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May 16 2012

Portenzo iPad Case Review

Books, pen and paper, typesetting and ink. They are all on a long, slow death spiral. Traditional publishing is on a collision course with the e-universe that seems fated to end in a fatal spray of fonts and kerning.

Ergo, book binding with its requisite physical trappings of paper and cloth is on a similar path to extinction.

Au contraire, mon frere! Or, at least no one has told the fine folks at Portenzo yet.

They continue to practice the age-old craft of book binding as a very practical art form.

They will custom make a case for your iPad or e-book in the loving tradition of book binders gone by. Something about those very organic materials wrapped around a photonic brick of glass and aluminum is very pleasing in its complement and contrast.

I have been carrying around one of their Book Bound Custom Cases for my iPad for a while now. People that I associate with know about my bag and case addiction so they occasionally ask me what I am carrying.

Until this, I have never had so many people ask me about a product. They don’t limit themselves to asking either. They want to hold the case. They want to touch and stroke it in ways that I find highly inappropriate. It is a little creepy.

I hate them.

Well, that might be a touch strong. Loathe maybe. Definitely strongly dislike.

In any case, I don’t want them touching my Portenzo. It’s MINE!

The version I chose had Black Levant imitation leather with a dark green interior and a stark white elastic. The materials are lovely and the construction techniques are impeccable.

The iPad rests in a cradle of hand sanded American maple. It is glued together in layers to give the look of pages when the case is closed. There are cut outs for the headphone jack, volume rocker and mute switch and sync port. There is a chamber that the speaker rests on that channels the audio up toward you. This does result in a volume boost and a little better low frequency response but it also emphasizes mid-range frequencies making the sound a touch nasal.

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The iPad drops into the cradle and is held in place by silicon pads at each corner. The hold is very secure. In fact, it is a bit of a struggle to remove the iPad, but I much prefer that to it popping out and sliding across the asphalt.

I opted for a camera cut out option although I may never actually take a picture with my iPad in the case. I at least want the opportunity! The elastic closure goes right across the camera hole keeping dust and detritus out. This is a nice example of the thought that goes into a Portenzo case.

The case cover has the magnets in place to give it Smart Cover functionality so there is no cut out for the power switch. They also threw in a nice polishing cloth that I have hiding behind my iPad in case of a fingerprint emergency.

While I passed on this, you also have the option of adding a stylus compartment to the case. This appears to add about a half-inch of width to the case. Strangely, since I have deleted Drawsomething off my iPad I have much less interest in a stylus.

The Intellistand option gives you a couple of different angles for display and it actually works very well if you are using a BT keyboard with the iPad. The first picture shows it canted back about 27 degrees and the second picture shows it at a right angle with the cover. There is also a midway position of about 19 degrees that it will naturally fall into.

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My only complaint on the stand functions of the Portenzo are setting it up to type on the glass. Because it only elevates the case the thickness of the “book” it is a pretty flat surface. I like a bit more angle on the iPad when using it this way to minimize glare and make it easier to type. This is pretty minor quibble generated from my borderline OCD characteristics.

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Conclusions:

Portenzo is making a really beautiful case here in the US that begs to be touched. If you want something a bit more extreme they will make you a range of them from the coy Composition book case, to the Wingtip and even real exotic leathers. Stingray anyone? It is worth dropping them an email to find out how crazy the custom options can get.

Portenzo makes a truly beautiful case with a plethora of options. Like a fine restaurant, they do not make your case until you order it so there may be a delay in delivery.

However, patience is a virtue and good things definitely come to those who wait. The Portenzo book cases are definitely worth the wait. Protection, elegance and handmade style add up to a classic that should prove to be timeless.

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Portenzo Cases run from $59.95 to about $150 depending on style and options. Price as reviewed is $84.85.

Also, for a chance to win one at no charge, hop by their Facebook page and click that LIKE button for them.

Of course if you are on FB anyway and are handing out likes…RestlessTech. 😉

Portenzo Cases

2 comments

1 ping

  1. Lxcellent

    I just received my portenzo yesterday. Question: I have the same color combo with intellistand and the magnet closure option with no band. However, my wood frame is fully cutout unlike your frame which is only half cut out. Do you have any idea why there is a difference?

  2. Jeff Mac

    When I asked them about the odd shape of the cutout they said it was for the band to be anchored to, so it sounds like that might be the difference.

    I am really just hypothesizing…sorry I don’t have better info for you on that.

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    […] at Portenzo had a great option for me: their Book Case for the Nexus 7. I reviewed one of their iPad cases earlier this year so I was excited to see what they had worked up for the Nexus 7.The irony of it […]

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