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The Ultimate iPad Case Review Roundup and Giveaway

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As much as I love reviewing iPad cases, it sometimes becomes a bit overwhelming to handle all of the review requests we get from manufacturers. In the interest of getting a pile of overdue case reviews done and get these cool cases into the hands of our readers, I'm going to review and give away a dozen of these cases in one big post. Anyone looking for an iPad case can find something here to make them happy.

Aranez Notebook K-Leather Case

The most exotic case of the bunch has to be the Aranez Notebook K-Leather iPad Case (US$119.95). In case you're wondering what K-Leather is, it's leather made from kangaroos! This beautiful black folio-style case comes with leather conditioner and a fiber cloth to keep your K-Leather case looking good.

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When the case is opened, the left side reveals a small wallet -- there's room for a driver's license, some credit cards, and even a pouch for folding money. On the other side is a polycarbonate clip-in for your iPad 2 or third-generation iPad. Officially it's designed for the iPad 2 only, but my third-gen device fit into the case with no issues. The case has openings in the bottom for the Dock Connector and speaker, a cut-out on the side for the volume toggle and orientation/mute lock, and the top is wide open.

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The folio is held closed with a magnetic clasp, and the entire thing looks like something that would be entirely at home in an executive suite. With no offense to the many other manufacturers of folio cases, the Aranez Notebook K-Leather Case is probably the classiest case I've seen so far.

Pad & Quill Contega, Octavo, Octavo Luxury, and Graduate Edition Cases for Third-Generation iPad

I've raved about Pad & Quill's iPad and iPhone cases before, but this time I think they've outdone themselves. With each iteration of their products comes refinement, and the products just keep getting better.

First, let's talk about the Octavo Luxury Case ($119.99). Rather than the bonded leather used in Pad & Quill's other cases, the Luxury Case features real soft-stitched leather in either black or mahogany brown. Like the other cases, the iPad is held into the case securely in a beautifully-machined lacquered Baltic birch frame. There are a variety of interior bookbinding cloth colors to choose from.

Pad & Quill used to use those little sticky-backed pads in the corners a lá DODOcase, but now they use small rubber inserts that are more permanent, durable and attractive. They call this the Sure-Lock System; this makes sense, since the last name of the owners of Pad & Quill is Holmes (Get it? Sure-Lock Holmes? Wa-hahahaha!)

Other features of the Octavo Luxury Case include an elastic band to hold the cover closed in transit, magnets in the cover to turn your iPad on and off, and a folder in the inside cover for important papers. If you like the combination of laminated wood, real leather, and traditional bookbinding techniques, you're going to love the Octavo Luxury Case.

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Next, the Octavo comes in a less-expensive ($69.99) version using bonded leather on the outside, but with the same Sure-Lock bumper system and magnetic on/off system. For wood and leather folio cases, the Octavo is probably the best bargain on the market.

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For our next case from Pad & Quill, we'll go to something that is a bit more like the DODOcase -- the Graduate Edition Case for iPad ($59.99). Rather than using leather, the exterior of the Graduate Edition is beautifully finished in traditional book bindery cloth. The one I received for this review was covered in a delicious forest green cloth with a "espresso" interior; there are also for deep blue and burgundy exteriors. I'd like to point out to anyone considering a DODOcase that they'll be missing out on the new Sure-Lock bumper system and will have to pay an extra five bucks just to get a camera hole that the Pad & Quill cases already have.

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Finally, the Contega case / iPad stand ($99.99) has been fully redesigned to add the Sure-Lock system and an improved magnetic switch system. The fold-out design of the Contega makes it an easy way to stand an iPad up in landscape orientation. Pad & Quill continues to be the innovative leader in leather-bound iPad folio cases. All of the cases are handcrafted in the exotic city of Minneapolis, MN.

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Booq Folio Fibre Collection for iPad 2 and 3rd-generation iPad

Literally minutes before I was set to publish this iPad case roundup, my doorbell rang. Not only was there another case from Pad & Quill, but also another box containing two Booq Folios for iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad ($49.95). That was fortunate since I'm able to include these beautiful and functional cases in the review.

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What makes these cases so nice? They have a natural fibre exterior that not only has a good feel to it (good for holding onto your iPad), but also just plain looks nice. TUAW received both the black and sand colored cases, and they both stand out from the crowd.

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The cases include a folding front cover so that you can prop your iPad up in a variety of positions, and they also include the magnetic on/off capability that is common with most recent iPad cases.

Powis iCase

The Powis iCase ($79.95) is the case that unashamedly asks the question "what's your favorite position?" that's because it has a innovative design that offers "9+" viewing positions. The best feature, in my opinion, is that you can emblazon the exterior of the case with your very own photography. In the giveaway portion of this post, you'll get a chance to win a Powis iCase with one of my twilight photographs of Venice, Italy on the cover.

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Your iPad is held into the right side of the case in a plastic frame that securely holds your iPad in place. There's a large elastic band that serves to hold the case closed, and it's wide enough to also let you hold the case with the strap wrapped around your hand. As with the other iPad 2/3 cases, the Powis iCase has magnets embedded in the cover to automatically turn the device on and off.

As I noted before, the best feature has to be the ability to create a totally customized case with your own art or photography. That means that you can have a completely unique case. The printing process is flawless; I honestly have no idea how Powis makes money selling a custom case for only $79.95.

mophie workbook

Yes, you read that correctly. This is a protective smart case made by mophie, the same company that makes those sweet battery packs. The mophie workbook ($49.95) comes in five different exterior colors (black, white, gray, brown, and purple) with four contrasting elastic bands that can be changed out depending on your taste or whims. The black case that we received for review came with straps in the standard printer's colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK).

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While most of the other cases discussed in this post are made of real or bonded leather, the workbook is made of synthetic animal-friendly materials. As opposed to the other cases, the workbook doesn't use a rigid frame to hold the iPad in place. Instead, there's a "pleather" bezel that goes around the entire perimeter of the iPad to hold it steady.

That method of securing the iPad makes it easy to install or remove the iPad from the case, but I did notice that the magnetic closures were rather inconsistent. Sometimes when I expected the iPad to shut off, I could see that it was still turned on when the cover was closed. I had to adjust the cover a bit to get the iPad to shut off.

A unique feature of the workbook is its ability to adjust to just about any viewing angle. That can be very useful when you're using your iPad in your lap and want to change the angle depending on whether you're reading a book or watching a video.

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iFrogz Summit

Last in this review in terms of full cases, but certainly not least in terms of capabilities, is the iFrogz Summit Case ($59.95). This case features a solid polycarbonate frame to hold an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad in place, and has a faux-leather exterior that should stand up to a lot of use.

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The Summit quickly adjusts to one of three positions in landscape orientation. You'll need to use a little muscle to get the Summit out of its usual folio position, though -- there's a big hunk of Velcro on the back of the polycarbonate frame that requires a good tug to overcome.

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For those of you who like to use styluses with your iPads, you'll be happy to know that the Summit comes with a stylus holder -- the only case of those reviewed today that has that feature. As with the other cases, the cover turns an iPad 2 or third-generation iPad on and off. There's a business card slot in the front cover, handy for those situations where you want to carry some cards with you but don't want them taking up wallet space.

Happy Owl Studios Leather Shell for iPad 2

This item isn't a complete case; rather, it's a snap-on shell made to protect the back of your iPad 2. Unfortunately, it won't fit on a third-generation iPad -- I tried. The Leather Shell for iPad 2 ($39.99) snaps on easily and provides a luxurious thin leather feel to cover the cold aluminum back of the iPad.

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Like all of Happy Owl's other products, the Leather Shell is well-designed and constructed. This is the perfect product for the iPad 2 owner who is happy with Apple's Smart Cover but would like protection for the rest of the iPad as well.

X-Doria Widge

Your kids can't keep their hands off of your iPad, so what do you do? Protect it with an X-Doria Widge ($39.99). As the name sorta implies, the Widge is a wedge made of reddish-pinkish squishy foam. You push an iPad into it, and the kids have something fun to hold while they're playing Angry Birds on your device. Should they drop it, the foam padding will protect your precious from damage unless they manage to score a direct hit on your display.

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For parents, the Widge is a godsend, but it's not just for kids. A friend of mine liked the Widge that her kids were using so much that she gave one to a friend with bad arthritis in his hands. He loves being able to use his iPad while holding something soft in his aching hands.

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Giveaway

Now, it's time to make room in my office for the next wave of iPad cases. Twelve TUAW readers will get one of the cases described in this review, courtesy of the manufacturers and TUAW. All you need to do to fill out the giveaway form below. Only one entry is allowed per reader. Personal information will not be used for any purpose other than contacting the winners, who will be selected in a random drawing of eligible entrants.

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before May 23, 2012 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Twelve winners will be selected and will receive one of the following prizes: Aranez Notebook K-Leather Case ($119.95 value), Pad & Quill Contega iPad case/stand ($99.99 value), Pad & Quill Octavo Luxury Case ($119.99 value), Pad & Quill Octavo Case ($69.99 value), Pad & Quill Graduate Edition Case ($59.99), Powis iCase with Steve Sande personalized photo ($79.95 value), mophie workbook ($49.95 value), iFrogz Summit Case ($59.95 value), Happy Owl Studios Leather Shell for iPad 2 ($39.99 value), X-Doria Widge ($39.99 value), Booq Folio Fibre Collection iPad 2/3 Case ($49.99 value).
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.



Categories

Accessories iPad

As much as I love reviewing iPad cases, it sometimes becomes a bit overwhelming to handle all of the review requests we get from...