Orbino has recently released its new Padova Mini Case for the iPad mini. Like its larger sibling, the miniPadova is a form-fitting flip-style case that is hand-stitched with thick waxed thread and constructed from fine Italian leather or rare animal skins. I have reviewed other Orbino accessories in the past and have yet to be disappointed in their fit, function, style, or top-shelf quality. So, let us see if the Padova Mini lives up to its pedigree and reputation.
The Padova Mini case fits the iPad mini like a fine leather glove. The smaller iPad slides into the case from the top. As I mentioned above, its form fitting design is hand-stitched in Italy with premium high-tensile waxed thread.
The front flap not only protects the screen, but it also has embedded magnets that keep the flap securely in place and allows the Smart Cover technology to turn the screen on and off. I did find the front cover’s ability to turn the screen off a bit finicky; it failed to do so about 25 percent of the time. Not a huge deal, but I did find myself hitting the power button as I flipped the flap closed just to make sure I was not wasting battery power.
The back of the Padova Mini has the Orbino logo embossed into the leather, a cut-out for the rear facing camera, and an insert slot for the removable typing stand.
The sides are hand-lacquered with four coats of edging. The base of the case has a cut-out for the speakers and Lightning connector.
The left-hand side of the case has no cutouts.
While somewhat recessed, the top is left open allowing access to the power button and headphone plug port. The leather extends past the top edge of the iPad mini, protecting its upper corners. The top hinge is well done, looks great, and is engineered to last the test of time.
The right side has a cut-out for the mute/orientation switch and a push-through for the volume buttons.
The hinged flap doubles as viewing stand in horizontal and vertical orientations. The leather flap is surprisingly rigid and definitely strong enough to hold the iPad mini upright.
The Padova has a very well designed and nice looking brushed metal, rivet-styled Home button integrated into the leather. The push-through mechanism works perfectly.
The removable, chromed metal stand-clip works as designed, keeping the iPad mini angled for typing. It keeps the iPad relatively stable while you’re clicking away. That said, I doubt I would ever take the clip with me or leave it attached to the case during transport.
As I stated above, the chrome hinge is very nice, but (best I can tell) is glued together. It looks as if you should be able to unbolt it and remove the front flap – an option I would love to have. There are definitely times when I wish I could remove the front flap from the case itself. While it would admittedly be less protective, the case would be even thinner and sleeker by one third without the flap.
The hand-stitching is truly distinctive and second to none, giving the Padova line a timeless look all its own.
You can order the Padova with an optional leather and metal handle for an additional $100.
The Padova Mini is available in four colors (black, brown, pecan, and red), with Orbino’s standard Italian leather for $209. You can also get it in brown crocodile for $689 and cognac/black/mocha/red ostrich for $569. At more than half the cost of the entry-level iPad mini, even the standard leather Padova Mini is expensive. But the exotic leathers nearly match the cost of the Cadillac iPad mini – definitely an extravagance, to say the least.
Cost aside, the Padova Mini leather case for the iPad mini certainly lives up to Orbino’s reputation for fine handcrafted leather accessories. It is made with the same craftsmanship and artistry as other fine leather goods Italy is known for, like shoes or bags. I just wish the front flap magnets turned the screen off/on every time and that Orbino designed the hinge to be removed, because those operational niceties matter on such a high-end case. While the flap being non-removable is forgivable, the Smart Cover features working intermittently is not, especially since it is an advertised feature of the case. Other than that, the Padova Mini case is definitely a top-shelf iPad mini case/accessory that provides stylish protection in handmade Italian leather.