When I am hunting for an iPad case, there are four different categories that I focus on: price, protection, weight/bulk, and versatility. The Origami Vertical Smart Book Hard Back Case for the iPad from iHome fits very well into all of the above areas. The case offers some protection, and it also shines in case utility, weight, and versatility. I’ve owned a few iHome products before, and I know they bring affordability along with quality to their products. Let’s see how the Origami case compares. They also sent along the iPad mini version of the Origami case, which Dave Rees will give his thoughts on.
At first glance, the Origami Vertical Smart Book looks like most other cases, with one noticeable difference; instead of opening horizontally like a book, it opens vertically. My first impression was that the quality of the case looked just right for the price. If you are looking for superb quality, you may have to look elsewhere, but the quality of the case is slightly above average for the price.
The case is very thin, and that’s where I give it a knock, as a moderate impact seems like it would break the plastic casing. It does get bonus points due to it being lightweight and easy to tote around, as it only adds 7 ounces to the weight of the iPad. It measures 9.76″ tall X 7.48″ wide X 0.70″ thick. All of the ports are easily accessible, and there is a camera cutout that is well-centered. The speaker is also completely open, allowing for no loss in sound quality.
The iHome Origami case is offered in black, blue, and red. The inside of the case has a layer of grey velvet-like material to prevent scratches on the display. At the top of the case, there is an elastic loop that holds the cover closed; you can see this in the lead photo and in the photo showing the camera opening. The iHome logo is stamped on the top right of the case. It’s easy to see the folds that give the case its name. I think it also adds style. The Origami case also utilizes the iPad’s sleep/wake feature.
There are four viewing angles available with this case, depending on how you ‘fold’ the cover. When folded down, you can use it as a vertical viewing stand. It is fine for viewing, because while it stands well on its own, but it will fall over easily if touched too much. The weight of the iPad causes it to be top heavy in this mode. This, to me, is the least useful out of the four angles, and I have never used it much except for testing purposes. (In the above image, you can see the hooks at the top of the case that are part of the closure.)
The second angle is the portrait-orientation typing angle. Laying the viewing stand down, you can easily type on the vertical keyboard. This angle is good for typing out a long email (or review) when you need to see what you have typed without a lot of scrolling. If you can get used to the smaller keyboard size, it is quite nice, but if you have big fingers like my husband, you may have some trouble with typing.
Pressing the top two corners of the cover together to make a stand is what makes the Origami case unique from most other cases. Doing this gives you two options for viewing angles. The first of the two is the most functional, as it provides a wonderful viewing angle that you can easily type on, play games on, or just browse the web.
The other variation (which is also the final angle) is the horizontal version. When turned on its side, the case acts like most normal stand cases where you can watch movies and play games in landscape mode. I used the two Origami angles 99% of the time. (Note: You get a good view of the closure elastic in this photo.)
Good friend and fellow Gadgeteer, Dave Rees, offered to give me his views on the iPad mini version of the iHome Origami, which is offered for $34.99. Here are a few his thoughts and pictures:
Dave: iHome also sent an Origami case for the iPad mini. Since Ryan does not have one, she asked if I would take a look at it and provide a few comments. The Origami Vertical Smart Book Hard Back Case for iPad mini is nearly identical to its bigger sibling. The case is perfectly fitted for the iPad mini and has all the same cutouts and stand positions. I agree with Ryan in that the case is relatively minimalistic in its protection-factor. It will provide moderate protection from minor bumps and scuffs but little from anything major, like a drop or serious bump.
Unlike some thicker cases, the front flap does not get in the way while in use.
The front flap does hold the iPad mini in the traditional stand positions and the ‘origami’ modes as well. Although, the embedded magnets that hold the various configurations definitely could be stronger, the case/stand works as advertised. I found the upright orientations good for viewing websites and videos and the typing angles fine as well. Overall, I too believe that this case provides decent quality for a reasonable price.
Ryan: While I can see a few defects in the workmanship of the iHome Origami case, they are very minor and detract little from the overall look and feel. I’ve also taken into account the price of the case. At $39.99, I find the price and quality on par with other cases in this price range. Snapping the case on and taking the case off was quite a bit more difficult than usual, but it did fit securely. While the case is very lightweight, it may not provide ample protection. The true value of this case is being able to support your iPad vertically or horizontally. If you are someone who uses both of these angles regularly, then I would recommend giving this case a try.