iPad Accessory Review: the River Garden Oberon Design iPad Cover

Of all the cases that I tried when I was using the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX, there was one brand that always stood out — not only because their Kindle covers were functional, but because they were also absolutely gorgeous. Of course I am talking about the cases made by  Oberon Design, the California based company which is well known for their leather folios and journals … and now for their eReader covers. When I eventually let go of both Kindles because Kevin and I had purchased iPads, I knew that as soon as an Oberon style iPad Cover was available, I would want it. They are now available, and I have been testing a River Garden iPad Cover for a little bit over a month.

Now here’s the thing about Oberon covers that you need to know up front: they are substantial because they are composed of heavy uncoated bull-hide and because of that they can weigh up to a pound (!!). The iPad cover weighs 15 ounces on its own, and that is before you add the iPad. I’m going on about this because some people — I have Dan in mind as I write this — need or prefer a lighter case, and as much as they can appreciate the artistry and quality that goes into a product like this, using such a heavy case would fatigue them. If that sounds like you, then consider yourself warned.

As with the other two Oberon covers I’ve reviewed, the iPad’s ships with a charm that complements the cover hidden by the plain paper wrapper.

Peel back the wrapper, and my deeply embossed, rich red, made to order leather cover is revealed … now, tell me that this isn’t one of the most gorgeous covers you’ve ever seen! The iPad version is 10″ tall x 8.25” wide, and as I mentioned above, it weighs 15 ounces. A pewter button serves as the tab while a marine grade elastic forms the loop; an extra loop is included with every cover.


*Corner straps provide ‘shake & drop’ security.
*Cord & tab platform device for horizontal tabletop reading.
*Built in slanted surface for iPad keyboard use.
*Interior spine lined with top grain leather.
*Case easily folds & stays open.
*100% wool felt LED screen protector.
*Large side pockets & a small pocket for I.D. or cards.
*Matching Britannia Pewter button.
*Marine grade replaceable mini bungee cords (includes extra bungee).

Both sides of this design are deeply embossed, and the design not only looks good, it feels lovely under your fingertips.

Here’s the full design revealed when the cover is opened …

… And here is the inside of the case. On the left there is a ~4.5″ slash pocket and a felt liner which lies against the iPad’s screen when the cover is closed. On the right side there are a series of leather loops and an elastic loop which are used to secure each of the iPad’s corners.

There is a thin plastic insert on each side of the case which adds to the cover’s thickness and the protection offered. Because I like a floppier cover and because I feel that the case is thick enough without the inserts, I removed them before inserting the iPad.

The easiest way to insert the iPad into the loops is by placing the iPad in the bottom loops first, slip the upper leather loop over the left corner, and then pull the elastic loop over the remaining upper right corner.

Once in the case, the iPad is held securely and because of the leather overhand, there is excellent corner protection. This is the top of the iPad, and as you can see, there is access to the power button, the microphone and the earphone jack.

On the right side, there is still access to the volume rocker and the screen orientation lock.


And on the bottom the sync&charge port is left accessible as is the speaker.

One more feature worth mentioning is the self-stand system, which is accessed by pulling out the braided cable which is usually otherwise tucked behind the iPad. This cable is pulled from the right side of the iPad and hooked onto the leather half-circle tab on the left side of the cover. It’s a simple and effective stand for using the iPad in the horizontal viewing mode, but it is not going to work well for vertical viewing. If you never use this feature, you can simply keep the cable tucked in the pocket behind the iPad.

I use my iPad for nearly everything: it is my journal, my bookshelf, my document file, my email, my gaming device, and more! It is my constant companion, and keeping the iPad in such a functional and beautiful case as the Oberon Design iPad Cover is an absolute pleasure. If you want an iPad cover that looks like a gorgeous and highly tooled leather journal, then look no further.

The River Garden Oberon Design iPad Cover is available in red, saddle or sky blue, and you can purchase it directly from the manufacturer.

MSRP: $130.00

What I Like: Thick gorgeous leather cover that is deeply embossed with the design of your choosing and in a choice of vivid colors; case will stand for landscape-orientation viewing; iPad is securely held by leather and elastic straps; case offers corner and screen protection

What Needs Improvement: Some may find the case a bit too heavy for their liking … but not me; I love it.

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.