It's no secret that I have a thing for leather ... leather iPad cases, that is. I like the feel, the aroma, and the warmth that seems to come with natural leather. Griffin Technology has added a new folio case for the iPad 2 to its lineup of protection products. The Elan Passport (US$49.95) is a nice looking, slim, and practical leather folio for iPad 2 users.
All folio cases are somewhat similar -- they feature a book-like design that opens up to reveal the device. Some folios also act as iPad stands, propping the device up in a variety of positions. With the Elan Passport, that's not the situation -- it is simply a protective case.
It does have a feature that can be handy for the businessperson on the run. On the left side of the case (when opened) is a pocket for things like boarding passes, photos, or basically anything that is printed and smaller than a U.S. standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. I don't believe that a European A4 sheet will fit into the pocket either, unless it is folded.
The left side of the case also has four slots for holding credit cards, business cards, ID or the like. Each of the slots is lined and separated from the others, and the lining is smooth to allow for easy retrieval of your cards.
Your iPad 2 fits in the right side of the Elan Passport. Holding it in are two fixed leather pieces and a pair of elastic straps with leather highlights. The design makes installing and removing the iPad 2 a cinch, yet the device is held in the folio securely.
The inside of the Elan Passport has a smooth microsuede interior to keep your iPad 2 from getting scratches. The stitching on the case is a bit uneven compared to some other cases I've reviewed, but that doesn't detract from the overall appearance of the Elan Passport. Griffin provides a choice of four colors -- black, brown, camel, and red.
Like most iPad 2 cases, Griffin added the requisite front cover magnet to turn on the device when the cover is lifted and shut it off when the cover is down. There's also a strap that acts like a "belt" to keep the cover closed; nothing special here, it's not magnetic, just held in place by friction. One last feature: if you use a stylus with your iPad 2, there's an elastic loop that's normally hidden by the iPad that can be flopped outside to hold your stylus in place.
There's really not much to say about the functionality of the Passport Elan -- it works as advertised, it holds business cards and such as it should, and it does a bang-up job of protecting the iPad 2. It's not flashy, so it wouldn't be out of place in the office of a CEO or in the backpack of a student.
Price-wise, the Elan Passport is a bit more expensive than it should be. As an example, the much more capable (but less classy) ZooGue Case Genius can act as a folio case, a stand, and a car mount, and it's the same price. On the other hand, there are more expensive cases than the Elan Passport that don't do much more -- take a look at any of the Vaja leather cases, for example.
Griffin Technology makes quality products for Apple devices, and the Elan Passport folio for iPad 2 is no exception. It's a good-looking and practical leather folio with all of the features you'll need, without adding unneeded fluff.