I’ve been waiting for Saddleback Leather Company to release a play through leather case for the iPad since last May when I reviewed their iPad Pouch. The pouch is great for transporting the iPad from place to place, but not for protecting it while in use. I’m happy to say that their new iPad case is now available and it’s gorgeous. Let’s take a look.
Most of the images in this review can be clicked to see a larger size that provides more detail.
My first impression of this case is that it reminds me of a rugged journal that a world traveler would carry with them to record their adventures. Like all of Saddleback’s cases and bags, this one is made of thick leather. Four to 5 oz (2.0mm to 2.2mm) thick full grain chrome tanned leather to be specific. Just to be clear, this case isn’t soft like your favorite leather jacket. It’s stiff and rugged.
The iPad case is available in Chestnut, Dark Coffee Brown, Carbon Black and Tobacco Brown. I was sent the Chestnut version.
The case opens like a book. When you open the cover, you will notice the darker pigskin lining and the iPad holder on the right side. FYI, pigskin is the 2nd toughest animal hide next to kangaroo. This case is built to last forever – which I guess is why they offer a 100yr warranty! Not that we’ll be using iPads that far down the road
Your iPad will slide into the holder from the opening in the center spine area. It takes a bit of effort to slide it into place as the fit is snug. There are no worries that the iPad will slide out by accident. Once inserted, the entire touch screen / display is still accessible and the edges of the leather holder don’t get in the way of interacting with the display.
You might notice that one important feature of the iPad is covered by the leather holder though – the Home button at the bottom of the display. You can press the leather in that area to activate the button without too much hassle, but I still don’t like that it’s covered because sometimes I find that I have to press it more than once.
While the power button, earphone jack have cutouts too. I’m not quite sure why the cutout for the earphone jack is so wide though…
Here’s a view of the cutouts for the dock / charge connector and speaker. You can also see the closure method for the cover.
You won’t need to worry about broken zippers and clasps as this case uses tabs and loops. The thread used to construct this case is industrial marine-grade Polyester UV resistant thread.
Even though the closure method is quite simple, the cover his held closed very securely and will protect the iPad’s display during transport.
The triple thickness of the leather around the top and bottom edges will also provide drop protection for your iPad as well. You might want to take a look at the video from Saddleback that demonstrates this feature.
In addition to functioning as a play through case, you can also use this case as a stand by flipping back the cover and sliding the tabs backwards into the loops.
This case is definitely built like a tank. That means it’s super protective, but it also means that it adds some bulk and weight to your iPad. All by itself, the Saddleback Leather iPad case weighs about 15 ounces (according to my digital scale). Add the iPad and the combo comes in at 2 lbs 7 ounces. That’s a third of the weight, which may or may not be a big deal to you.
Since this case already adds bulk to your iPad, it would be cool if it was modular and had the ability to add a shoulder strap and maybe a snap on 2nd case for other accessories like the charger.
But by itself, the Saddleback Leather iPad case is a wonderfully constructed heavy duty holder for your iPad. This baby is going to outlive the iPad by decades. That said, if you keep your iPad in this case, it will probably last just as long as the case!
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