I see and evaluate a lot of cases and covers – both protective and designer (and occasionally both) – every year, primarily for the iPad but also for phones. Most are high quality and serve their intended purpose well but few really make me go “I want that”. The DODOcase Classic, for the iPad 2 and the 3rd generation iPad, is one of those exceptions.
The name and product itself play on the theme of extinction (or, more accurately, attempts to protect from extinction). The products use eco-friendly materials and the company “supports local” but the primary intention is to keep artisan bookbinders, whose skills are increasingly becoming irrelevant in our gadgetified e-book culture, employed and relevant by inventing new uses for their skills.
The cases comprises a black exterior of Moroccan cloth over boards and inside you will find linen in one of four colour options (red, sky blue, charcoal, or green). The case I was sent to evaluate is sky blue and I absolutely love the colour, which is somewhere between a cobalt blue and a blue teal. The tray is (presumably machine) carved from bamboo and there is an elasticised strap that you can either wrap around the ipad in the case or around the case when it’s closed. Each corner of the tray is protected with a piece of rubber so when the lid is shut no scraping wear and tear occurs on either the lid or the tray. The rubber pads also help to fit the iPad snugly in the tray and prevent its corners from scraping against the inside of the tray.
I tested the DODOcase Classic with an iPad 2 and most of the cutouts in the tray were suitable – you can access the headphone jack on top and the connector dock on the bottom. The speaker on the bottom is also unobstructed at the base (though of course the section that wraps to the back isn’t). There is a cutout on the right-hand side to give you access to the volume and lock buttons but due to the curve of the iPad 2 you can’t really reach them without lifting the iPad 2 slightly out of the case. The same is true of the power button on the top right.
However, I would argue that this case is designed more for stylish storage and transportation, not for in-case use, although the case lid can be folded completely backwards and underneath to allow for elevated typing (“Typing Mode”) or at an angle to make it easier to watch videos (“Perch Mode”).
The DODOcase Classic doesn’t feature a camera hole (some of the other cases in the range do by default) but I doubt that that would be an issue for most owners. However, if this is something that will bother you, you can pay an extra US$4.95 if you buy directly from the manufacturers and one will be added for you. You can also add monogramming or text in one of three places (spine, centre top, front), which will be stamped with hot foil in gold or black, at an extra cost of US$9.95 (monogram) or US$12.95 (free-form text).
This is a high-end case – you will pay a premium, though the price set by the local South African distributors (R600) is about the same as the price of a number of other iPad cases I’ve seen – but think of it as contributing to the preservation of some endangered skills.
For book lovers struggling with loss associated with the transition to electronic reading devices this is a beautiful compromise that should go some way to easing the conscience.
Images courtesy DODOcase