Those of you who own an iPad may have reached the same conclusion that I have: with a device that offers this much versatility, you almost need multiple cases, each to cover off a specific use. An iPad (or any other tablet for that matter) is not like a laptop, at least not for many users. A simple carrying case doesn’t cut it. In my house, there are kids playing with the iPad (which means some protection from knocks is required), some people are typing on it, sometimes it’s used to watch videos, I prop it up on occasion as a reference source and my wife would like something that looks nice. Instead of multiple cases, the other option is to find a multipurpose case that covers off as many of the use scenarios as possible. The Powis iCase is one such animal.
When Powis Parker contacted me about reviewing their iCase, the thing that grabbed my attention at first was that this is a company that’s firmly rooted in book binding. A foray into offering premium cases for a gizmo like the iPad seemed an unusual move. After some contemplation though, it makes perfect sense. By treating the iPad as “book” so to speak, and incorporating its considerable experience in producing on-demand hard cover book binding, Powis has produced an iPad case that’s not only functional and attractive, but it’s available in a huge range of finishes, with personalization options that mass production covers don’t offer.
Functionality is a primary consideration and the iCase really brings game. A rather elaborate, spring loaded, hinged contraption on the back of the unit is the key to its ability to adapt to nine different landscape and portrait display scenarios that give this case the capability to function quite effectively as anything from a stylish cover to a recipe stand or video display. All of the configurations I’ve manipulated the iCase into are quite stable, by the way. A wipe cloth is included (it tucks into a secret compartment under the iPad), there’s a lip to slide business cards into and a wide elastic band serves the dual function of holding the case closed and providing a carrying grip.
Inserting and removing the iPad was probably my least favourite part about the iCase. The iPad is held in place by a rigid plastic frame and there are two tabs you have to push down on. It’s easy enough to do, but forcing the hard plastic to flex is a little nerve-racking and requires a little more force than I’m comfortable with. Once in, the iPad is quite secure, though. In terms of protection, this is not armour. However, it does shelter your iPad from dings, scratches and the elements and will provide some protection from falls (in the “any protection is better than none” spirit). I’ve had one of these here for several months now, and it’s stood up to my three kids, which is a good sign. On a related note, the leather wipes off easily…
Aside from its flexibility, the other area where the Powis iCase really stands apart is in its customization options. If you want a unique iPad case, this one goes far beyond the the usual two or three different colors. They offer a leather version that’s available in six different grains, with a range of embossing and color options. The leather is 100% recycled, making use of material that would otherwise have been landfill, although it looks great on these cases. Powis will add a company logo, your name or a quote for an additional fee.
There is also a version that’s constructed like a typical hard cover textbook. While the form factor and mechanics are identical to the pricier leather, the cover partition of this iCase is made of laminated, recycled board and it’s available in a variety of different prints, including vintage book covers. You’d want to keep this version out of the rain for any length of time, but the tradeoff is that it’s less expensive and has more customization options -including the option to upload a photo and order your own, custom cover. The leading edge of the cover is protected by a plastic lip, which should help prevent fraying.
If you’re in the market for an attractive and unique iPad case that can go from the office to the living room, the Powis iCase is well worth considering.
Disclosure: Powis Parker Inc. supplied GeekDad with review versions of the iCase.
Powis iCase (www.powisicase.com)
Price: Leather $59.95-$79.95, Laminated $49.95, customization options extra
Wired: Elegant looks, suited to a wide range of iPad uses, huge range of customization options, reasonably priced, all versions make use of recycled materials.
Tired: A bit fussy to insert iPad, would prefer a mechanical latch to the multi-purpose elastic strap used to hold case closed.