There aren’t many materials that are more long-lasting, beautiful or more protective than thick, full grain leather; Saddleback Leather Company is one of the few companies who takes advantage of that fact. I recently received their iPad Sleeve / Large Gadget Pouch, and have since had a chance to put it under the microscope (figuratively, of course).
Opening the sleeve, I was immediately impressed by its lovely appearance and the smell of its thick leather. The sleeve measures 8 ¾” wide x 10 3/8″tall when lying flat, but according to Saddleback, you “can fit a large grapefruit inside.” The even, double row stitching (done with industrial grade marine thread) is beautifully in a slightly lighter brown, so it has a nice contrast without being too flashy.
This thread is typically used for sails, tires, work boots, and other heavy-duty applications where extreme strength and durability is required.
The Saddleback Leather logo is a little bit more prominent than I prefer, but at least it is tastefully done. Colors the sleeve comes in include Chestnut, Tobacco Brown, Carbon Black, and Dark Coffee Brown — which is what you see, here.
Because this is the tough top layer of the cow, it has the fine natural pores to receive the colors and oils from being touched and used. That’s why Full Grain leather gets more and more beautiful with age. Most other leathers have the top layer shaved or sanded off and painted. They look pretty, but don’t age well.
This case is composed on a single piece of thick leather which has been folded in two to create a pouch; the interior is lined in pigskin. The near 1/2″ seam on the sides creates a buffering shock absorber in the case of falls, and for the bottom Saddleback has added a “3mm thick strip of Neoprene between the leather and pigskin for even more protective padding.”
An iPad with a screen protector and adhesive back skin will fit perfectly inside the sleeve, but if it were just a few millimeters larger, then the iPad with a thin shell installed — one like the Izozzi Larry recently reviewed — would fit perfectly inside. I did try putting Kevin’s iPad with Izozzi installed into the sleeve, and it took a bit of patient pulling (and under-my-breath muttering) to get it out safely. Because of the way that leather will stretch over time, it is likely that if I continue to try inserting and removing his “shelled” iPad, it will soon fit perfectly inside, much the same way a gun pouch will eventually mold to and perfectly fit an inserted pistol.
The Saddleback iPad Sleeve is absolutely beautiful in its simplicity; it’s not pretentious, but it screams “quality”. The sleeve can be used to hold you iPad, but it can also be used to hold “receipts, cameras, papers, power supply and miscellaneous doo-dads.” probably the most amazing thing about th Saddleback Leather Company iPad Sleeve, beyond how nice it looks and how protective it is, is its 100 year warranty … seriously. On the Saddleback website they say, “If the this pouch falls apart sometime in the next 100 years, have your great grandchildren talk to my great grandchildren and we’ll send you a new one.”
That’s hard to beat!
What I Like: The quality and thickness of the leather; the perfect precision of the double stitched rows; the protective shell formed around your iPad when it is in this sleeve
What Needs Improvement: The logo is a bit larger than I prefer