I'm always intrigued when TwelveSouth's Andrew Green sends me an email telling me that something new is coming out. Sure enough, he warned me yesterday that something very cool was in the works, and this morning an email arrived touting the new BookBook for iPhone (US$59.99). By early this afternoon the FedEx guy brought one to the door, so I was able to try it out and write a review.
If you're familiar with the BookBook for iPad, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, you'll know that I'm talking about a distressed leather faux book that protects the outside of your device while looking very swanky. The new BookBook for iPhone takes care of your iPhone and also acts as a wallet, so you carry one beautiful leather case in your pocket instead of an iPhone and a wallet.
Like most TwelveSouth products, the BookBook for iPhone shows a lot of design smarts. I was happy to see that unlike the bigger BookBooks for iPad, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, the iPhone version doesn't have a zipped enclosure. When I reach into my pocket to answer a phone or grab a credit card, the last thing I want to do is unzip a case -- here I just pull out the BookBook and flip it open, and answer a call or grab some cash.
The distressed leather exterior of the BookBook is beautiful, and should keep you from being concerned about scratching it. Any bumps, scratches, and stains will only add to the charm of the case.
If you like leather, you'll love the smell of the BookBook when you pull it out of the box. It's that nice tanned leather smell, and the warm distressed leather feel that make this such a delightful iPhone case.
Concerned about taking photos in a case like this? Don't be. With a pull on the bright red "bookmark" you can nudge the phone out just far enough to snap a quick photo and then push it back into the case. One feature that TwelveSouth doesn't advertise is that the BookBook brings "Find My Wallet" to life, since you'd be able to ping your iPhone and know exactly where it and your money are.
You have immediate access to the Dock connector, the speakers are wide open to the world, and all of the other buttons and ports are easy to get to. For the volume toggle, there are actually + and - "buttons" embossed into the leather covering the switch.
I have a lot of cards in my wallet -- mainly things like membership and "frequent flier" cards -- so I was worried that the BookBook wouldn't have the capacity for my collection of plastic and paper. I was right. I had to leave a lot of cards out of the wallet side of the BookBook, and even with eight cards (driver's license, medical card, credit cards, ATM card, etc...) the left side of the BookBook was bulging by the time I was done. I tried to slip some money into the slot allotted for it, and found that it doing that really made the BookBook swell up.
I guess I'm one of those kids who "can't have anything nice," since I noticed after putting my cards into the wallet side that the seam between the leather card holders and the material lining the cash slot was pulling apart. The moral of the story? If you are going to use a BookBook for iPhone as your only wallet, don't carry a lot of cards.
If you have just a few credit or ID cards to carry and don't have a huge wad of cash in your wallet, then the BookBook for iPhone is an elegant and unique case for your phone. I love the look and feel of this, and it will certainly be a conversation starter. In fact, according to the promotional movie below, the BookBook is apparently quite useful in "getting lucky." Enjoy the fantasy!