up, it doesn't get stuck much.
I also thought it might be too big, but I don't think it is at all. It fits rather snugly but well into the the small pocket of my TimBuk2 Freestyle Messenger bag. This picture shows you everything I have in my bag (unpacked, packed, and completed so you can see it isn't too thick):
Overall I think I am going to absolutely LOVE this case, especially for traveling. Several important things that sold me on the case:
- Tim, the founder of ZooGue, responds to every one of my emails within 24 hours, and I bugged him a lot about making sure I had the case on time for my trip to Germany. Remember that he is JUST launching the product, dealing with customs, fulfilling orders, you name it, and yet still made time to get back to me.
- The kickstand and Velcro allow you to position this at just about every single angle known to man. This is perfect for traveling, resting it on your lap, you name it because no angle is left out.
- The headrest straps will allow you to put this on the back of the headrest, especially on an airplane this will be nice so long as it doesn't interfere with the person in front of you. I haven't tried it yet, but I promise to update the review when I get a chance to try it on a plane.
- The case is quality made and to me it is better that it is a little bulkier for traveling...this prevents turbulence and other minor things from pushing it around like the flimsy and otherwise worthless Apple case.
- None of your buttons are obstructed...just get that worry out of your head right away
- None of the other pieces of the case itself are flapping around constantly with no way to secure them
- You can easily get the iPad in and out of the case, so no issues there whatsoever like with the Apple case
Now onto some potential "cons":
- Not a con for me, but if you are looking for an ultra slim case this is not it. It will more than double the depth of the iPad. Height and width are not increased all that much though.
- Also not a con for me as it turns out, but the Velcro could potentially get stuck on your bag, or other pieces of Velcro.
- Yet again, not a con for me because that isn't why I bought it, but this is not an all inclusive protective case. If you sat on it, it would probably hold up well. If you drop it on the corner however it will dent or break because the corners are not covered by the case.
- Camera Connection kit doesn't fit perfectly...just enough to import the pictures but not enough to keep it locked into place. You could probably easily remove about 1/8" of material on either side of the hole with an exacto knife to solve this problem.