Most iPad cases are made of rubber, plastic, some combination of the two, or in rare cases, leather. There are some notable exceptions, like the Grove or Miniot offerings, but for the most part you’re going to be hard pressed to find an iPad 2 case that doesn’t make it look like you’re ready for the gym or a trip to the industrial park.
The DODOcase bucks that trend by offering an iPad case built with bookbinding materials and craftsmanship, making it a great ‘grown up’ case for meetings and presentations when a bright pink hello kitty case just won’t do.
Look and feel
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The DODOcase is hand made in San Francisco and offers a choice of 8 different interior lining colors. The exterior comes in black and black. The cover has a pleasantly stippled texture, as you might find on an older, or higher-end, hardback edition of a book. The interior lining looks like cloth, with a linen-like texture and an attractive ownership card in the inside of the front face.
The textures of both the front and inside lining are pleasant to the touch and well seamed. The application of the interior lining on my demo unit was perfectly aligned with only some small creasing at the binding, which is to be expected.
The spine is in the traditional notebook style, although it is not actually glued or stitched to anything. This allows it to fold around backwards for pleasant holding. When it’s folded back it offers a small wedge along the left hand side that gives you a handhold for reading in portrait orientation.
This design also means that you can use the DODOcase as a stand to prop your iPad up in landscape mode, but since the material of the bottom edge is relatively smooth and there is a small contact patch, expect lots of slipping on smooth surfaces. I also found myself reluctant to prop it up this way because it seemed to place additional strain on the spine at a reverse angle.
Design and use
One thing I love about the way that the DODOcase is designed is that there is very little horizontal shift in the spine when the case is closed. This means that when you’re holding it in a hand by the bottom, with the spine pointing upwards, there’s little shifting and sliding, preventing the edge of the iPad 2, or even the mounting frame, from being exposed.
The frame that holds the iPad 2 in place is made of bamboo. This, coupled with the material choice of the cover, makes the DODOcase very, very light. This is an important characteristic as many portfolio style cases for the iPad are incredibly, unnecessarily, heavy. The DODOcase has traveled with me everywhere for the last few weeks and I was pretty satisfied by how little the extra height and width bothered me, but the weight was the most welcome surprise.
The iPad is held in by small leather tabs at the corners that offer easily sufficient grip to keep it in place. I have heard some anecdotal experiences from customers about these pads coming out of place, but I had no problems.
The edges are scalloped along the sides to accommodate the new curved, rather than bezeled, shape of the iPad 2 and the ports, buttons and switch are all easily accessible. The curvature of the opening that is cut for volume and orientation lock switches is a bit tight and you’re going to have to reach in with some general purpose to flick the switch, but it wasn’t a huge inconvenience.
The back of the case has a very nice hot stamped DODOcase logo in glossy back that provides identification without garishly advertising the maker on the product, which is always a plus. The case is kept closed by an elastic band that is similar to the one found on Moleskine notebooks, which the DODOcase pays very close homage to in terms of design.
There is no magnet in the cover so the DODOcase will not work with the iPad 2’s auto-on/off function.
Wear and tear
The closure band has held up well over the course of the month or so of testing I’ve put it through and I haven’t been too careful with how much I’ve stretched it in the course of opening and closing the case. It remains firm, with little to no play when in closed position.
The DODOcase exterior has held up well for me, with only a couple of glossier spots that have come as a result of it rubbing on other items in a suitcase or bag during travel. It’s in much better shape than my Moleskine, which always comes along as well.
The DODOcase is a light, well made and great looking portfolio-style case for the iPad 2. It blends in well in situations where books and folios are more common than rubber or plastic-encased gadgets. The build quality is solid enough to stand up to normal abuse without too much extra care and handling, but the design uses colored and textured inner lining, so there is some fear of dirt collecting over time. This makes it an excellent case for indoor and work use, but not so much for highly active or outdoor use.