Spring Summer 2012
I recently bought a new iPad (third generation, 64 GB, 4G, white). My first iPad (first generation) was becoming annoying slow after several software upgrades, so I popped for the new one. Now say anything you like about Apple products in general or the iPad in particular, but there’s no denying they’re physically attractive. Even though I probably shouldn’t, I care that it remains in pristine condition, so it didn’t leave the house until I had a case to protect it.
I did my research and narrowed my choices down to two cases. The DODOcase Spring Summer 2012 version and the Otterbox Defender Series. In the end I chose the DODOcase because I’m vain. It’s just a much prettier case.
I ordered the case on May 24, 2012. It shipped the next day, which impressed me as it was a custom order. It arrived on May 29, the day after the long holiday weekend. So I was really happy with their speed.
The DODOcase is made from organic materials. By organic I mean non-petroleum, recognizably plant-based material. I like that. It also looks really good. It is handmade in San Francisco using traditional bookbinding techniques. I like that, too. This case looks like a hardcover book, so it’s pretty discreet. No one knows you’re walking around with an $800+ computer under your arm. They think it’s a $25 book. And that kind of sucks.
No, I’m not so vain that I want the world to know I have the new iPad. No, I want to have paid $25 for what is mostly a book. Swap out the bamboo tray that holds your iPad snuggly in place for several hundred printed and neatly trimmed pages and that’s what you’d have. A hardbound book. Don’t get me wrong. I love hardbound books and I love the way the DODOcase feels in my hands, but…
This case isn’t made to provide a high level of protection for your iPad. It’s designed to hold your iPad while looking like a good book. It isn’t even designed to wear well. Again, don’t get me wrong. As far as books wear, I’m sure this will be a winner. But books wear and this will, too.
I’ve had my DODOcase for 24 hours. One day. I’ve held it in my hands for maybe three hours, at most, during that day. Already I have pilling of the inside fabric where the spine meets the bamboo tray. I also have some smudges on the front cover. All to be expected, I suppose, but for $107.85* delivered I’d like a more durable product.
Functionally, I also have issues with this case. In effect, it has one viewing angle when used on a desk or table. That angle is comfortable for typing. If you want to watch a movie, though, you’ll need to improvise to get this unit to stand up. You can flip the front cover over backwards and stand it up A-frame style, but unless the surface you’re setting it on provides a lot of friction the front cover will simply slide out from under the case and collapse.
Another irritation is the orientation. When the front cover is folded over so the outside covers are back-to-back the hinge (i.e. spine) is significantly thicker than the open end. This makes for a nice incline for typing when the unit is set flat on a table. However, this puts the home button on left. My preferred orientation when holding the iPad in landscape mode is home button on right (I’m right-handed). I also have a charger plugged into the iPad when I’m in bed for the night. This orientation puts the charger port on the wrong side, which stresses and eventually wrecks the charging cable.
Yes, yes, I could simply flip it over and hold the thick side at bottom, but this makes the iPad feel awkwardly top-heavy. It’s surprisingly uncomfortable.
The Spring Summer unit is $79.95. Every iPad after the first generation has had a backward facing camera. Every. Single. One. Yet, DODOcase makes you pay an extra $4.95 for what should be an essential, standard, pay extra to NOT have it, feature.
So, to recap, what do I like about this case? It’s physically attractive and made from natural materials. It’s discreet while looking like a hardbound book. I didn’t mention it earlier, but I really like the auto wake feature when opening the case (auto sleep on close, too).
On the other hand, this case is subject to stains, scuff marks and abrasions that a leather or plastic case would resist with ease. Further, it’s awkward to hold in some preferred orientations and doesn’t prop up well on flat surfaces. It might be the case that the Morris Lessmore iPad case (with faux leather) is more scuff and stain resistant.
Also, while it’s clear this unit isn’t going to provide serious protection against screen side impacts, there is evidence to suggest that the DODOcase provides more protection than its makers are willing to assert.
In the end, I’m disappointed. The DODOcase is beautiful and handmade here in the United States, but it won’t be my primary case. I’ve ordered the Otterbox Defender Series iPad case.
* Base unit cost for the Spring Summer case is $79.95. I added a $4.95 camera hole and personalized free-form text on the spine for $12.95. $10 shipping brought the total to $107.85.