10-06-2016 11:05 AM
- jcstekCommunity Reviews Team LeaderPad and Quill Oxford Leather iPad Pro Case
Handcrafted. Leather. Luxury.
For years, Pad&Quill has been a leader in luxury accessories for Apple products. From the iPods (those are still around?) of yesteryear, to the watches of the future, Pad&Quill makes some of the most beautiful and functional cases and accessories you can find, anywhere.
The Outside: Its Ok to Judge This Book by its Cover
The founders of Pad & Quill began selling cases for the original iPad back in 2010. When they built their first batch of 4 prototypes, their goal was to go in the opposite direction of most other case builders around. While the competition was churning out cheap, low-quality cases as fast as possible, Pad & Quill set out to build an awe-inspiring product that would excite your senses, carry your dreams, and inspire your sense of authenticity. Yes Pad & Quill! Carry my dreams! Now, this case may not allow you to become the next reality TV star, but it just might make you walk a bit taller.
This Oxford Leather Case is handcrafted from a single piece of American Full-Grain Bridle Leather and the result is absolutely gorgeous. I received the Chestnut color which is a beautiful dark brown. Ive done a small amount of leatherwork in my time and I can tell you that Full-Grain leather is some of the highest quality leather you can work with and not only does it look great, but if youre weird like me, man does it smell good too. Its really hard to find a smell quite like high quality leather, am I right?
The other great thing about this type of leather is that it lasts a really long time and you feel it the moment you hold the case. As soon as you get this case in your hands, you can instantly tell that this aint your grandaddys iPad case. This guy looks great, feels great, and is built to last. You can rest assured that this case will be around when you finally pass down your iPad to your grandkids. Pad & Quill has so much faith in their product and craftsmanship that they back up their cases with a 25 year warranty, which is un-heard of in the case maker industry. But honestly, if you're still using the same case after 25 years, we need to talk.
This quality even includes the stitching. The leather is stitched together with a UV resistant stitching that Pad & Quill says is the same stitching used in parachutes. Since Im not particularly interested in testing that claim, Ill take their word for it. On a cool side note, near the top of the case, youll notice some orange thread which Pad & Quill includes as a tribute to their commitment to World Vision. Good to see people giving back.
While the front of the case is completely bare, the back has two small differences. The first is a square cutout for the camera, flash, and microphone. One of the ways to tell that this truly is a handcrafted case is that the cutout is not perfectly square (it doesnt look bad at all but if you look close enough you can see it), and its easy to see that it was cut by hand. So cool!
The second thing on the back is an elastic strap that is attached to hold the case together. Its certainly strong enough to hold the case closed without being annoyingly tight and will also hold the case open for you. Well done P&Q.
The Inside: Do You Believe in Magic?
While the outside of the Oxford Leather case is a strong, solid leather, the inside is layered with a softer, beautifully supple leather. The black color here is a great compliment to the dark brown of the outside. To start with, the pocket on the left flap holds the typical papers or business cards or what-have-you. Pad & Quill also claims you can put an Apple Pencil in there which is technically true, but they have a much better solution for that which Ill get to in a minute. This pocket also allows the case to become a stand which is cool too. It does take a few days to break in the leather to a point where the bend is flexible enough to not be annoying, but the functionality is cool.
The magic comes in when you look at how the iPad actually sits into the case. With most case manufacturers, there is some kind of shell or clasp that you would fit the iPad into. Not so with this case. Think of this case more as a cover or even a book that wraps around your iPad and youll have a better idea of what to expect. Instead of a shell or clasp, Pad & Quill has partnered with 3M to develop an non-stick adhesive that holds your iPad securely in place within the case. If youre a perfectionist like me, getting your iPad into the case while aligning it perfectly along the stitching, may involve a trip or two to the therapist, but after placing my iPad on the adhesive and giving it some love to make sure it stuck, I never had any fears about it falling out. Just like a rednecks truck in a mud puddle, it aint goin nowhere.
Now, in case your worried about this adhesive being a one-and-done situation, they claim that you can remove and re-stick your iPad in the case multiple times without losing any adhesiveness, and the best part is that it doesnt leave any gross residue on the back of your iPad. I removed my iPad a few times from the case and did not notice any loss in stickiness or residue on my iPad so thanks Pad & Quill! If you do take it out of the case every day, then you may start to notice some change after a few weeks, but other than that, it works as advertised. Pad & Quill did tell me that they have literally tens of thousands of cases out there using this stuff and have had almost zero issues with it so the system works, and honestly, once you get your iPad into this case, youre not going to want to take it out. If you do insist on removing your iPad from the case constantly, Pad & Quill does offer replacement adhesive packs so youre good.
Man, I wish one of these iPad Pro cases would allow me to keep my Smart Keyboard attached too. Well good news friends! Youve found one! If you love the Smart Keyboard as much as I do, youll be happy to know that not only can you use the keyboard and the case together, but the keyboard will actually stay attached and fold up inside the case. Its pretty awesome to see that included so you dont have to carry another keyboard around with you. Keep in mind though, having the keyboard attached will add some overall bulk to the case and when standing up to type, the angle of the iPad is pretty steep and is not adjustable. If you can work through those things, then youll love this case.
JC, what about my Apple Pencil? Right! Good question. Well, you remember that elastic strap I told you about? When the case is closed, the pencil actually fits perfectly into the groove at the top of the case, held securely by that elastic strap! So cool! However, this does only work when the case is closed. If you do want something a little more official and to hold the pencil while the case is open, Pad & Quill does have an Apple Pencil holder you can get and attach quite neatly into the case. Like anything leather, it takes a few days to break it in, but once that is done, the pencil will slide in and out quite gracefully. It sticks out a little from the case, but it didnt really bother me and is actually a pretty great solution for holding the pencil while youre using the iPad. If youre a fellow leftie, it can get in the way sometimes, but again, not enough to be a deal-breaker.
The Rest: Nothing is Perfect
For how incredible and beautiful this case is, unfortunately its not without its faults. But hey, nothing is perfect right? Probably the first thing youll notice once you get the iPad in the case is that, since there is no shell, everything is recessed inside the case. This means that the buttons and ports take a little more effort to reach and sometimes you may need to feel around for a few seconds before you find what your looking for. Nothing is out of reach or unusable, it just takes some getting used to.
The second thing has to do more with me being a perfectionist and OCD. Whenever I put the elastic strap around the front, I have to take a few extra seconds and sometimes some extra tries to get the strap to lay perfectly flat. Again, you may not care, but for me, nails on a chalkboard.
One last thing that gets annoying is that if you do decide to attach the Apple Pencil Holder to the case, getting that elastic strap from the back to the front can quickly become a patience tester. It gets caught at least half the time and you certainly have to develop your own method for effectively maneuvering it around the pencil. Practice can make perfect though and after a while, it became more manageable, but never completely fool-proof (although considering the operator, thats nearly impossible to achieve).
The Result: Beautiful, Functional, Price Tag to Match
Now we come to the hardest part, the price. As you were reading, Im sure the dollars just kept adding up in your mind and youd be right. The case alone is $120. Add to that the Apple Pencil Holder and those always fun taxes (Uncle Sams gotta get his), and youre closer to around $160. Thats a lotta cash for an accessory, and if youre pretty rough on your devices, then you might want to look somewhere else. But honestly, thats not the crowd that this case is made for. This case is made for those who love the look and feel of leather and want something a little more premium and beautiful to compliment Apples refined design language. Its also for those who are looking for a great case that they can use the Smart Keyboard with. There arent many other cases around that will do that so its cool to see one that will. If you are ready and willing to spend a little extra money for a gorgeous, protective, functional case, then this absolutely needs to be towards the top of your list.
-Stunningly beautiful leather design.
-Durable build quality.
-Adhesive doesn't leave residue and still holds extremely well.
-Elastic strap can be annoying.
-Buttons and ports are a little harder to reach.
-Leather has potential to get stained if you're not careful.
You can find the case here:
Oxford Leather iPad Pro 9.7 Case | Pad and Quill
And the pencil holder here:
Universal Leather Apple Pencil Holder | Pad & Quill10-01-2016 05:38 PMLike 3
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