Finding an appropriate case or cover for an iPad is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer the thin vinyl Smart Covers offered by Apple, which provide minimal protection, but also add minimal weight and heft. On the other end of the spectrum is the Pad & Quill cases, which are unapologetically large and solid.
The small Minneapolis company machines its cases out of birch and covers the outside with leather, creating a package that, very deliberately, looks like a bound book. We've seen at least three versions of this iPad case since the original iPad was released by Apple last year, and the latest is the $89 Contega.
It's especially pleasing to see a product so clearly evolve over the course of a few short generations. We liked tablet we'd seen to date. A second-generation was slimmer and had a better fit for the iPad, but still had a hard-to-use strap-and-snap closure., but with reservations. The original was just too heavy and thick, especially compared with the still-new original iPad, which was thinner and lighter than any
But this latest version of the Pad & Quill iPad case, the Contega for iPad 2, is the best yet, and the first we've used continuously on an iPad for weeks on end without feeling the need to swap it out for something else. The case design has shrunk a tiny bit with its revisions, and the current version measures 10.3 inches by 8.1 inches by 0.5 inch thick.
There are two major improvements to the design. First, it has a Smart-Cover-compatible magnet in the cover, which turns the iPad off and on, just as Apple's cover does. Second, the front panel now includes two long vertical grooves, which allow the case to stand at two different angles when rotated horizontally (as one would for video playback, for example).