Today we have a special Guest Post from Paul Westlake, a Photographer and iPad user we have followed on Twitter and Facebook for a while now. Paul has just taken delivery of the Marware Eco-Vue iPad case, so we asked him if he would let us know what he thought of it. Paul's review, posted on his Tumblr, has been reproduced below with his kind permission. Over to you Paul...
I rest my case, in search of an iPad case
As lovely a design as the iPad is, from the first time I took it out of the box, I knew I would need to protect it in some way…
Not just from the inevitable bumps and knocks when putting it down, but with two over-eager sub-6 year olds wanting to play with Dad’s ‘Big iPhone’ 24/7 I knew that I needed some sort of case to offer my pride and joy a little extra protection.
Both the Apple Store and PC had a very small range of cases at first - The majority of which were slip-in envelope style cases, which were fine for transporting the iPad from one location to the next, but offered zero protection when in use.
I wanted something that would protect the device both in transit and also when in use.
After a little searching, and some very positive reviews, I decided to go for an Eco-Vue for iPad case from Marware - However, it seemed like I wasn’t the only one, as finding one in stock in the UK (I believe they are also on back-order in the US) was next to impossible.
Amazon had them available for pre-order, so I placed an order with them (my ‘Prime’ account means that postage was free). The lead time was initially 4-5 weeks, which then moved back to 8 weeks at one point (although it actually arrived yesterday which was 5 weeks in the end). I paid £29 for mine, I see today they are available for £34.99
Compared to the Apple iPad Case
I knew I couldn’t wait 5 weeks with no protection, so I bought Apple’s case whist I was waiting for the Eco-Vue to arrive - As it turns out, this gave me an excellent ‘benchmark’ item to compare the Marware with.
The comparison between the two is like night and day… Remember that BOTH cases retail for £30 (although some Amazon marketplace sellers are selling the Marware for £55 + delivery, so be aware!).
I never really loved the Apple case to be honest - I thought the edges were not very well finished, I hated the fact that the cover material looked filthy all the time (a baby wipe cleans it up well by the way), but it was very slim, protected the back on the iPad, and made typing much easier.
Then the Eco-Vue arrived… Wow!
I am very much quality oriented, so paying a few £s more for a product doesn’t bother me if the quality of the product warrants it - As it turns out, the Marware WASN’T extra over the Apple Case.
The feeling of ‘quality’ is really important to me - I am using the iPad to show potential Wedding clients my Photo Portfolio… Having the iPad in a tatty (dirty) looking case doesn’t portray the initial impression I am after.
The Eco-Vue portrays a feeling of ‘Class and Quality’ - That’ll do for me!
The case has a very solid, durable feel to it and the workmanship is fantastic - From the initial embossed logo and stitching on the ‘sustainable’ leather exterior to the lovely ‘suede effect’ internals.
It is a really nicely engineered case - It’s fit is absolutely PERFECT. All the ports are accessible without even a hint of poor fit.
The iPad itself slips into the case from the top - It is then held in place by folding a strap over the top, which slips down behind the iPad.
I must admit I was sceptical as to how this would stop the device falling out it you tipped it on it’s end, but when testing (holding it upside down and shaking it!), I have seen no movement at all.
As a ‘belt and braces’ measure I have added a bit of velco to the inside of the case where the strap meets it - Perfect.
It is the little details that give you the impression that this was designed by someone who actually thought about how it would be used, (which is not always the case) for example;
The kick-out stand to raise the iPad for typing is ‘held’ in place when not needed by magnets - nice touch.
The addition of an elastic strap that you put your hand through when using in portraits mode - Gives you far more confidence that you aren’t going to drop the iPad.
As you can tell, I am more than happy with the case so far…
The case is ‘strong’ enough to support the iPad in Portrait and Landscape modes, which makes it great as a photo frame and for watching movies:
What would I change?
I wish it had a small pocket in which you could place a micro-fiber cleaning cloth or business cards, but that is a VERY minor thing.
It does add a fair bit of weight to the iPad - Personally I don’t mind this all that much, but should be something you should think about if you are considering the case.
When fitted, the case is about 1/3 thicker than the Apple Case - This does obviously offer more protection, but also makes the iPad look far more ‘bulky’.
Bottom line, if you want a perfect fitting, beautiful leather case that shows off your iPad to the fullest, this is the way to go.
For the same £30 you will spend on Apple’s own case, I think it is a no-brainer… I would even go as far to say even when I factor in buying the Apple Case as a ‘for now’ solution (essentially meaning the Marware has cost me £60), it would be worth it.
I know a number of resellers say they will have stock from the start of August - I suggest you get yourself on a waiting list now.
Paul is a Bedford based Professional Wedding/Portrait Photographer and Apple nut.
His background is working as a Training Consultant, which taught him how to deal with the most difficult part of being a Photographer... Influencing people with absolutely no authority!