While I may be known for my addiction to all things anodised aluminum, I also have a love of natural materials, wood and leather especially. My MacBook Pro and MacBook Air both travel in BookBook leather cases (reviewed here by Jordan), so when Studio Credence announced a book-style case for the iPad, I decided to take a look.
Studio Credence is clearly going for a bit of a rustic look. The packaging is undyed cardboard, with the case itself in a muslin-type drawstring bag. Open this, and what you have inside is a very similar approach to the BookBook range …
From the front or spine, it does look very convincingly like an old-worlde book. From the sides, however, the open style gives the game away.
The leather isn’t as soft to the touch as BookBook cases, but it feels like like decent quality leather with neat stitching, and the red felt lining looks good as a contrast. Overall, this has the look and feel of a high quality product made to last.
My iPad Air slipped easily into the sleeve compartment, with a leather tap to fold behind it. With that in place, the iPad was held securely even when I shook the case with the open slot at the bottom.
All three open sides are well thought out, allowing access to headphone socket, power switch, rotation-lock switch and volume buttons. The case does, however, partly block the speakers.
In practice, there was plenty of volume for listening to a video, but it wouldn’t be ideal for listening to music.
There’s also a rear cutout for the camera.
In one of those small but appreciated touches, there’s a small magnet embedded in the case so there’s a slight bits of resistance as you lift the front cover – just enough to keep it secure, but not annoying the way a press-stud would be.
If holding it as you would a book, you need to open it from the back to unfold it. The iPad sleeve hinges, and there are three ridged areas in the felt to allow a good choice of viewing angles.
This is very convenient for watching movies, and works well enough for web-browsing, but personally I’d remove it from the case for any more intensive use. This is really the only weakness: with the iPad in the sleeve, you can’t neatly tuck the open cover behind it for handheld use. If you use your iPad in a case while standing on a train or metro service, this wouldn’t be a good choice.
The company also makes a range of iPad and iPhone sleeves. This didn’t seem to justify a review of its own – how much can you say about a simple phone sleeve? – but I did also try it out.
This is not a full wallet replacement. Until companies finally catch on to the electronic age and give us Passbook entries instead of slivers of plastic, we’ll be stuck with carrying around pocketfuls of the things.
There are times, however, when carrying both a wallet and a phone is a bit of a pain. I may need only one card and a bill or two, and I have to say I think one of Studio Credence’s iPhone sleeves may just fit the bill. The phone goes in the main sleeve, and there’s just room for one (or at a push, two) credit card in the pocket on one side, while a bill or three goes in the pocket on the rear.
The whole thing is pretty neat, and slips easily into a jacket or jeans pocket. Although the phone is a tight fit, the felt interior means there’s no need to worry about scratching it.
I won’t be using it on a daily basis (I don’t generally use any iPhone case), but I can see me using it for a nice evening out – when I don’t want to spoil the lines of my jacket with a full-sized wallet – and for cycle rides where I won’t need most of my cards.
Different case designs have different uses. Doing a lot of typing? You want a keyboard case. Hand-holding your iPad on a metro or train? You’ll want something where the front cover folds flat behind it.
But if you use your iPad mainly for movies and light browsing, and you mostly have it sitting on a desk or on your lap, this is well worth a look. On your lap, the leather has enough friction that it sits securely, with no tendency to slip off. On a desk, it’s perfect. You also wouldn’t hesitate to pull it out in the most important of meetings: it looks the part.
Finally, as a travel case, it gives excellent all-round protection to the iPad. I’d happily put this into either a day bag or overnight bag with lots of other bits & pieces and be confident that it was well-protected all-round from both scratches and impacts.
The only catch is the price: at $99, it’s not cheap. But I subscribe to the notion of buying the right thing once, and I do think the quality is such that this would last for years to come.
The phone sleeve? $38. To be honest, as neat as it is, for something with more felt than leather, I think that’s rather harder to justify.