If you're like us, one of the first things you wanted to do after getting your iPad was to find a great case for it. Right off the bat, we weren't really that into Apple's offering, which is strangely 90's in its design aesthetic, though it does have a number of decent features if you're looking for a do-it-all scenario and don't have strong feelings on looks. For us, however, the goal was finding something that kept a low profile, shielded the slate from unnecessary grime, and made it easier to deal with. Oh, and we wanted it to look like a book. After reviewing the options, we've come up with two choices that we think are your best bets for turning your iPad into something a little more familiar, so here's our quick take on M-Edge's Trip Jacket, and the stunning, hand-made Dodocase.
As far as we're concerned, this is the Rolls Royce of iPad cases. If it looks familiar, it should -- it's patterned after the popular (and timeless) Moleskine notebook design. We were won over by the aesthetics of it right off the bat, but the functionality and quality of the build really put this over the top. The case itself is handmade and numbered -- it even comes with a hand-written library card and sleeve, further helping to imbue it with an air of understated class. If you're a fan of the Moleskine journals, it will feel entirely natural in your hands (the faux-leather is identical, as is the binding), but the real magic is the construction of the "cradle" area. Instead of using straps or a slip, the tablet is surrounded by hand carved bamboo (with notches in all the right spots for your headphone jack and buttons), and fits inside the case snuggly thanks to four rubber "stops" in the corners. At first we were worried the case could come popping right out, but it seems to be held firmly enough for our uses. Additionally, the shape of the case gives you an additional little slant when you've got the back folded over, so if you're looking to do some typing, you get a little more visibility (though it's not quite enough lift for heavy email sessions or Great American Novel writing). Still, the Dodocase is pure win as far as we're concerned -- unless you're looking for something a little more rugged or packed with storage, you'll be hard pressed to find a better way to lose $49.99. One note -- you may be in for a wait as the company is currently slammed with orders for the case, so get in now, and try to be patient.
M-Edge Trip Jacket
We first spied this case before the iPad was available, and it didn't take long to get one in our hands and take it for a test drive. For the most part, it does decent duty at keeping your iPad in a book-like position, and like the Dodocase, it's reminiscent of Moleskine notebooks, though is quite a bit more padded and less stiff than its analog counterpart. We like much about the design of the Trip Jacket, and we really liked the fact that it was available in multiple colors, but there were some minor issues as well. For starters, the straps which hold the iPad in place are in a pretty inconvenient position in the upper-right corner of the device -- when we first turned it on in the case, the volume jacked all the way because the strap was pressing in on it. You can wiggle the strap to an okay spot in between the rocker and orientation-lock switch, but it does tend to slide if you're not keeping an eye on it. Additionally, the strap which holds the case closed had a little too much slack for our tastes, though it generally stayed out of the way. Besides those small issues, the case itself is well made, though admittedly we prefer the firmness of the Dodocase to this softer material. We did like the fact that the Trip Jacket provides some additional storage on the opposite side of the pad, and it certainly keeps your device locked in place (unlike the Dodocase, there's zero fear of the pad ever leaving the snug straps). It's also a bit cheaper -- clocking in at $39.99 -- so you can save a few bucks for the tablet's pricier apps.
These are just a couple of our favorites we wanted to point out. We know there are a ton of options out there, and would love to hear what you guys are using to keep your investment safe. Sound off in comments and let us know!