Last year I told you about some multipurpose cases for the original iPad from Happy Owl Studio. I never got a chance to try one of their cases with my iPad, but I never forgot about them. I was happy to see they were updating their products for the iPad 2. You know how I love cases, so you know I was very happy when they sent a Clutch for iPad 2 for our review. Continue reading to learn more about the Clutch and about a special Happy Owl Studio discount just for readers of The Gadgeteer.
Some of the photos in this review are clickable for an enlarged view.
The Clutch is more than just a bookstyle case for the iPad 2. The designers know that you don’t just need an iPad as you go about your day at work or at home. The Clutch was designed to carry all your necessities with your iPad so you don’t have to carry a huge bag, or a purse and a gear bag for the ladies. It has a zipper compartment that’s big enough to hold a cellphone, some credit cards, pens, cash, keys, and more. There’s even room for a charging cable in there.
Happy Owl Studios actually has two of these carry-alls. The Clutch is the more feminine of the two styles. It has a pleated front that makes it look a bit more “girly”, but I guess there’s no rule that says pleats are not for men – witness kilts, for instance. The other style is called The Wallet, and it has a flat front. The Wallet apparently also is missing the shoulder strap that comes with The Clutch. Both cases are available in black leather only.
The leather is smooth, and it feels thin in the pleated area. The Clutch has purple topstitching on the black leather. The stitching is even and straight, with no loose threads.
The Clutch measures about 10.5” long X 8.4” wide by about 2” thick at the front loop, but the thickness could vary with the amount of stuff you pack in it. The empty bag plus strap weighs 1 pound, 1 ounce on my digital scale. The case is held closed by a 1”-wide leather strap that has a non-magnetic snap on it. This strap slides under a loop sewn on the front. This loop keeps the bag more securely closed, but it makes it slower to get to the contents of the zipper pouch. The male end of the snap is set in the middle pleat on the front. I can tell by feel that there is no reinforcement for this snap, and I’m afraid that it will eventually tear through the thin leather.
The only branding on the outside of the case is a silver-colored owl on the closure strap. I’m not sure, but the owl seems to be made of plastic with a shiny silver finish. Small black D-rings are sewn onto the front left corner and the back opposite corner. You attach the included shoulder strap to these rings, but the case can be used without it if you prefer.
The strap is also made of the same leather used for the case. It seems to be a double thickness with some padding or stiffener inside. The strap is about 0.6” wide. It has a silver-colored length-adjustment buckle and oval clips at the ends. It adjusts from 31.5” to 57” long, so it can be used as a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag.
The front half of The Clutch is a zipper pouch. There’s a plastic zipper with double pulls. The pulls have leather tabs; one side of each tab is embossed with the Happy Owl, and the other side is embossed with either Think or Happy.
The interior of the zipper pouch is lined with a reddish-purple fabric decorated with silver Happy Owls. The fabric feels like cotton or a cotton blend. The exterior wall has a full-length zipper pocket. The interior wall has a pocket for a phone or similar-sized device, two elastic pen loops, and five credit-card slots. There’s a center zipper pocket divider, but it doesn’t reach to the bottom of the main compartment so things can move from side to side. The sides of the main compartment are gusseted to prevent it from falling completely open and to keep things inside.
I attempted to replicate the photo on the product packing to show you how my things fit inside the main compartment. I have five cards in the slots, a Levenger pen and the Monteverde One Touch Stylus Pen in the pen loops, and my iPhone 4 in the phone pocket. I have cash in the exterior zipper pocket and a checkbook in the zipper divider. My keys are floating in the bottom. (I tried to take a picture of the contents, but my photo editor wouldn’t let me open it because you could see a folded $10 bill.) I had room for a few other things in there.
It can be difficult to get in the zipper pouch to grab my ringing phone. I found if I kept the zipper pulls zipped toward the top center, I could unzip half of the bag without having to first unsnap the strap and pull it out of the loop. It was a bit tight getting my phone back in with the pouch only partially open, though.
Open up The Clutch like a book to get to the iPad 2 compartment. The interior is lined with a dark purple fabric with a sueded texture. The iPad 2 is held in place with a leather frame that has cutouts for the front-facing camera and the home button. You slide the iPad 2 into the frame from the interior edge. There’s a Velcro tab to hold the iPad in place. It’s hard to see in the picture, but you can see a round magnet on the screen cover that triggers the iPad 2’s sleep/wake function. I found that the Happy Owl Clutch closes up tightly enough that the sleep/wake function worked only when I opened the case. I didn’t hear the sleep/wake click as I was carrying the bag.
There are cutouts for the docking connector and speakers. I was able to use the connector with no problems, and the sound wasn’t muffled. A single cutout for the volume rocker and screen lock/mute button allowed enough room to use these controls with no problem. I could use my headphones, and I could use the power/standby button with no problems. Happy Owl Studios forgot one thing in their design. They didn’t leave an opening for the microphone at the center top. I tried making a voice recording, and the leather didn’t interfere with sound quality at all.
The iPad 2 compartment is shaped to fit. The sides of the compartment are made of the thin, flexible leather. The back is stiffened; I can feel something between the sueded fabric and the leather exterior. The back side of the zipper pouch is also stiffened to protect your screen from the items you have in the pouch.
The opening for the power/standby button extends to the back of the case to expose the camera lens. The case didn’t cause any problems with using the camera other than making it a bit harder to hold steady because of the weight of the bag and its contents dangling down from the bottom of the iPad 2.
You can flip the bag open and snap the strap “backwards” to convert the Happy Owl into a horizontal stand. This is a stable stand, but it has only one angle. You can supposedly use the Clutch as a typing stand, but the things in the zipper pouch keeps it from folding flat enough for comfortable typing, in my opinion. I do think this position works well as a second horizontal stand, though. I think you could even use the Clutch as a vertical stand on a stable surface.
I carried the bag when I went to the eye doctor last week; I always have a couple of hours to kill there and like to have my iPad for entertainment. I found the fully loaded Clutch a bit heavy to hold like a book during the time I spent waiting. It was nice to have my cards, driver’s license, keys, phone, and iPad 2 all in one bag, though.
The Happy Owl Clutch for iPad 2 is a nice way to carry your iPad 2, phone, and other necessities as you go about your day. You can fit most accessories you’ll need into the zipper pouch. The case should protect the iPad 2 from minor bumps and knocks. The shoulder strap keeps your hands free. The pleated design gives it a touch of femininity while keeping it suitable for the office.
Happy Owl Studios will begin shipping the Clutch this week. They very generously have offered a discount to readers of The Gadgeteer. They have created a code just for us that will be active for one week. Enter GADGETEER at checkout to receive a 10% discount on your entire order.