Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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May 20, 2010 • Reviews

Sena Folio for Apple iPad Review

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My search for the perfect iPad case came to an abrupt halt last week when I realized that, more than with any other device i have used, the “right” case for the iPad is going to depend on how you use the device and what you are doing with it at that moment. For example, if I am watching a movie on the iPad I want a case with an integrated stand. If I am on the go with it I want a case with built in screen protection while if I am leaving it on the coffee table I will likely want something that leaves the screen open and accessible. There is no “perfect” iPad case but for the way I am using the iPad the Sena Folio I have been reviewing is pretty close to perfect.

Let’s take a look.

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From Sena-

The Folio is the perfect accessory to add sophisticated style to your iPad. This leather portfolio book design is comprised of premium leather providing a soft layer to gently protect your iPad. The integrated recessed collapsible back stand allows you to watch videos while in case. Offered in classic genuine leather, the Folio is perfect for any sophisticated setting. The secure flap with snap closure provides a snug fit to your iPad. Its rigid protective layer reinforces additional backbone support for durability. It is individually handcrafted from the finest genuine Napa leather with Sena’s well-known quality and strong attention to detail. The Folio offers protective functionality with a sophisticated designer style.

Features–

Leather book style side-folding design
Integrated recessed collapsible back stand
Use iPad while in case
Watch videos while in case
Soft velvet lining with light protective layer
Multiple credit card pockets
Transparent ID card pocket slot
Checkbook pocket slot
Cutouts for play-thru functionality
Charge/sync port opening
Secure strap with snap closure
Easy device access
Sena craftsmanship and quality

My Take-

The Sena Folio for iPad is typical Sena. The leather is gorgeous. Seriously, it is soft, unmarred (impressive in a natural product which is, by definition, imperfect) and even smells like the high-quality leather it is right out of the box. The construction of the review case was flawless. There was not a single loose thread, crooked seam or missed stitch. And the design… well we’ll get to that but in a word it is awesome.

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As the name indicates, the case is a folio style case. I like the design of a folio since it offers built-in screen protection and looks a bit more professional than other designs. Since I am using my iPad for work I like the way the design and the leather combine to make this look more work-oriented.

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The case is held closed by a snap that wraps around the case and secures it tightly.

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When closed the snap gives a nice, neat look to the case. And it ensures the iPad won’t slip out!

I did find the snap a bit difficult to line up and close at first but as the leather has worn in a bit this has become a bit easier.

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The lower right side of the case has the company name embossed into the leather. I usually don’t like company logo’s on my cases but this is done so tastefully that it doesn’t both me in the least.

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If you look at the back of the case you will see that the leather tab that keeps the case closed is much longer than you might otherwise expect. This is because it has an additional snap hidden on the back. When unsnapped…

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…the tab becomes a stand that holds the device at the perfect angle for reading the NYTimes… or watching YouTube videos. (Hey, the case makes the iPad look like a work device but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use the iPad for fun!)

The angle is perfect for viewing content but, unfortunately, it does not have a second, shallower angle that sets the case at a good typing angle the way the Apple case does. It is a small complaint but it is something I loved about the Apple case that I am missing a bit.

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The interior of the case has some nice details that you might miss at first since they are not “highlighted” by any kind of border. There is an ID card slot, a number of credit card pockets and a pocket for a checkbook.

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Personally I can’t see myself using it other than to put my ID information in the clear ID pocket but it is nice to ave the option to slip some paper into the case if need be.

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The “business” side of the case holds the iPad in place.

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The iPad simply slips in from the side and is held in by the leather that surrounds it on all sides.

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I have a Clear-Coat on my iPad (seriously I won’t use a device without “Clear-Coating” it first anymore!) and I had no issue sliding my iPad into the case.

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Once inside the case the iPad is secure thanks to the leather that surrounds the face of the iPad. Better still, I have found that the case doesn’t interfere with my using the device. This isn’t always the situation with cases that, at times, look good but limit functionality.

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The leather leaves room for the Home button which remains fully accessible.

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While you can’t use the keyboard dock or sync/charging dock while the iPad is in the case you can attach the sync/charging cable without removing the device. The speaker cutout leaves for the speaker.

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Similarly the cutout for the volume toggle and the screen orientation lock is precise…

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…as are the openings for the headphone jack and the microphone and the sleep button.

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Even with the case closed all of the ports remain fully accessible.

The case is great… but it is not without its issues. First, the Apple case has a strange piece of additional material close to the opening through which the iPad slides in. Once the iPad is inside this piece of material folds over the opening and gets tucked inside behind the iPad. This effectively closed the opening and ensures that the iPad won’t come out until you consciously choose for it to come out. Update, Sena has since updated the case and this is no longer an issue. An additional piece of leather secures the iPad inside.

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The Sena Folio has no such “flap” and, as a result, can slip out it you are not careful. This situation may be exacerbated by my having the iPad wrapped in Clear-Coat but regardless it is something to keep in mind. Deal breaker? No way. But worth knowing.

Second, the Apple case can hold the iPad at the perfect angle for typing in landscape. It is the best feature of the case. While the Sena Folio holds the iPad perfectly for viewing it has no such setup for typing. Yes, you can fold the case back on itself to raise it up a bit…

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but it is no where as good as the angle created by the Apple case. Moreover, when trying to type on the iPad while in the case you MUST fold the case back on itself. If you don’t the strap raises up part of the case and the iPad uncomfortably “rocks” while you type.

Let me be clear- these are minor complaints in an otherwise flawless case!

The bottom line is this- at $99.99 the Sena Folio for Apple iPad is far from inexpensive but for that $100 you get a leather case that is beautiful, function, offers awesome protection and is an absolute pleasure to use. I love this case and within a day of using the review unit gave my Apple case to a friend who had just received his iPad as an early Father’s Day gift. This is already my goto case. I love knowing that my iPad is well protected when it is inside. I love the way it looks and feels. And I am just enjoying carrying my iPad with me even more now that I have something this nice… and this functional… to carry it in.

The Sena Folio has an MSRP of $99.99 and can be purchased directly from Sena. It is available in Black, Red and Brown.

What I Like:

Beautiful, great leather, great design, great build-quality, perfect cutouts, leather tab and snap hold the case closed and create a perfect viewing, iPad nicely protected while inside the case, one of those cases that is just a pleasure to use!

What Needs Improvement:

Snap can be hard to line up at first (it gets better), opening through which the iPad slides into the case remains open and potential lets the iPad slide out, no way to use the case to create a good typing angle without propping it up

Best Use Case scenarios

This is a case for someone who carries their iPad with them and will likely use it in a more professional setting. It looks good, offers good protection and makes the iPad look more like a work device than most other cases. It is also a case for people who appreciate great craftsmanship and high quality leather device cases.

8 Responses to " Sena Folio for Apple iPad Review "

  1. geardiary: Sena Folio for Apple iPad- iPad Case Review $AAPL – http://bit.ly/bHE7aU

  2. Larry King says:

    Sena Folio for Apple iPad- iPad Case Review | Gear Diary http://bit.ly/9tHJ1D #iPad

  3. Sena Folio for Apple iPad- iPad Case Review | Gear Diary http://ht.ly/17rCgy

  4. Sena Folio for Apple iPad- iPad Case Review | Gear Diary: My search for the perfect iPad case came to an abrupt ha… http://bit.ly/9tHJ1D

  5. Larry Greenberg says:

    Last weekend I stumbled across one of these cases at the Apple store in Soho (NYC.) I immediately snatched it up because Dan spoke so highly of it. I didn’t even bother opening it until I got home. Wow am I impressed. First off, it’s plain gorgeous. Secondly the iPad fits inside perfectly. Finally, it doesn’t add much bulk but feels as though there’s enough to protect the iPad. I simply love it and it’s quickly become my case of choice.

  6. Sena Folio for Apple iPad… an Update to My Review  » App Sensei says:

    […] love the Sena Folio iPad case I reviewed back in May. Larry does too! He recently picked one up and […]

  7. […] case (although it’s so much nicer than Apple’s offering!), and t is only $10 less than Sena’s Folio for iPad — and the Folio is 100% leather. That may make it a hard sell for some, but for that $89.99 […]

  8. […] love the Sena Folio iPad case I reviewed back in May. Larry does too! He recently picked one up and […]

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