I’m no stranger to iPhone cases. I’ve tried lots of ‘em, and I don’t expect that trend to change anytime soon. I tend to gravitate toward cases that are either very slim and sleek, or cases that offer armor-plated protection. But the elegant book-like appearance and ability to hold some cards and cash like a wallet were features of the Little Pocket Book Case for the iPhone 4/4S by Pad & Quill that really caught my attention. Let’s check it out.
Click any image below to enlarge.
Pad & Quill is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company that has been designing and manufacturing cases for several models of personal electronic gadgets, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod (check out this adorable little iPod nano case), MacBook Air, and the Kindle. Inspired by “bindery artisans,” their products have a book-like appearance and fairly closely resemble the popular black-covered Moleskine notebooks, who coincidentally also make an iPhone case. Pad & Quill’s products are handmade, feature quality materials, such as a real leather cover and wood interior, and include a 30-day Money Back Promise. The Little Pocket Book is stated to be 25% thinner than Pad & Quill’s Little Black Book, a similar precursor product that is also still available. The Little Pocket Book Case for iPhone 4/4S retails for $59.99. There is also a version for the iPhone 5.
The Little Pocket Book’s packaging is a cardboard origami type. Simple and recyclable, it also includes not only a window to view at least a portion of the actual product, it allows a potential buyer to actually touch the product. In the case of a product that features a real leather exterior, I would think this an advantage; people like to touch leather, especially quality leather.
The Little Pocket Book’s package contents are minimal. There is a small, cardboard warranty/thank-you card, a small plastic bag that contains additional rubber bumper strips (more on this below), and of course the Little Pocket Book itself.
As mentioned above, the exterior of the Little Pocket Book is made from genuine hand-stitched leather with a rich, dappled appearance and feel. It is available in two colors, Onyx Black (reviewed here) and Mahogany Brown. It measures 5.1″ X 2.75″ X 0.65″. The front is unadorned save the Moleskine-style elastic band that is used to secure it closed.
The rear of the Little Pocket Book includes an upper left teardrop-shaped cutout for the iPhone 4S’s rear-facing camera as well as a Pad & Quill logo embossed into the lower right.
The spine of the Little Pocket Book features some embossed details that complete the classic, leather-bound book look and feel.
The interior of the Little Pocket Book features a cover with multiple slots that allow it to act like a wallet and a wooden frame to hold the iPhone. The interior is available in two color schemes, a brownish French Roach (reviewed here) and a reddish Merlot.
The cover contains a front slot with a window for an ID card, as well as two other slots behind it. A fourth vertical slot which extends the length and width of the cover sits behind the other slots.The iPhone frame is CNC-routered from a single piece of real baltic birch wood with two coats of an environmentally-friendly, water-based satin finish. Four rubber strips in each of the corners provide a press-fit to secure the iPhone into the frame. A bookmark-style ribbon can be pulled for easy removal of the iPhone.
You’ll see a couple closeups of the rubber strips in the corners in the following images.
Visible in the closeup below is the cutout in the frame for the iPhone’s rear-facing camera. More on this below.
I loaded my ID in the window slot, as well as three other cards, one in each of the two other slots behind the ID slot and the last one in the longer vertical slot behind all of the other card holders. The three front slots are really only large enough to accommodate one card in each. The larger vertical slot could theoretically hold more than one card or even a few folded bills, receipts, and so forth.
The little warranty/instruction card gave instruction for how to install my iPhone. I didn’t actually need to make any adjustments to the rubber bumpers using the included extra rubber strips, I just went with the factory setup and it seemed to work fine for me; however, others may want to adjust the fit of their iPhone as appropriate.
All of the critical iPhone external features are accessible while in the frame. The bottom of the frame includes a cutout that allows access to to the iPhone’s dock connector as well as clearance for the microphone and speaker. Note that a cable is required in order to access the dock connector, and you can basically forget about using the iPhone with any type of actual dock or cradle while it is in the Little Pocket Book.
Like the bottom, the top of iPhone is accessible as well, including full access to the sleep/wake button and headphone jack.
The side controls are also fully accessible, including the ringer switch and volume up/down buttons.
The Little Pocket Book accommodates the iPhone’s rear facing camera by providing a portal through both the wood frame and the leather cover. The rear camera cutout is a teardrop shape, and as far as I could tell, it allows the flash to function properly.
The Little Pocket Book’s design gives a good amount of scratch and bump protection to the iPhone from virtually all angles. However, it does add a fair amount of thickness to the svelte iPhone 4/4S.
Further, adding several cards and some cash causes the Little Pocket Book to expand to the point where the cover would not quite fully close. In fact, without the assistance of the elastic band, it kept wanting to pop itself open. It is possible that this effect could be reduced over time as the Little Pocket Book is used and broken in, but I didn’t see this in the time that I used it. This thickness makes the Little Pocket Book a bit difficult to carry in a pants pocket; khakis or other looser-fitting slacks are OK, but jeans can be a bit of a tight squeeze.
The Little Pocket Book fits quite nicely in the palm and actually feels quite good in the hand.
One thing to mention here is that the Little Black Book is a bit awkward for phone calls. The way I did it was to sort of fold the cover back around on itself and hold it up to my ear. Not terrible, but just a bit awkward.
Designed and manufactured in the USA from high quality materials, Pad & Quill’s Little Pocket Book Case for iPhone 4/4S is an elegant, classic design with the appearance of a small, genuine leather-bound book. Its interior provides card slots to give it wallet functionality, while its wood frame holds the iPhone securely and protects it while allowing access to all of its external functions. While its design does provide additional protection for the iPhone, it does add a fair amount of thickness, especially if all of the card slots have been filled. It is also a tad awkward for phone calls. In absolute terms, it is a bit pricey at $59.99, but for its styling, craftsmanship, and functionality, if this style of case is to your liking it may be well worth the investment.