The Gadgeteer recently posted a news item about an unusual iPad case from AProdukt. The Kork case is a back cover made of cork. AProdukt says the thicker, rounded form of the Kork is ergonomically designed to make holding the iPad easier. When AProdukt offered a Kork case for review, Julie offered it to me. Let’s give the Kork a closer look.
The Kork case is very “green”. The case is made from the cork “left over” from manufacturing other products. Because the Kork is made of natural cork, it is recyclable itself.
When I opened up the package, I was surprised at how rounded and thick the Kork case is. Since it’s made of cork, it needs to be a bit thicker than a hard plastic to make a sturdy, protective case. The case is about 8.13” wide X 10.13” long X 0.88” thick. The side walls are each about 0.38” thick. The case weighs 6.6 ounces on my digital scale. The Kork case adds significant thickness and weight to the iPad.
There are openings for all iPad connectors and controls. The openings are extra large to allow easy access. The sides of the openings are curved and smooth. I didn’t have any trouble using the power/standby button or the volume rocker button. I think it will be easier to plug in headphones with a straight plug. My headphones have an L-shaped plug, and I could plug them in only when I turned the plug so the cord was coming out toward the front of the iPad.
I did run into a problem with the iPad docking connector. I have several Apple docking cables, and the one I happened to use is the old type with the two release buttons on the sides of the 30-pin connector. I couldn’t get my fingers in to pinch the release buttons without considerable effort. However, the cable that actually came with the iPad doesn’t have those release buttons and shouldn’t pose a problem.
The openings for the microphone and the iPad’s built-in speaker are angled. This shape is designed to direct the sound into the microphone and out toward the front of the iPad from the speaker. I was afraid the Kork case would deaden and mute the sound, but that was not the case. I thought the iPad sounded fine while wearing the Kork case. I tried making a voice recording, and my voice sounded clear and as loud as a recording made without the case on.
Although the Kork has a sheen, the surface isn’t slippery. I was able to carry my iPad in one hand without feeling like it was going to slip out of my grip. Although the case adds considerable thickness to the iPad, it was comfortable to hold. My hands felt more relaxed holding the Kork case than holding a bare iPad. I didn’t need such a “pinchy” grip to hold it. The very rounded edges of the Kork fit my hands very well. I did notice the extra weight; the iPad is almost two pounds in the Kork.
The Kork is seems to be very protective against shock. I tried banging the Kork case against the legs of my desk. Although I was using a bit of force, there were no dents or marks on the case. I tried throwing the Kork to the floor from a height of about 3 feet – again, there was no visible damage to the case. I did NOT have my iPad in the case during either of these tests. I try to do the best review possible, but I will not risk my beloved iPad!
This case doesn’t have a stand built-in, but pictures at AProdukt show someone typing with the Kork-covered iPad propped up on an apple. I didn’t have an apple handy, but I used a round ibuprofen bottle (about 1.25” in diameter) to prop it into a typing position. I laid the bottle on its side and centered it under the iPad. I expected the iPad would rock from side-to-side or the bottle would roll away while I was typing. Even though I was pounding on the iPad, it was stable and at a good angle for typing. I found that I couldn’t tilt it up very high unless it was sitting on a non-skid surface.
I like the Kork case. It’s a nice design that makes the iPad feel more comfortable in my hands. It seems it will be protective against shocks and drops. It’s a bit heavy, but many cases are. If you like back covers, you should give the Kork case a look.