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).

Holiday gift guide for business travelers

If you like with someone who travels extensively for business, you know how chaotic life can be for them (and you, too). Any gifts that you give them that can simplify their lives and make their time on the road easier will be greatly appreciated. That said, business travelers – and most frequent travelers, for that matter – can be very particular about what they like and what gets left at home. If you’re planning on surprising the business traveler in your life with a gift this holiday season, be sure to read on before you spend a dime. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite travel gear that are sure to become part of your business travelers arsenal against road weariness. And, lest you think that such trinkets are sure to break the bank, rest assured that many of our suggestions are economical enough to be stocking stuffers.Franklin Covey USB Universal Charger

This little device lets you charge up to 10 gadgets with a single USB port. With plugs that fit most mobile phones (including iPhones, Android devices and Blackberries), you never have to worry about leaving one of your cables behind. Not bad for $15.95.

BlueLounge Cable Clips

Prefer to carry around all of those individual cords? At least keep them tidy with these clips. Available in small, medium and large, as well as a variety of colors, they keep your carry-on bag or briefcase from looking like an octopus graveyard. They’re perfect stocking stuffers for under $10.

Nau Shroud of Purrin Blazer

Looking for a big ticket item that’s worth the money, versatile and practical all at the same time? This is it. Nau’s Shroud of Purrin Blazer is formal enough to be part of your business attire, hip enough to be worn casually and made to keep you warm and dry wherever go. The top front pocket is slightly askew (fashionable!), but also has a both a snap and zipper, keeping things like passports, boarding passes and cellphones secure. The interior pocket is great for your wallet. Add to that an exterior that is wind resistant and water repellent along with a fleece-lined interior and you have the only jacket you need to bring on your business trip from spring through fall. That helps justify the $365 price tag. Available now directly from, um, Nau.


Time on the plane, in airports and at the hotel don’t need to be lost time. Nor do you need to spend every waking hour of your business trip working. You deserve a break to read a book, watch a movie or just play Angry Birds. That’s why you pack your iPad or Kindle when you travel, right? Well, those devices need to be protected and you might as well look good while doing it. DODOcases make your iPad or Kindle look like a notebook but, unlike the Moleskin version, it lacks a notepad, thus cutting down on the weight. The DODOcase for the iPad weighs a mere 8 ounces, while the DODOcase for the Kindle checks in at just 5.28 ounces. The DODOcase is $59.95 for the iPad and $49.95 for the Kindle.

Kensington Absolute Power Charger

We’ve been fans of Kensington chargers for a while now, but the Absolute Power might be the best one we’ve seen yet. Capable of charger a laptop and two USB devices, it packs 100 watts of power for all of your charging needs. It also comes with 10 adapters to fit most laptops (sadly, not Apple). It features a USB port and a mini USB port, along with a mini USB to USB adapter, as well. If you use your gadgets all day, backup power is a must. The Absolute Power is well worth the $100.

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive

This durable hard drive is built for travelers who don’t want to rely on “the cloud” to backup or store their data. This drive will drive will survive almost anything you throw at it. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB, 750GB and 1TB. Prices start at $108 on Amazon.

J.Crew Montague Leather Weekender

In past business travel gift guides, we’ve recommended rolling luggage. We recognize, however, that not everyone likes wheels on their bags (such as our esteemed editor-in-chief). As such, we saw fit to include a handsome, sophisticated and durable alternative to the classic roll-a-board. J.Crew’s Montague model features 82 liters of storage space, sleeves to organize your gear and a detachable shoulder strap. It’s built to last and easy to carry as you pass by everyone in the airport by dashing up the stairs. It’s available now for $475 at J.Crew.

Knomo Dundee Briefcase

A perfect carry-on will hold your computer and some paperwork, features a few pockets for organization and isn’t so big that you’re encourage to overpack. The Knomo Dundee does all of that while also featuring soft leather, magnetic closures on the pockets and including a detachable shoulder strap. It will fit up to a 17″ computer with just over 12L of storage space. The handle easily slips over the arm of your rolling luggage (we get it, some of you prefer wheels). It’s a handy bag for $295.