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MacStories Product Review: Saddleback Leather iPad Case

The iPad case market is full of cheap faux leather folio stands, plastic shells, and silicone grips that don't quite do the beauty of the iPad justice. Face it: you want to spend your money on a case that's going to last you a lifetime whether or not your iPad itself is going to last that long. You want a case that's strong, hardy, and reflects the personality of its proud owner. If you've never heard of American bred Saddleback Leather, then you wouldn't know about their range of real leather laptop bags, backpacks, and iPad cases. It's probably the finest case I've handled to date, and I think you'll fall in love with it too after reading this review.

The Saddleback Leather iPad case is the case I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen with in public. It's worthy of my Dad's expectations (as a man who has an eye for finely made products), and the quality is undeniably sexy. A crowd favorite amongst the men and ladies I've conversed with, the Saddleback Leather iPad case is quick to turn heads. You don't even have to be an Apple enthusiast to appreciate the amount of genuine craftsmanship put into this product: I cannot emphasize enough that this case is something very special. You cannot get over how good this case feels in your hands.

Saddleback's case is made with 100% Full Grain Hypoallergenic tanned leather that's stitched with marine-grade Polyester UV resistant threading. Lined with pigskin (optionally suede) for added durability, Saddleback isn't screwing around with poor grade materials. Everything you get is real & hand chosen to survive the next world war. The case isn't just visually stunning to look at: it's the first and probably the only iPad case that you'll have to wear in. It's that feeling & that newness of real leather that speaks well to me: if you've ever strapped on a really good, brand new baseball glove, you'll know what I mean when I say that. There are no breakable parts on the case: forget zippers, buttons, clips, and poor construction. Even promised is a 100 year warranty: Saddleback isn't kidding when they say this case will outlast your time on Earth (give it to your grandkids they say).

Constructed on the case are two leather straps that wrap around the side and slide through two pairs of leather hooks that holds the cover over the iPad. In your first uses you may be afraid to damage the leather or otherwise wear the case as the leather straps leave impressions -- don't be. This case is designed to wear (let me repeat: it's real leather) and reflect your use over time. It'll be stiff, but after a couple weeks of use you'll forget about its initial stiff condition. The case loosens up as it wears in, and I'd even recommend flexing it a bit before initial use if you want a softer feel. It's appropriate to bend the case backwards and wear the spine in -- don't be afraid to "mishandle" the case as you would with any other product. It's perfect for Indiana Jones.

The case features everything you'd want in regards to accessibility. Saddleback has designed openings for the volume switch, the power button, the speaker ports, and even the ambient light sensor. Buyers may be turned off knowing that the home button is covered up, but you simply press the area above the dock connector. It may be a problem, however, if you want to access the multitasking bar. The leather is so thick, that pressing the home-button quickly becomes a slight issue. If you need to quickly pull your iPad in and out of the case, the downside of the Saddleback's unworn product is that the case's stiffness makes insertion and removal incredibly difficult at first. Once the iPad is in...it's really in. The trick? You can fit your whole hand around the iPad and underneath the leather that holds it in place. Pull it out slightly from the opening, then put your fingers down into back of the holding, pushing the iPad out from the inside. After a while this is completely unnecessary -- your iPad will slide in and out quite easily.

The Saddleback is tough enough to withstand the drops, bangs, and scuffs of daily life. It protects your iPad by absorbing the impact of the fall thanks to its rigid edges and thick protective border. The iPad, surrounded by its leather enclosing, feels substantial and well protected. With the total size of the iPad is nearly tripled in height the additional thickness could be a downside for iPad readers. Especially due to the hooks on the rear of the case, holding the leather folio with the front cover bent back could be uncomfortable. While you feel like you can take this case anywhere and never have to worry about anything happening to your iPad, the size of the case can make it cumbersome to hold casually.

I've used this case everyday since it arrived at my front door. It's really definitive of what a good product should be: hardy, authentic, and highlights both you and your iPad. Saddleback's Leather iPad case is highly recommended if you're in the market for a leather case, and Saddleback alternatively sells a sleeve that I haven't tested, but I'm positive it is of the same quality. While thick, the stunning design of Saddleback's case comes in four colors. It isn't cheap at a $104.00, but it is one the finest iPad cases I've had the pleasure of using.

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