I’ve had my iPad wrapped inside a Belkin Folio case ever since I bought it, and while it offered what people would normally want in a case – the protective case folds into a handy stand – owning one for a few months revealed its shortcomings. First off, it adds a measurable amount of bulk, defeating the purpose of buying a sexy, well-designed tablet. After a few months, the Folio’s build quality came into question; the rubber edges peeled off, causing the interior lining to unravel, turning the case into a mess. To top it off, the interior lining under the stand also tends to gather quite a bit of dirt, which caused me to junk the case altogether because it just became unbearably grungy to hold.
That caused me to rediscover how pleasant it was to just carry around a naked, un-cased iPad. While I generally prefer to use it without a case, slipping it in my backpack – along with a laptop, a bunch of hard drives and flash drives, cables, chargers, and the occasional bag of chips and bottle of water – is a different issue. So I decided to spring for a sleeve for protection when I need to lug it around.
Personally, all I wanted was something that will let me pull out my tablet for use in a pinch, with a design that didn’t scream “Hey! Look at me!” While there are a lot of accessories available that fit my needs, I at least wanted something that would a) last long enough before I left the need to upgrade to a newer tablet, and b) look good with a suit without looking too flashy. Luckily, Falcon Gray sent us the leather iPad case we previewed back in April. Perfect.
Falcon Gray doesn’t have a long product line. They basically ship three products – a laptop case, an iPad case, and an iPhone case – that all offer the same thing: protection and good build quality. All three products are built with a genuine leather exterior and a soft inner lining. The iPad case I have on-hand looks pretty simple. It’s basically a leather sleeve highlighted by stitches along its borders, amounting to a muted design that might not impress the average teenager, but it looks and feels awesome for anyone who can appreciate good build quality and the soft, supple feel of genuine leather.
The sleeve fits well enough that slipping an iPad 2 or new iPad inside is as easy as popping a note inside an envelope. While the fit isn’t as snug as I initially expected – there’s about a half-inch of room on both sides – I appreciate the fact that the extra space doesn’t turn the simple motion of moving the tablet in or out into a wrestling match. The interior lining holds the tablet in place so it doesn’t move around anyway, and the extra space should be good enough for fitting an iPad with a rear shell, like the Scosche SnapShield case that I’ve been eyeing for some time now. The extra space might also be enough to fit an iPad with a Smart Cover, but we’re still going to have to test that out.
Will it hold for the long haul? There’s certainly no reason to think that it won’t. Unlike the Belkin Folio case that unraveled on me, the stitching and the edges on Falcon Gray case looks more robust. Probably the only downside here is that the soft leather exterior is easily pockmarked with scratches and bumps from the daily grind (this case already has a dent after it got pressed up against a cable in my bag), but at least it doesn’t feel grungy.
There’s isn’t much else here, but the stuff that the case offers should be good enough for the people that it appeals to. Mainly, it’s for people with a low-key sense of style that want luxury without the flash. Heck, the leather exterior doesn’t even have a logo stamped on it (although we wouldn’t mind if it did). Like it is on a premium wallet or luxury watch strap, genuine leather is all about the feel after all.
The Falcon Gray leather iPad case costs $49.99 – a fair price for a quality handmade product, amounting to a good deal overall.