Review: Quirky Cloak case for the iPad

I (finally!) updated my site over the weekend and added my most recent iPad case review but hadn’t pointed it out here in my blog. The latest subject of my geeky scrutiny is the Quirky Cloak case for the iPad. You might recall that I did a video overview of this case when I first received it, and then I put it through its paces for the next couple of weeks to fully test it out to see how well it worked. And I’ll admit that I was completely relieved to finally be able to remove it from my iPad after that period.

I think the Cloak case is great in concept – it’s sturdy and protective and has some great built-in stand features. But it weighs a ton, nearly doubling the weight of the iPad itself. And it blocks the ambient light sensor, which is another significant negative for me.
The Cloak is currently on sale on Quirky’s site for $49.99, down from $54.99. If you’re looking for a very robust and protective case, the Cloak could still be a good choice for you even though it wasn’t for me. You can read my full written review of it here and see my video overview of it here.

Video Review: Portenzo Notebook case for the Apple iPad

Since the DODOcase, the first moleskine-style case for the iPad, was released earlier this year, a few companies have developed similar cases to bring a little competition to the table. Portenzo is one of these companies, making a case that looks almost exactly like the DODOcase along with offering other colors, options, and case styles to boot.

Portenzo was kind enough to send me a case to review and I chose their iPad Notebook case in a color combination that mimics that of the DODOcase and added one feature that is not an option with the DODOcase: a stylus holder (a $9.95 option). The Portenzo iPad Notebook case starts at $59.95 and you can choose from two exterior materials and 10 different interior colors at no additional charge. You can add engraving and/or a stylus holder for an additional charge.
In my video review, I go over the Portenzo case by itself first and then in the second half, I compare the Portenzo case to the DODOcase:


In case you’re curious, I shot and edited (using the iMovie app) this video entirely on my iPhone 4.
In the end, the Portenzo is a very good case that is a solid alternative to the DODOcase. I think they have a bit of an edge over the DODOcase with more color options in this case style at no additional charge, and a superb method of securing the iPad within the case. For me, there is one small difference that keeps me going back to my DODOcase – the width and sturdiness of the spine makes it better when propped on a table in front me me in landscape orientation. This is a matter of personal preference, though, so you should think about what features are most important to you and then make your choice if these two cases are on your shopping list.
If you’re looking for more information on the DODOcase, you can see my video review of it here and my full written review of it here.
DISCLOSURE: This case was provided to me at no charge as a review unit. The value of this case as ordered is $69.90.

Regrouping and my latest iPhone 4 accessory acquisition

I’m not dead. I’m still here. I swear. I know I haven’t posted here and a while and it’s not been intentional at all. I have this strange issue when it comes to my blog sometimes. When I’ve got a long list of things to do for work, family, and home, I tend to prioritize my blog at the bottom of that list since I do this primarily for fun. It’s never really been my intention to turn my site into something that generates regular income (I generally earn enough from ads and affiliate links to just barely cover hosting costs) and so I prioritize it accordingly despite the fact that I have ideas nearly every day about something I could blog about.

Anyway, I haven’t meant to abandon my site and will be working on posting more often. I do have several items in the queue, including the final written reviews for the Quirky Cloak and Vaja Agenda 2 cases for the iPad. I also have video reviews to prepare for the Portenzo iPad case plus other cases from Cimo USA.

I did get an iPhone 4 accessory last week that has been a bit exciting for me. I purchased a replacement metal back plate from cnn.cn. It looks like just like this:

Image courtesy of unplggd.com

It’s surprisingly well done and doesn’t look tacky, which is what I had been expecting frankly. It was very easy to install and I like how it changes the look of my iPhone without being too outlandish (I’d always missed the aluminum look of the first-generation iPhone). It hasn’t affected reception though since it doesn’t sit flush with the internals of the iPhone, it does obscure the camera a little (the top left corner of pictures taken in low lighting look a little darker). Still, not bad for $18 shipped.

In other news, I participated in my very first podcast over the weekend for everythingiCafe.com where I occasionally contribute instructional articles and am active in the forums. I’ll be sure to post a link when the podcast is available for download and your feedback is welcome! It’s an iPhone-related podcast, so be prepared for me in full Apple-nerd mode (though some would argue that that’s my only mode).

First Impressions Review: Vaja Agenda 2 Case for iPad

As I mentioned last week, my Vaja Agenda 2 case arrived recently and I’ve now spent a few days using it. I recorded a video today going over the case and my initial impressions of it:

(A quick note on the video – I meant to say “sleep/wake switch” instead of “home button” when showing the top of the iPad in the case.)
This is one of my longer videos at just under 10 minutes (I am nothing but thorough when it comes to a $200+ accessory, it seems) and I recorded it using my iPhone 4. I actually think it looks better than the other videos I’ve shot using my husband’s Flip Mino HD and I’ll probably keep using it unless my iPhone 4 is the subject of the video, of course.
In short, I have already grown to love this Vaja case. It’s well-designed and absolutely gorgeous. It has a few minor issues and is incredibly expensive, on the other hand. So far, I’m quite glad I got this case and it is most thoroughly edging out my DODOcase as my favorite.
I do plan on writing a full review of this case after I’ve spent more time with it, so stay tuned. If there’s anything you want me to cover in the review or if you just have any questions about it in the meantime, email me at marianne@macgirl.net or use the contact form here.

Just In: Vaja Agenda 2 for iPad

I am far too excited about this case and wanted to do a quick blog post about it. The Vaja Agenda 2 case I ordered in early August arrived today and it is absolutely fantastic. I do plan to make a first impressions video of it soon (over the weekend at this rate) so you can see more of it shortly.

Vaja Agenda 2
I ordered it in black and red. The outside is Vaja’s standard grained floater leather and the inside is a smoother red leather stamped all over with the Vaja name. Like Vaja’s iVolution line, the iPad “pops” into a leather-covered plastic frame and is held securely without anything obscuring the screen, buttons, or ports. It’s a book-style case with nothing holding the cover closed.

In terms of functionality, it’s essentially a leather version of Apple’s own iPad case. A far more expensive, luxurious, and nicer smelling version, that is. (Why is the scent of tanned dead cow skin so wonderful? There must be something wrong with me.)

Like Apple’s case, it has a tab on the back that the front cover slides into to stand it up in landscape orientation for movie watching or place it at an angle for bettering typing/viewing on a table or your lap. Unlike the Apple case, the Agenda 2 is padded and offers more protection overall without adding too much bulk. I loved the functionality of the Apple case but hated the material out of which it was made – it showed dust and lint far too easily and felt like it offered no drop protection at all. The Vaja case is looking to be a perfect, higher-quality substitute for me.
Stay tuned for my video and review coming soon!
In case you’re wondering, I still love my DODOcase. However, the Agenda 2 appears to have the features and style to unseat it as the King of iPad Cases in my small collection.