The success last year of the DODOcase has spawned a host of imitators. DODOcase used traditional bookbinding skills around a wooden frame to create a bulky, yet beautiful iPad case that resembles a book. Many other cases have since arrived on the market, but most of them were pale imitations of the original. Now a new book-bound folio case for the iPad 2 has arrived from Down Under, and it appears that there may finally be a successor to the DODOcase. The Fieldfolio (US$69.95) is a beautifully built and extremely functional iPad 2 folio case. Read on for a full review.
In a few words, the Fieldfolio can be described as drop-dead gorgeous. The cases use a high-quality linen from a mill that has been making the material for 150 years. This gives the outside of the case a smooth, yet grippable finish over a recycled material board. The linen is available in six different colors: black, gray (which looks like the linen used in OS X Lion), orange, blue, green, and pink.
Each case is shipped with a card hand-signed by Fieldfolio Co-founder Alistair Newton and is shrink-wrapped for protection. After removing the shrink-wrap, you can see a lightly embossed "Fieldfolio" on the spine of the "book," and upon opening the case the frame that holds your iPad 2 becomes visible.
DODOcase purists may decry the use of a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) shell for the frame, but for me it's a source of delight. The DODOcase uses a bamboo wood frame that looks nice and is a renewable material, but the slight variations in size and shape require some small pads in the corners of the frame to hold the iPad securely. Those pads tend to slip and fall out eventually if you take the iPad out of the DODOcase, to the point that the San Francisco-based company actually has a special page for ordering a free replacement set.
Not so with the TPU shell in the Fieldfolio. The iPad 2 snaps right in and is held securely, with no concerns about those little corner pads falling out. Fieldfolio has a hole for the iPad 2's back-facing camera, as well as strategically-placed cutouts for the speaker, dock connector, volume rocker, mute button / orientation lock, microphone, headphone port, and sleep/wake/off/on button.
One more thing... Fieldfolio has included a set of rare-earth magnets in the cover of the case that work perfectly with the iPad 2's magnet array. The result? The cover turns the iPad 2 on and off, just like Apple's own Smart Covers.
With a product like this, there's not much to say other than the Fieldfolio does a wonderful job of protecting the iPad 2 and looks good while it's doing it. I give the Fieldfolio extra points for the Smart Cover-like magnet array, the easy-to-use internal frame for holding the iPad in place, and the hole for taking photos without removing the iPad from the case (as is necessary with the DODOcase).
In my opinion, Fieldfolio has surpassed the DODOcase with a product that is in the same price range and in many ways works better than the book folio case pioneer. The colors are bright and cheery, the internal frame holds the iPad 2 very securely, there's no need to remove the iPad from the case to take a photo with the rear-facing camera, and even the way the linen looks and feels is refreshing.
If you're considering buying one of the "book look" iPad cases on the market, definitely take a look at the Fieldfolio before you make your decision.