Saddleback Leather iPad Case Review

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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.

All the other buttons / features are accessible though. As you can see here, the volume and menu button have a cutout on the right side.

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!

Note: The links to Saddleback Leather Company on this page are affiliate links. If you use one of these links to make a purchase, we will earn a small percentage of the sale, so we appreciate it if you click through.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Saddleback Leather Company
  • Rugged construction
  • Protection
  • Play through
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Bulky
  • Leather covers the Home button

10 thoughts on “Saddleback Leather iPad Case Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I like the color of this Leather, I have the ZooGue Case and I have to say I highly recommend ZooGue it is the most functional iPad Case out there.

  3. I bought this the moment I saw the announcement on your site. I agree with everything you have said but I have one other con or negative:

    When used as a stand in the “typing position” (which is the way I use it all the time), I find that the iPad tends to slide out of the case. I am always pushing it back in as I use it. This will likely get worse over time as the leather softens. I also expect that the straps will soften as well, lowering the pitch of the iPad when using it on my lap.

    That said, I still think this is the best choice for people who like a solid case with rugged good looks and protection.

    1. @Louis Thanks for your comments. One question tho… Can you explain what you mean about using the stand in “typing position”? I’m guessing you mean a position other than the stand position pictured in the review?

  4. Yeah, I bought this when it first came out.This will go along with my large briefcase from Saddleback. The second best case is from Temple for $185.00 or so.Beefy products are always welcome in my hands. X

  5. By “typing position” I mean in the same configuration (front flap folded over the opposite way with the straps backward in the loops) as you show it in the “stand” position but tipped over so the angle of the iPad is 30 to 40 degrees. It’s just the right angle for typing but the place where the iPad slides in is at the bottom now so it slides out. Forgive my verbosity.

    1. @Louis Ok I understand now. Sorry about that… I’ll have to try it later today. I know my iPad won’t slide out of the holder because it takes considerable effort to remove it once it’s in there. But of course, like you said, the leather will soften and stretch after long term use.

  6. Purchased the I Pad case and it is great looking, sturdy and fits fine EXCEPT, the opening where the charging adapter plugs in is just a bit too small to accept the Apple camera connection kit SD reader. I need to remove the I Pad from the case to load photos from my SD cards.
    I contacted the Mfg. and they said did not know there was such an accessory.

  7. Your review of the messenger bag a couple of years ago led me to buy one the only bag I will ever need. Now, thanks to your review, I have made the choice to buy the iPad case.
    Thanks again for a great and helpful review.

  8. I reviewed my iPad3 in a tobacco brown case on another of your sites (that is, mentioning “Julie”) but it’s apparently different from this site.

    Bottome line, my iPad 3 fits perfectly, the openings are done perfectly, and it’s sturdy enough to throw in any other bag. Howwever, I usually carry it in very lightweight Tom Bihn Dyneema (like Spectra) shoulder bag, or in my Saddleback messenger bag.

    (The Dyneema pack weighs next to nothing, and the Saddleback iPad case handles the iPad 3 just fine, so for around town I just carry the Dyneema. With a few other essentials, and my Nikon 1 V1 cameral. A lightweight package. For other journeys, I stuff this pack in my messenger bag.)

    The iPad case for the iPad 3 is really exceptional. (To clarify, it’s the same as the iPad 2 case. The slightly greater width of the iPad 3 is no problem at all. As Dave says, leather stretches a little.)

    –Tim May, Corralitos, California

    1. @Tim You mean there’s another Julie reviewing gadgets and bags out there in the internets? Who knew? ;o) Thanks for sharing your impressions!

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