I basically gushed about Pad & Quill’s iPad 2 cases when I reviewed them in two years ago, so I was excited to get a pair of cases to review with my iPad Mini.
The Pad & Quill Graduate Collection
Pad & Quill’s Graduate Collection cases are bound like library editions of classic literature. When closed, that’s pretty much what it looks like — although if you look closely, you’ll see wood grain instead of trimmed pages. And not many library books have an elastic band holding them shut.
The bindery cloth is touch, and Pad & Quill claims it is much more durable than previous materials. It feels great in the hand, too — I just love to hold it.
The wood frame is a bit lower profile than the iPad 2 cases I tested. The rubber “bumpers” that hold the iPad Mini in place are slimmer, so the whole thing fits nice and tight, with the wood flush with the surface of the display. The “bookmark” makes it easy to get your iPad out, if you ever want to remove it.
The cover has an embedded magnet so that when you open the cover, your iPad switches on. There are spaces cut out of the wood for the iPad Mini’s speakers, volume buttons and mute switch (this is hard to access, though), headphone jack, rear microphone, and rear camera (which is covered by the elastic band when the case is closed).
The only part about the case that I really don’t like is the plastic “button” that passes through the wood to press the power switch. It sticks out too far — beyond the edge of the cover, in fact — which means it is easy to accidentally press. Even the elastic band can activate the switch.
On further testing, it’s not the button that is the problem. The wooden frame on my Graduate Collection case is just slightly misaligned with the cover, which means the magnet that triggers the wake/sleep function is just slightly misaligned. That means even light bumps will move the magnet and wake the iPad, so that I get the “click” sound of it going back to sleep. This does not happen with the Contega case I reviewed below. So it is a quality-control issue, which seems natural with any handmade product, and I’m confident Pad & Quill will stand behind their products in a case like this.
The other negative to the Graduate Collection cover is that it does not really offer a reliable way to incline the iPad Mini, either for more-comfortable typing or for video watching. Depending on the surface, you may be able to prop it up for video watching, but you might want the Contega for that, instead.
The Pad & Quill Contega
The Contega case is just a bit different than the Contega case I reviewed for the iPad 2. I thought the old case was just a bit too thick and heavy, but Pad & Quill have eliminated the bulk for the iPad Mini.
The Contega is identical to the Graduate Collection in all but two significant respects. First, the cover is bonded leather, which feels very lawyer-y (although I admit I prefer the Graduate Collection’s bindery cloth). Second, the inside of the cover has a groove that lets you prop up your iPad for convenient video watching, and the wood backing is beefed up so the cover can fold away from it.
Two Great iPad Mini Cases
Both the Graduate Collection and Contega are beautifully crafted cases for your iPad Mini. You can find cases with more functions, but none that look and feel better in your hand.
Between the two, I like the Graduate Collection better. The bindery cloth just feels better, to me, and I like the way it reminds me of library editions. I don’t watch a ton of video on my iPad Mini, so I don’t much miss the ability to prop up the screen.
But if you prefer the feel of leather-bound volumes like you might have in your own collection, or you want a cases that is easy to prop up for video watching, get the Contega.
Either way, though, you can’t really go wrong.