ZooGue Smart Case for the iPad

June 30, 2010

I have followed the journey of Tim Angel for months, ever since his story was posted on a Mac forum I frequent. His goals are that of many inventors, and start up business owners out there, only this man has taken it beyond a dream, he actually put all his time and savings into an idea. What makes this story unique, is that he has archived his entire story on youtube, from beginning through now. He moved to China for months to oversee the production of his product. He’s posted his visits to a Chinese hospital… It’s been quite fascinating to watch his struggle, and I found myself cheering him on, wanting to see the underdog win, and admiring his drive, dedication to his dream, and the enormous set of balls to actually put everything on the line for his company.

So, reaching out to Tim, he was kind enough to send me out a Smart Case to review, and I have to tell you, this has no impact what so ever on my thoughts, and opinion of this case. So, without any other boring text from me, here’s what I think…

I will start with the very basic, the packaging. Right off the bat, you realize from the box the case sits in, this is going to be quality. The box is thick, with a magnetic clasp in the front holding the lid closed, and the images are printed in full color on the box. Hell, the box alone is so nice, I may try to find another use for this.

Once you open the box, your nose get’s slammed with the scent of leather. Quality leather. Being a metal head, I own several leather motor cycle jackets and vests, and I love quality leather. This surprised me. Most cases other then a company like Vaja, uses second grade materials. Not ZooGue. This is top notch, and you’ll know from the small.

The build quality of this case is superb. Every stitch is dead straight, with no loose strings hanging anywhere. The leather is soft, and clean without blemish. The inside of the case is very soft, and will not hurt your ipad in any way, quite the opposite. It feels like a very solid, well made, quality piece. I can only attribute this to Tim living in China, and overseeing the detail. This feels like a labor of love, and we get to reap the benefit of that.

Putting the ipad in the case, the first thing you notice is how nicely the ipad fits into the case. Unlike the Apple case, which makes it almost impossible to easily put your ipad in and out of the case, the ZooGue Smart Case is made to easily slide the ipad in and out. (That’s what she said.) There is a small leather strap and snap on the top, to lock in the ipad to the case. All of the openings are perfectly cut, giving access to all the ports, speaker, and volume controls. No issues there at all.

This is a folio style case, and when closed, the lid that covers the screen is solid, and protects the screen well. It closes flat, and when you open the lid, it folds all the around, also flat, so holding this case in your hand, open or closed, is quite comfortable. the outside of the case has two strips of soft velcro. This is used for the Smart Case’s most unique feature, and what in my opinion, makes this case “smart.” There is a flap on the back of the case, which is also secured closed by velcro, and when opened, this flap can be positioned so the case doubles as a stand for the ipad, allowing the iPad to be set at almost any angle, for watching a movie, to typing. It’s a fantastic feature and at first, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it, and it turns out, I use it a lot. I use it so much, my wife is now jealous, and keeps demanding me to give her this case when i’m done with this review… I don’t think I want to take this off, so Mr. Angel will be getting business from me after all. I need to buy one for my wife!

You’ll love the fine details, like the elastic strap which serves several purposes. Holding the case closed, securing the case to a head rest in a car for the kids in the back seat, holding the lid back while the iPad is opened and in use, and a strap to put your hand through while holding the iPad. Don’t overlook the small detail, like the indent in the leather, where the strap rests so the case sill lay flat on a table… It’s all been thought of here. Sitting on countless airplanes, vans, and tour buses, this is something I will use all the time.

Are there cons? Sure. I have a couple things I personally would change on future editions. The dock connector port needs to be opened up wider, so the camera kit will sit flush. As it is, the camera kit will work, but doesn’t lock in. I would also like to see the lip around the screen a bit smaller. Right now, it comes to the edge of the viewing area. This makes it difficult to do anything that you need to tap or scroll near the edge. I’m also concerned on how well the elastic strap will hold up over time. Elastic looses it’s elasticity over time, so this could happen if you use the strap a lot. Time will tell.

I know from reading the forums, Mr. Angel has taken some grief from forum regulars about the size and placement of the companies logos on the case. I have to be honest, seeing photos, it bothered me. Once I got this in my hand, I don’t notice it as much, mostly because I’m so taken by the quality and workmanship of this case. Could they be smaller? Sure they could. Will it stop people from buying this case? Yeah, I’m sure for some people will be bothered by this. I myself, like plain looking cases, but I have to tell you, if I made something of this quality, I’d want my name all over it too. Those who will overlook this case due to this… It’s your loss, trust me.

I HIGHLY recommend this case, in every way. I was happy with my Belkin Grip Vue, and didn’t think I’d ever need another case… Until ZooGue. I’m sold.

You can pick this up from http://www.ZooGue.com for $49.95