There are plenty of leather cases available for your iPad, but actually tracking down a decent one is a bit of a tightrope walk. Genuine leather cases are expensive, and sometimes hard to tell from the hordes of imitators.
Casemade, a UK company that boasts of genuine Italian leather on its iPad and iPhone accessories, hopes to walk that line. The company sent us its standard leather case for the latest iPad, available for $60 or £40. It’s a pretty nice option for protecting your tablet, covering all the basic features in a beautiful and functional exterior.
You won’t find much in the way of fancy features, but as a simple means of keeping an iPad safe and looking good, it’s more than adequate. The Casemade design is pretty straightforward, and should be familiar to anyone who’s used an iPad in the last few years.
It goes with the standard folio layout: a hard plastic shell surrounded by a stiff leather exterior. Our review unit is in standard tan with matching stitches, though black with red trim is also available.
Genuine Leather Looks Fantastic
The exterior is smooth and unadorned, save for a small embossed logo in the bottom right corner. A book style-seam runs vertically on the front and back, allowing the cover to fold back on itself and slip into a thin tab, displaying the tablet in a horizontal position with about a seventy-degree angle. Aside from the cutouts at the rear for the iPad’s camera and a microphone, that’s it.
Closed and protecting its cargo, the case is approximately three-quarters of an inch thick—pretty chunky for a svelte tablet, but about average for this kind of folio design. The plastic inner case is open at the tablet’s top, bottom, and volume cluster, though it wraps around the corners snugly enough that the iPad isn’t going anywhere. The interior is lined with suede leather, pleasantly soft to the touch and easy on the iPad’s glass screen.
The case looks excellent and feels even better. The grain of the leather on the exterior has just enough give to let you know it’s real while staying thin enough to slip easily into a bag. With the case closed all portions of the iPad are protected by extruding leather and plastic, though it should be noted that the top and bottom are susceptible to impacts on irregular surfaces.
The Stand Function is Pretty Basic
The case comes without an exterior clasp, relying instead on hidden magnets to secure closed. These pull double duty, automatically turning on the screen when the main flap is opened, as most iPad cases will do these days.
Aside from easy access to the charging port, headphone jack, and buttons, the only other practical feature of the case is that fold-back stand. This could have been implemented better: the leather-only fixture tab is stiff and not altogether sturdy. Even when the tab is correctly used, the curve of the flap makes the iPad “rock” back if you’re actually trying to use it.
This means that the stand is really only useful if you’re watching video. Using it upright or down and angled isn’t very comfortable in either position. A tri-fold design a la Apple’s Smart Cover would have been more flexible… but it wouldn’t have looked as nice.
Simple But Solid, With Good Value
Casemade’s designs probably aren’t flexible enough for those hoping to get serious work done on an iPad, owing to limited options for standing and rotating. Likewise, they’re not the smallest or sleekest cases around. But if all you want is a good-looking leather case that will protect your iPad without breaking the bank, it’s a solid and fetching choice.
Aside from the stand tab, the only other problem I had with the case was the labeling or lack thereof: while Casemade says its materials are genuine Italian leather, it took an email to confirm that the actual manufacturing is done in China. That’s not a surprise at this price point, but it’s something that really should be somewhere on the product or package.
In addition to the 2018 iPad 9.7 featured in this review, Casemade offers similar designs for the iPad Pro (10.5 inch) and iPad Pro (12.9 inch) models.
Here’s What We Like
- Excellent fit and finish
- Good clasp-free closing mechanism
- Good value for leather
And What We Don't
- Stand mechanism is inflexible
- Packaging lacks origin label