A Case For Quality (Part 3) - StilGut – UltraSlim Case for the new iPad, Toffee – Premium Leather Folio for iPad 2/3

8/23/2012 4:29:16 AM

StilGut – UltraSlim Case for the new iPad

When they’re not busy bailing out other people’s banks, Germans are known for dabbling in a bit of engineering, and that skill is certainly in evidence here.

Other folio-style cases use a variety of sleeve, pocket and elastic arrangements to hold your iPad in place. StilGut’s own couverture case takes that approach to its logical conclusion, sheathing the whole bevel in leather so that only the screen itself (along with the cameras and ports, of course) is visible. It’s attractive and protective – and yours for €69.90, around $84.75, if it’s the kind of thing you like – but it wasn’t our favourite case from StilGut’s range.

Description: StilGut – UltraSlim Case for the new iPad

StilGut – UltraSlim Case for the new iPad

No, our pick is the UltraSlim case, because it pretty much does away with the whole iPad holder business. Through a combination of ingenuity and precision manufacturing, it manages to hold your iPad in complete security using just a curved backplate with tough plastic corners. You slide one edge of the iPad firmly into the embrace of the inner tabs, then thumb the outer ones onto the remaining corners until they click, and there you go. No messy flaps or straps.

The UltraSlim is finished in synthetic leather, but feels very classy. It closes neatly and puts the iPad to sleep using built-in magnets; do make sure you buy the correct version for your model, because although the iPad 2 and 3 are physically interchangeable, the wrong magnets cause weird phantom gestures. Ridges in the front panel allow the hinged back to prop the iPad in landscape at a choice of angles, the shallowest just about flat enough for comfortable typing.

Price: $76 inc VAT (sold in Euros at €59.90)


Best bit Slim, secure cradle

Wish list Real leather Das Urteil Ausgezeichnet

Toffee – Premium Leather Folio for iPad 2/3

This flip case has a simple but functional design. The outside is finished in real leather, with a firmly padded feel that put us in mind of a Chesterfield sofa in a gentleman’s club. Opening the front flap reveals that, behind a synthetic felt lining, it’s stiffened with a ridged series of inserts more reminiscent of a stab-proof vest.

Description: Toffee – Premium Leather Folio for iPad 2/3

Toffee – Premium Leather Folio for iPad 2/3

The back panel is where the clever stuff happens. It consists of two leaves, hinged two-thirds of the way across for reasons we’ll come to. The inner leaf incorporates a narrow leather pocket at the outer margin, into which you slide one edge of the iPad, which is then held in place by elastic corner straps at the opposite side. We were a bit concerned about the slenderness of the leather tails that join the iPad holder to the case, but the material seems tough enough to cope with this arguable weakness in the design.

Turn the Folio sideways, and you see the purpose of those ridges. With the front panel face down on your desk, the back panel pivots to allow the iPad to stand up, in landscape orientation, with its front edge tucked into whichever ridge holds it at the angle you prefer – from about 30° to almost vertical. This gives you more flexibility than many folios, and a bonus is that only the outside of the case comes into contact with other surfaces. When you’ve finished using the iPad, closing the case activates Smart Cover sleep.

The only task that isn’t well catered for is typing. None of the ridges really gives you a shallow enough angle. As with other folio designs, you can just fold the case in two with the iPad on top but this leaves it barely angled at all. The Toffee, however, has an advantage elsewhere. A broad elastic strap on the back is designed to fit around a car headrest for movie viewing on the move. It’s a great idea, though the strap felt slack for a while after using it this way.

Based in Australia, Toffee makes a wide range of iPad carriers. Besides the rather macho Folio, we tried the Girlier Pocket, a clutch bag that provides a soft pouch for your iPad and a lined outer pocket with compartments for credit cards and mobile phone. At the same price, in a softer leather, it’s also well worth considering.

Price: $101 inc VAT


Best bit Neat leather finish

Wish list Typing angle Gender Masculine

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