iPad Cases and Sleeves in Review – Part 3

J. Simon Leitner (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/27/2010

iPortfolio. In the third and last review of our iPad series, we will examine a whole range of foldover cases, with and without a stand function, closely. What does the protective function for the iPad look like? And what about manufacturing quality and demanded price?

We have looked closely at a total of 11 cases this time and have rated them according to the usual criteria: style, quality, features, protection and price. The advantage of this case category in comparison to the shell alternatives in the second review and the sleeves in the first review is that the iPad is completely encased and protected. Additionally it can be used immediately after opening the lid. It doesn't have to be taken out of the case. Moreover, a few solutions have various stand functions, which make it significantly easier to type on the tablet or consume contents.

Stilgut Pink Pearl Portfolio

Link: Manufacturer's information

"Pink Pearl – stylish portfolio" can be read in the manufacturer's title. Fittingly. The pink colored case clearly stands out in the Stilgut range. Apparently artificial leather is used as the material. It has a special structure on its exterior that gives it a satin gloss shine depending on the light. A big magnet catch keeps the folder securely closed. Nevertheless, it can be opened easily. On the inside we find a pocket in the lid that can accommodate single slips of paper. The iPad is kept in place by a pair of leather holders and a pair of rubber straps. Inserting and removing the tablet works perfectly. Moreover, the device sits surprisingly tight despite the use of loops. We found it a bit annoying that the headphone socket was partly either covered by a rubber strap or by a leather holder no matter how we inserted the iPad into the case. They had to be forced aside when the socket was needed. Regrettably, this case doesn't bid an option of placing it in certain angles.
This case positions itself on a high workmanship standard. However, after a few weeks of testing minor abrasions were evident on the front's corners.

The form-stable lid, as well as the case's back protects the iPad against pressure and even against bumps to a certain degree. The protective case is well suitable for protection against dirt and signs of use. However, it only bids minor protection in case of a drop, in particular when it falls on an edge.

The pink portfolio is especially impressive in terms of style. The leather looks catches attention in the right light with a subtle shimmer. There are no alternative colors available, but these won't likely be essential for the targeted group. Combined with the right handbag, you'll never want to part from your "Stilgut Pink Pearl" again. Amazon delivers this portfolio for starting at 59 euro. You simply have to dig deep in your pocket for style and quality. Our rating:
Style: 5/5; Quality: 2/5; Features: 2/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 1/5 – Total: 3/5 points

Stilgut Leather SlimCase

Link: Manufacturer's information

You won't accept anything but genuine leather? Then you might find what you're looking for in Stilgut's SlimCase. It combines a robust plastic shell with the haptical qualities of a leather portfolio. You need a bit of force to insert the iPad into the case. Plastic edges claw themselves around the iPad and hold it tight. We painfully experienced how tight as we wanted to free our tablet PC again. Bent and broken fingernails will be the order of the day without the use of various tools.
We especially liked the possibility of placing the iPad in two different angles. It partly made typing easier, or allowed watching a video in a relaxed position. The SlimCase is in the upper league in terms of workmanship. Genuine, heavy-duty cowhide paired with clean seams doesn't leave room for complaints. But – what do we find in the area of the plastic claws? A palpable ridge. This really wouldn't have had to be necessary in view of the good overall impression.

In our opinion, the Stilgut SlimCase bids comprehensive protection. Thus, not only signs of use, dirt and potential scratches on the display can be successfully deterred, but the case also can stand up against pressure and bumps to an extent. The portfolio could even prevent a catastrophe in a "worst case scenario", that is when it falls on the ground due to the plastic case's tight fit and the massive corners.

The leather looks dominate this portfolio's appearance. The striking, lighter colored ornamental stitching supports this impression. The leathery scentprovides the icing on the cake. Stilgut offers the SlimCase in both black and in a light brown called, true to the original style, "cognac". Like the "Pink Pearl", the SlimCase costs around 59 euro in the Amazon Online Store. Our rating as follows:
Style: 5/5; Quality: 4/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 5/5; Price: 1/5 – Total: 3.8/5 points

Stilgut Ultraslim Case

Link: Manufacturer's information

And now for another product by Stilgut, called "Ultraslim Case". We can't quite follow how Stilgut sets its standards. As far as we can see, the Ultraslim Case isn't really any slimmer than the SlimCase. However, it bids a completely different concept in terms of tablet fixation and possible features. The iPad is inserted into the lower part and is kept in place by two leather-covered claws. Additionally, holders at the corners provide a tight fit of the iPad.
If you want to place the iPad in an angle of choice, it is folded open halfway from the bottom shell and put in the according slot on the case lid's inside. The Ultraslim Case can be set in five different angles, from slightly elevated for comfortable typing up to almost vertically for watching videos or presentations. The Ultraslim Case is also on the high standard of the other Stilgut products in regards to workmanship. We couldn't discover any possible faults.

The form-stable and padded bottom shell, respectively lid protects the lid well against dirt, signs of use and pressure. The case can cope well with moderate bumps. The iPad's corners are equally protected. However the protection will likely not be as high in case of a drop as in the SlimCase alternative. The clasp claws the lateral edge and is partly a bit tricky to open for our taste.

The Ultraslim Case by Stilgut also relies on dignified leather looks and thus rather addresses business persons. The price clearly points to this direction: 59 euro have to be left on the table for the Ultracase Slim by Stilgut. There aren't any alternative colors for this product. Our rating:
Style: 5/5; Quality: 5/5; Features: 5/5; Protection: 4/5; Price: 1/5 – Total: 4/5 points

Stilgut Folio Tasche

Link: Manufacturer's information

We continue with leather – this time again originating from an animal. The Stilgut Folio Case follows the example of a notebook and wants to be swung open and have its (opening) angle adjusted almost variably. The iPad has to be inserted between two leather parts coupled by rubber straps. It's held by a Velcro fastener. Alike the Ultraslim Case model, the table can be tilted in the area of its center axis and the free lower edge is placed inside the case's flap. A narrow Velcro strip supplies sufficient grip.
Principally, this concept works quite well. However, we disliked the somewhat wobbly quality, which the case's stand function can't provide. Additionally, the cover protrudes slightly in a closed state and has to be kept in place with a rubber band. Alike the former products, the workmanship has a high standard.

The Folio Case protects the iPad reliably against signs of use, as well as against pressure and bumps. However, because the tablet doesn't fit tight in the case, and is merely kept in place by rubber straps, drop protection can be described as insignificant.

The Folio's main feature is also its leather looks, which has an air of business. However, you can choose among two color alternatives, chocolate and black. In comparison to its "Slim" colleagues, the Folio almost looks plump. The protruding leather rim around the iPad didn't really appeal to us in the test because our fingers continuously collided with it. In our opinion, "The perfect fit" as stated on the manufacturer's site applies to both Slim options, but not the Folio. The standard price of 59 euro places the Stilgut Folio on the par with its colleagues. Our rating:
Style: 3/5; Quality: 5/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 1/5 – Total: 3.2/5 points

Stilgut Scarsela "Luxury Leather Portfolio"

Link: Manufacturer's information

One thing first: The "Scarsela" doesn't really air more or less luxury than the other cases by Stilgut, which the price confirms. Take a guess – Right! 59 euro. You can indulge in the smell of leather here too. The Scarsela combines the Folio's iPad fixture-type with the stand mechanism of the Slimcase. This results in yet another elegant portfolio by Stilgut that includes a whole range of application fields. The tablet is kept in position better because there are no rubber straps. The Scarsela also looks overall slimmer than the Folio. A possible reason for complaint might be that the leather edges always enclose the iPad. That all ports and buttons are well accessible is a matter of course.
In opposition to the Slimcase, this casing alternative omits a clasp for closing. Instead it relies on two little magnets to keep the lid in a closed state. We rate their force as very minor. However, setting up its stand function is faster than the Slimcase's solution because the lid only has to be inserted into the protruding slot.

We rate the protective function as slightly superior to that of the Folio case. The iPad is kept in place by the all-round leather parts. The portfolio's lid and bottom bid protection against signs of use, as well as moderate pressure and bumps. There isn't sufficient protection against drops due to the lack of stable edges here, either.

Like the Slimcase, the Scarsela is available in two different colors. Either in a classic black or alternately in a light cognac should meet every leather aficionado's taste. Our rating as follows:
Style: 4/5; Quality: 5/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 1/5 – Total: 3.4/5 points

Hama Portfolio „Arezzo“

Link: Manufacturer's information

We now continue with a portfolio solution from Hama. However, leather looks isn't used here, but rather a plain plastic material that gives a rather technical character. There are no ornamental stitches, pockets for slips of paper, etc. There is no mechanism to prevent the iPad from slipping out of an opened cover accidently, either. Opposing the product picture on the manufacturer's site, our test sample has a cutout for the iPad's home button, as well as for the brightness sensor. The lid is kept closed by two magnets. All interfaces and buttons around the iPad remain well accessible.
We can also determine a partly very protruding edge around the tablet's display in the Arezzo. This doesn't only look unsightly – it also partly gets in the way of using the iPad.

The portfolio bids good protection against scratches and dirt. It proves to be very resistant against signs of use despite the smooth synthetic fiber surface. Bumps and pressure can be absorbed to an extent, but the Arezzo has to surrender at the thought of a drop. The edge protection is too minor and the iPad isn't kept in place tight enough.

We found three different color alternatives at Amazon. First our black sample, then a burgundy red alternative, as well as a gray-silver Portfolio. With a price of about 16 – 18 euro, depending on the dealer and color alternative, the Hama Arezzo places itself at the lower end. Our rating is as follows:
Style: 3/5; Quality: 4/5; Features: 2/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 5/5 – Total: 3.4/5 points

Dicota PadBook

Link: Manufacturer's information

Dicota offers the PadBook matching the PadCover. It wants to stand out from the solutions of other labels with a similar material design. The PadBook's textile front cover is made of wool and acrylic and is adorned by a herringbone structure. The rear and inside isn't made of blue nylon like the PadCover's. It is also made of a black synthetic material. There is nothing to reproach in terms of workmanship. However, the lid doesn't fit tight enough for our taste and the magnetic catch only has a weak force.
The iPad is inserted into a pocket on the bottom and held with a rubber band on the top. It has a small hole for the brightness sensor, which likes to slip underneath the surrounding material because of the elastic rubber straps, and is therefore nevertheless covered. Dicota integrates two stand functions in the PadBook. Two stands can be folded out from the back (held magnetically) and the iPad can be placed on the table in two positions.

The PadBook's casing is basically very form-stable and can distribute selective pressure well. The cover also protects the iPad against signs of use and minor bumps reliably. The PadBook isn't at all impressive in case of a drop. The portfolio lacks reliable edge protection, a tight grip on the iPad and a safe closure.

In opposition to the PadCover's optional pink outfit, the PadBook is only available in the black/white combination at hand. The use of blue lining has been confined to the magnetic catch's interior. Nevertheless, the PadBook has an overall attractive exterior, but somehow looks very "British". Kind regards to Burlington and Co. At a price starting at 33 euro, the portfolio definitely wants to distinguish itself from the low-priced entry division. Our rating:
Style: 4/5; Quality: 4/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 3/5 – Total: 3.6/5 points

Artwizz SeaJacket Leather

Link: Manufacturer's information

The accessories supplier Artwizz also has an appropriate product for leather fans in its program. The SeaJacket Leather is made of genuine leather and underlines this with the according scent. The surfaces have a velvety soft and high-end feel. Nevertheless, a feeling of glee generally doesn't want to turn up. The case looks unshapely and doesn't really want to accommodate our iPad. Partly protruding leather edges around the display and a not completely closing lid contribute their part.
The lid is also the stand at the same time and can, alike the Slimcase solution from Stilgut, keep the iPad in two different positions. The home button's cover wasn't convincing. It has to be pressed in quite a bit before it responds. Neither did the deep position of the on/off button.

The SeaJacket Leather's protective function is limited to signs of use and dirt in our opinion. The portfolio has little defense against pressure on the tablet's sensitive display. The lid only lies on the display's inner area and passes applied forces directly on to the display. The SeaJacket Leather also only bids insufficient protection in case of a drop.

Alternative colors for this case aren't available. The design is dominated by genuine leather surfaces, but wasn't really impressive because of the partly protruding parts. It is doubtful if this will improve after a time of use, since leather rather wears out than fits better. The SeaJacket places itself in the upper price range with about 40 euro. Our rating:
Style: 3/5; Quality: 3/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 2/5; Price: 3/5 – Total: 3.0/5

Cool Bananas TimeLess

Link: Manufacturer's information

Cool Bananas also has a range of products with and without a stand function in the category portfolios. A brown artificial leather case starts it off. It primarily differs from most other alternatives by a lid that doesn't fold over the entire breadth. The material of choice is artificial leather and a kind of nylon mesh. Various stand functions are also omitted, just like a pocket for small things, such as business cards.
The iPad is inserted in the case's top, whereby there is no feature for holding the tablet. Nevertheless, the cover fits tight and the iPad didn't tend to slip out, at least in the first days of use. All interfaces and buttons are well accessible. However the on/off button can only be pressed when the case is open, which isn't impairing for use. Headphones can be connected in a closed state, but they have to be removed when opened. This could prove to be a bit more annoying. The lid is kept closed by two small magnets.

In our opinion, the TimeLess does a good job of protecting the iPad against scratches and scrapes, as well as against pressure and minor bumps. The lid is both sufficiently stable and also has a soft padding. In case of a drop, the iPad would be protected due to the stable protruding leather edges, but especially the tablet's corners could be damaged when it hits the ground.

Cool Bananas offers two different Timless portfolio alternatives. There is our brown variant that is also available in black. This protective cover starts at an attractive price of 18 euro. Here our rating:
Style: 4/5; Quality: 4/5; Features: 2/5; Protection: 4/5; Price: 5/5 – Total: 3.8/5 points

Cool Bananas TheBook

Link: Manufacturer's information

"TheBook" accurately describes most representatives of the iPad portfolio category. Alike many colleagues, TheBook uses a dignified leather appearance for looking as high-end as possible, even if only artificial leather is used. Nevertheless, we would rate the feel as appealing. The seams don't give reason for complaint, either. Inserting the iPad proved to be a bit tricky because the correlating straps are very tight. In return, the iPad sits tight in the case.
The casing has a pocket for slips of paper and a loop for holding a pencil or pen on the lid's inside. We disliked the fact that either the headphone socket or the on/off button, depending on the direction the iPad is inserted, is covered by the leather strap on the right. Additionally, it's not possible to stow the opening latch, which uncontrollably stands up in an opened state and is thus a bit annoying.

Also true in this case: The protective function against signs of use, dirt, minor bumps and pressure can be rated as good. However, if the iPad should hit the ground, the sensitive corners could be damaged, despite the devices exemplarily good fit in the case.

"TheBook" is only available in the black leather outfit. Alternative colors aren't currently offered. Again, the price surprised us pleasantly: The portfolio is available starting at 23 euro. A more than fair offer. Our rating is as follows:
Style: 4/5; Quality: 4/5; Features: 2/5; Protection: 4/5; Price: 4/5 – Total: 3.6/5 points

Cool Bananas TheRamp

Link: Manufacturer's information

Even if the name sounds a bit hard, the surface's soft, artificial leather feels pleasantly velvet-like. Unfortunately, the leather-like cover tends to wrinkle, which dims the overall quality impression. At first glance, the built-in stand function is almost invisible due to the foldable lid. It is held on the rear with the closure latch and the iPad can be set up in two different angles.
Alike all comparable case models, TheRamp struggles with an irregularly overlying rim on the display. This can be seen clearly on the top, where the rim only loosely lies on the iPad and partly has a gap of several millimeters. Two rubber straps underneath hold the tablet in place.

While the portfolio's rear is quite thick, the lid proves to be a bit thin and can only protect the display against pressures to some extent. The iPad is however kept safe from dirt and signs of use here. The drop protection is insignificant because the iPads corners are hardly protected and could hit the ground openly.

The choice of colors is interesting. TheRamp is only available in brown – sorry "cognac". The price is also attractive here: Amazon lists the case starting at 25 euro. Our rating in view of the observations mentioned:
Style: 4/5; Quality: 3/5; Features: 4/5; Protection: 3/5; Price: 4/5 – Total: 3.6/5 points

Verdict

Our ratings were again partly very tight in the category portfolios with and without stand function. In our opinion, there is nevertheless one worthy winner and two at least recommendable covers. The Ultraslim Case by Stilgut deserves first place. This solution combines good protection with various stand functions for the iPad. It also is on a high standard in terms of quality and workmanship. The price is a bit painful: You have to dig comparatively deep in your pocket with a price of 59 euro.

Aside from the UltraSlim Case, we can highlight two other cases as "recommendable". First, there is the TimeLess model by Cool Bananas that bids high-end looks and even protects the iPad sufficiently at a particularly attractive price less than 20 euro. It doesn't have any stand functions though.

Then, we can mention the Stilgut SlimCase of genuine leather positively in the conclusion. With a robust bottom shell, in connection with high-end leather applications and two different stand positions, this solution doesn't leave much room for complaint. The only drawback here is also the start price of 59 euro.

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > iPad Cases and Sleeves in Review – Part 3
Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2010-12-27 (Update: 2013-06- 6)