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Rundown on Leather Cases for iPad

tzimisce

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About a few months ago, I was looking around for a nice leather iPad cover. I thought I'd share some of the findings from my research for anyone else thinking of getting the same.

I was prepared to pay a bit more for a genuine leather product which would last for a long time (although not necessarily just paying for a "brand name"), rather than a faux-leather mass-made product. Reading the product description is important: unless they actually say "genuine leather", descriptions like "leather-look" or "feels like leather" can hide the fact that the product is, in fact, synthetic leather. For genuine leathers, sometimes they will also include details like what kind of leather was used or how it was prepared or dyed, which is useful to know (e.g. for product care.)

The one I eventually ordered was from Oberon Design (Leather covers and cases for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and our famous journals) - they offer about 15 different designs for iPad cases, each in three colours. As all their items are made-to-order, it took three days to manufacture my cover, and another two weeks for it to arrive by transpacific parcel mail. Oberon's covers aren't cheap, but they are comparable with other leather covers in the same price range. Their designs are absolutely gorgeous and made from unsealed aniline leather, which mean it's more rugged for daily wear-and-tear - I can attest to that having used it for a few weeks already.

I looked at well over a dozen other vendors and their products, and some of the more notable ones included:

1. Piel Frama -- iPhone 4 cases iPad cases Leather cases for PDA Smartphone Laptop Manufacturer
Spanish company. I liked their cover with the tabbed enclosure. I found a local vendor which was selling the cover design I wanted for 25% less than their website, and this was going to be my first choice until I found the Oberon.

2. Sena Cases -- Sena Cases - Designer Leather Cases : BlackBerry case, iPhone case, Treo case, iPod Touch case, and other PDA cases
Their flat-$10 worldwide UPS shipping plus engraving service made them quite price-attractive compared with Piel Frama. I had the chance to see and hold one (the Folio design) in the Sydney Apple shop - and realized that while it was really nice, ultimately it was just a bit too minimalist - i.e. another "expensive-looking-but-oh-so-boring-executive" folio.

3. Vaja -- Vaja - Leather Products
These are the absolute Rolls-Royce of leather cases, but the exceptionally high price, long waiting times (45-60 days!) and a whole slew of negative customer reviews online made it easy to say not take the risk. But it's great website just to look and drool, though.

4. DodoCase "Moleskine" -- iPad Cases by DODOcase
This is the most popular "Moleskine-lookalike" case which has been getting lots of good word-of-mouth. However, the three-week waiting period and high shipping cost made it quite pricey, nudging into the lower end of the genuine leather price ballpark. I did find the similar-looking M-Edge Trip Journal (M-Edge | Products | Trip Jacket for Apple iPad) as well as other Moleskine-cover clones like Caveman Cases (Caveman Case Co — Welcome). I did seriously consider going Moleskine for a while, before realizing I really wanted a leather folio after all.

5. More -- More-Thing.com
Not too many designs, but they do offer a range of alternatives like neoprene and faux leather in addition to full grain cowhide covers and slipcases. This was more of having another vendor for product and price comparison.

6.TwelfthSouth --http://www.twelvesouth.com/products/bookbook_ipad
Not quite "leather", but I thought I'd mention this in passing. Based on their original product for Macbooks, TwelfthSouth offers a cover called a BookBook(sic) for iPad. Interesting approach and not quite what I was looking for - but I can see how it'd appeal to hardcore bibliophiles.

I also found any number of Asian-based vendors on eBay offering unbranded genuine leather covers for "too-good-to-be-true" prices. However, without really knowing if the descriptions are indeed accurate or quality of the workmanship, plus the hassle of having go through with a dispute if something went wrong, it was a risk I decided not to take.

Final word of advice - if you're buying online, before checking out always always always Google "(brand name) coupon code". Sometimes you will find a coupon code that gives you a discount on your order - I found discount codes for some of the above vendors which would give free shipping, 25% discounts, etc.
 

davidalan99

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Thanks for the great information. For right now I am going with the DODO case. The Oberon, is real nice but in the typing mode it did not seem to fold well in the video. However in the hold it to my cover mode it seemed rock solid.
 

Diane B

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A photo forum member just sent me his second Dodo case. Just got it today. He bought one, got one as gift and thought of me. How nice is that !!!!!!! Love it so far (gen 1). I've been using the Apple case for almost a year but this one is much classier LOL.

Diane
 
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tzimisce

tzimisce

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davidalan99 said:
Thanks for the great information. For right now I am going with the DODO case. The Oberon, is real nice but in the typing mode it did not seem to fold well in the video. However in the hold it to my cover mode it seemed rock solid.

Since I wrote that six months ago, it has emerged that Dodo has been having a number of problems with its durability, especially around corner pads and splitting frames: just Google 'Dodocase iPad falls out’ and you'll find videos and unhappy users complaining. That was enough for me to take it out of running.

Right now if you're looking for a Moleskine-style bookbound case, the best options would be Treegloo, Portenzo and Pad and Quill. I eventually went with the Treegloo, because of their customization options and price, although recently they've released new design changes for iPad 2 and thus been swamped with a surge of orders and a 2—3 week backlog, from what I can see from their Facebook page.

I should also add that Moleskine-style cases, by definition, are made from vinyl (like a dead-tree Moleskine notebook) and not real leather, although for a higher premium Portenzo will build you a bookbound case from genuine leather.
 

davidalan99

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tzimisce said:
Since I wrote that six months ago, it has emerged that Dodo has been having a number of problems with its durability, especially around corner pads and splitting frames: just Google 'Dodocase iPad falls out’ and you'll find videos and unhappy users complaining. That was enough for me to take it out of running.

Right now if you're looking for a Moleskine-style bookbound case, the best options would be Treegloo, Portenzo and Pad and Quill. I eventually went with the Treegloo, because of their customization options and price, although recently they've released new design changes for iPad 2 and thus been swamped with a surge of orders and a 2—3 week backlog, from what I can see from their Facebook page.

I should also add that Moleskine-style cases, by definition, are made from vinyl (like a dead-tree Moleskine notebook) and not real leather, although for a higher premium Portenzo will build you a bookbound case from genuine leather.

Again and after much thought I have cancelled my DODO order and it looks like I will go with the one of the Oberon cases, the tree of life style. I have an email into their sales department, so this time I can find out what is in stock prior to order. Once again thanks for the help and review.

Sent from my iPhone using iPF
 

davidalan99

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Hey tzimisce, thanks again I placed the order with Oberon moments ago, what a find. I got the saddle tree of life
 
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tzimisce

tzimisce

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Hey tzimisce, thanks again I placed the order with Oberon moments ago, what a find. I got the saddle tree of life

No worries - all their products are handmade-to-order (usually within 2-3 business days) so there's no question of "out of stock" since your item doesn't come into existence until after you've ordered it. The green tree of life was a very close second choice for me (I have a blue roof of heaven), so I know exactly how it feels.

I have misgivings about their iPad 2 covers because of the lack of the rear camera port and magnetic activation - but in every other regard, the quality of craftsmanship and design is exceptional. Sometimes I'm in meetings with two or three other iPad users in the room, and invariably they have some sort of serious-minded, corporate-looking leather case - I've recognized Sena and Jack Spade. The Oberon, on the other hand, makes a very bold statement about how cool her owner is. :)

And, as any Oberon owner can tell you, the pictures don't even come up to a fraction of actually having one in your hand.
 
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tzimisce

tzimisce

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I should add - my first case (for iPad 1) was the Oberon and I am very satisfied with it, but I also realized as a compulsive journal writer, I also wanted a Moleskine-style case to reflect that aspect of my hobby.

At the time (this would have been August or September last year) Dodo was the best-known vendor, although they were already having some bad publicity about their rubber corners wearing off. I decided to wait, and subsequently other vendors like Pad and Quill, Portenzo and Treegloo entered the market. What sold me on the Treegloo was their level of customization, cost and customer service - and so far every bit as happy with Treegloo as I have been with Oberon.
 

Mtnmedic

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Try the Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio case. I have one and it works fabulously. Quality, gorgeous construction. Very durable and elegant looking without screaming "there's an expensive electronic device in here!". I bought it for $60 last year when I got my first iPad, which I used with a Macally Flexitpad shell (like the Belkin Gripvue). A tight fit to begin with but broke in (as all leather does) and fit like a glove. Now that I have my iPad 2 with TPU shell and Smart Cover-which is still thinner than the original iPad as above-it slides in and out of this case with ease! Perfect fit, perfect combo! Best of all for you folks: It can be had for under $30 now!

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Targus-Hughes-Leather-Portfolio-TES00701US/dp/B003ES4U6K[/ame]

Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad 2 using iPF
 

Titanium

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Hey tzimisce, thanks again I placed the order with Oberon moments ago, what a find. I got the saddle tree of life


I have this exact case, same design and color. You won't be sorry...I love, love, love it! I get more compliments on it too. It is very sturdy and beautiful, a true work of art. I did a whole lot of reading about hundreds of cases and in the end I went with this one.

I have the iPad 1 so no problem for me with the lack of back camera port. I too was a little worried about the folding part after seeing the video, but mine folds just fine. I use it in that mode all the time with no problems.

I feel so special when I hold it in my hands. :)
 

ajstan99

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Some folks have disputed whether it's actual leather but I liked this review.

Yoobao Executive Leather Case for iPad 2 review - bighugenerd

This and the youtube review convinced me to order one.

I happened to get one of the earlier stink-a-riffic ones but after two days airing in my garage it is much less offensive. And it sure is purty.
i just received the new version of the black case. All new orders from Amazon should receive this version. Initial thoughts/observations are as follows:

- Odor intensity is approximate to that of a new pair of shoes. Nothing overbearing.
- Sleep/wake function works just fine and does not trigger when the cover is folded over to the back (was a problem for some in the old version).
- Very similar in form/function to the original Apple-branded iPad case.
- Conforms to the contours of the iPad 2.
- Typing angle is somewhat steeper, which also allows for greater stability in the more vertical landscape position as well as when standing upright in portrait mode.
- I'm now able to clip a stylus to the case without scratching the iPad.
 

davidalan99

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tzimisce said:
I have misgivings about their iPad 2 covers because of the lack of the rear camera port and magnetic activation - but in every other regard, the quality of craftsmanship and design is exceptional. Sometimes I'm in meetings with two or three other iPad users in the room, and invariably they have some sort of serious-minded, corporate-looking leather case - I've recognized Sena and Jack Spade. The Oberon, on the other hand, makes a very bold statement about how cool her owner is. :)
.

Interesting on the FAQ page they say it will work with the Apple cover. I will let you know. Otherwise I am sure I can find a way to add the neo magnets to it.

Sent from my iPhone using iPF
 

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