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Jan 07 2013

Oberon iPad Case Review

There seems to be a certain level of synchronicity in the discovery of new things. If I stumble on something amazing that I have never seen before, I often find it staring me in the face mere hours later.

Something similar happened to me with Oberon Designs, a California based company that practices artisan design in leather and pewter. Someone in a forum I frequent was raving about the quality and look of Oberon Designs iPad cases and they posted some pictures of one they had just gotten.

My eyebrows did their level best to hide in my receding hairline. They were indeed gorgeous…and I promptly forgot all about them.

Not too long after, I was being drug through a boutique by the bevy of females that I occupy a tiny corner of a house with. There in the back was a display of Oberon Designs journals, wallets and check-book covers.

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My eyebrows went up again and I found myself wishing I could put my hands on one of their iPad cases. I wanted to see if it was at the same level of polish as the smaller pieces I saw in the boutique (Matteo’s Jewelry inside of LaPosta Restaurant in Mesilla, NM if you are curious).

Well, one thing led to another and it wasn’t long before I found myself opening a package from them. Inside of it was one of their iPad Leather Covers all wrapped up in brown paper. Julie Andrews would have approved!

The first thing that hits you is that delicious aroma of good leather. I must not be the only one to love it since it is widely used as a descriptive for wine and cologne.

The Oberon just oozes craftsmanship. Great leather, nice stitching and the kind of loving care in setting out the designs that make you want to touch it. It is truly a piece of practical art. They have even gone to the effort of doing a version of the pattern on the spine of the case.

The case is held closed with a pewter clasp that you loop an elastic around which is attached to the back of the case. The pewter clasp also features a design. Mine had a smaller version of the celtic knot which was the focus of the case.

front

spine

back

They have a wide array of designs and colors to choose from with most of the focus being on Celtic and nature themes.

At about a quarter of an inch the leather is thick and chunky to give some protection to the iPad. All of the ports and switches are exposed for access so using the iPad in the case is not a problem and the case extends beyond the edges of the iPad to protect it if you should do the unthinkable and drop your iPad. As long as the case is latched closed it provides good protection to the tablet. If you drop it while the Oberon is open…well, I hope you have Apple Care!

The iPad is held in with three leather loops and a single elastic at the corners of the case. I was a bit skeptical of this at first but it is surprisingly stable. I did not try quite as hard to shake it out as they do in the video they posted (below) but I was very comfortable with the security of its hold. These loops are held on with rivets so they are not coming off anytime in the next decade. Even the bungies are marine grade so you can tell that Oberon did not skimp on any of the materials in these cases.

loop

loop and cable

open2

The inside of the case is fairly spartan. There is wool felt on the front of the case to protect the screen and a couple of slots at the bottom sized to hold business cards or small, flat knick knacks. There is an open space behind the flaps that would allow you to store some paper notes or a boarding pass but this is pretty minimal.

If you want to set the iPad up to watch videos or to use it with a keyboard, they have a system designed to do that without marring the beautiful outside of the case. You can actually see a cord in the picture above of the leather loops. That cord terminates just under the iPad where the bungie for the clasp is attached. You can reach under and pull it out and loop it around to connect to a leather flap on the inside of the case cover. This keeps the case locked into an “A” shape so it will stand up on its own.

tab

stand1

stand2

While this actually works well, it seems a bit kludgy to me. The cord gets stuffed back in the slot and you pull it in and out to set it up and put it away. There is enough friction that you can set the angle a bit, but it is the most stable at its full extension.

Conclusions:

A lot of time, love and thought went into the design of this case. This is high quality leather, not leather looking polyurethane. That means the longer you own it the more personality and patina it will take on.

This level of quality does come with a price tag attached. $126 may seem expensive for this case until you consider a couple of things.

The Oberon case is made of premium materials and it is assembled by hand in the USA. This is not a Chinese knockoff, this is art and it is produced by artisans that are being paid a fair wage inside of our fair country. To me, this is a significant benefit.

Also, because it is art, it stands out. An Oberon Designs case will draw looks and invite comment. If you are interested in making a statement about how you accessorize your tablet, this case says, “Yeah, this is my iPad, it deserves the best.”

So, do I love my Oberon Case? I would…but my wife appropriated it as soon as it came in the door and I don’t think I am getting it back!

Oberon iPad Cover $126.00

Oberon Design
1817 Empire Industrial Ct
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
sales@oberondesign.com
Local Phone: 707-570-3910
Local Fax: 707-570-3914
Toll Free Phone: 866-462-3766
Toll Free Fax: 877-406-5777

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