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Review of Kavaj Berlin iPad mini slim leather case


iPF Novice
Sep 21, 2010
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First up, let me say that I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to cases for my iPad. If I have a case that is a little bit lacking in one area, I will keep seeking out an alternative that improves on it. I'm also a huge fan of the leather folio type of case so when given the chance to review the Berlin from Kavaj, it was a simple decision.
You can tell very quickly the difference between the cheaper cases and a case from a quality leather manufacturer and the Berlin definitely falls into the latter category. Straight out of the packaging, the Kavaj exudes a class that cheaper cases just cannot emulate. The leather feels luxurious to the touch; supple yet still firm and with no visual flaws, this seems very well crafted.
The iPad line are known for being slim devices and the Berlin case thankfully doesn't add much in the way of bulk to your device - it fits perfectly and doesn't have any extraneous padding. This particular model is available in black or cognac in colour, the latter is what I received and I'm a huge fan of this colour. I normally go for black but the cognac seems to give this case more identity and sets it apart from the many other cases available for the iPad.
The case is very well constructed with immaculate stitching and quality leather. All holes for the camera, microphone, speakers and lightning port line up perfectly. The power and volume buttons are covered but the case is sculpted so you know exactly where to push and these operate without issue.
On the inside, the case is lined by a soft suede-like material that ensures your iPad is well looked after and is held in place by a soft leather 'frame' around the display and a flap that folds from the side in behind to secure the device.
Being a smart case, the Berlin will wake and sleep the iPad when you open and close the cover and every time too without issue so there are no alignment issues that have plagued other cases in my experience.
Because this is such a slim case, the level of protection on offer is not as high as some of the thicker, more padded cases out there but then that is my preference for a slim line case. For me it strikes the right balance between looks and protection and the best form of protection for your device is still quite simply being careful. The stitched seam around the edges offers a little more protection than some of the cases that clip the iPad in place and this case still offers great protection against scratches and minor bumps.
As is the norm for these folio type cases, the front cover folds around the back and into a holding flap that allows the case to be used in one of two positions in a table top landscape orientation for comfortable typing or with a higher elevation for viewing content such as movies. I did initially have an issue with the case sitting stable with this elevated viewing position but that did improve through time. I'm not sure if this is a product of the leather settling into this position or other design issue but I couldn't describe it as perfect in this regard, at least fresh out of the box.
It seems that reviewing an iPad case would be a very straight forward thing but so many manufacturers get key elements wrong. This is my first experience of Kavaj and I'm happy to report that they have crafted a very fine case with no obvious flaws or weak spots. It is very practical and everything about this case works as you would expect. After this, it all comes down to personal taste and I genuinely hold this case with high affection. It looks classy, is well constructed and is a great place for your iPad to live. Kavaj only offer two styles of leather case for the iPad mini. This no doubt allows them to focus on making great cases but I would love to see them offer up another similar style but using the clip in method of securing the iPad and therefore not having the leather 'window' around the display. This is more a personal preference for the smaller iPad mini and I feel I need to have something for balance because I genuinely have no negatives with this fine case other than a minor concern over the stability when folded up for watching movies or similar!

Video review:


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