Gadling gear review: DODOcase for iPad 2

iPads, tablets, Kindles and other tablet devises are making it easier to carry around hundreds of books and the entire internet in slim, lightweight devices. That technology needs to be protected, and, with the DODOcase, you can do it while nostalgically remembering what it was like to carry around an actual notebook. Remember those halcyon days? But a good iPad case is defined by more than its aesthetics. It needs to be durable, useful for all types of everyday use and slim. I’ve had both generations of the iPad and tried out several cases. Is the DODOcase a winner or just a pretty face? I put it to the test.The DODOcase is made to look like a notebook. Specifically, it resembles the lovechild of a Moleskin and a hardcover book. A faux leather exterior is wrapped around hard-but-lightweight bamboo to create a hollow binding that houses the iPad 2. The tablet fits snugly – and more importantly, securely – thanks to small rubber pads in the corners and the cover is kept shut with an elastic band.

At eight ounces, the DODOcase is incredibly light and, at 10″ x 8″ x 1″, preserves the portability of the iPad.

So far, I’ve simply described a handsome, portable iPad case. Theoretically, that’s what any case should do. However, besides looking attractive, the DODOcase is functional. It’s resemblance to a notebook is about more than just looks. It keeps your iPad disguised from would-be thieves who are likely less interested in your journal than they would be in your expensive gadget. While you should never leave your iPad unattended, if it’s cloaked in the DODOcase, most passers-by (or, perhaps, people cleaning your empty hotel room) will have no idea that you’re toting around anything more than your sketches.

A useful case will also act as a stand, and the DODOcase does allow for that. However, this is the one area where the DODOcase struggles slightly. The binding on the case cam be folded backwards to operate as a stand in landscape mode, but the faux leather exterior has trouble gripping some smooth surfaces. By staying true to the aesthetic of a notebook, the makers of the DODOcase sacrificed functionality in this respect. I was able to get the DODOcase to stand on wood, marble and plastic surfaces, but, on a handful of occasions, it took me several minutes to do so.

The DODOcase is completely unable to act as a stand when in portrait mode.

Lastly, the DODOcase does block the back camera, but, quite frankly, I do not see that as a major concern. So long as the front camera is available – which, of course, it is – I can use FaceTime, my primary camera need when it comes to the iPad.

The price tag for the DODOcase will raise some eyebrows. $60 is not cheap for a case, but it’s durable, very sleek and made in the United States (specifically in San Francisco). The inability to efficiently work as a stand on all surfaces is a negative that cannot be ignored, however, it is not a deal-breaker.

The DODOcase is an excellent case for the iPad if you are looking for a fashionable exterior that is well-built and discreet. The issues with its ability to act as a stand are mitigated with minimal effort. If you’re looking for a case that doesn’t proclaim to the world that you’re a techie, the DODOcase is right for you.

The DODOcase is $59.95 and is available directly from the manufacturer and on Amazon (where you can often find it on sale).