We are huge fans of companies that take the time to thoughtfully design beautiful, elegant and functional device accessories. We’re even bigger fans, however, of those companies who take the time to thoughtfully designed beautiful, elegant and functional device accessories and then are open to going back and further refining their product even after it is out on the market; that is exactly what happened with the Powis iCase for the first-generation iPad.
Judie received one of the early samples of this incredibly functional case at the end of 2010. She began the review and then was notified by the company that they had made a few small, subtle changes to the design to make it even better. Here’s the thing – if you look at the first design, you’ll find that it’s beautiful, elegant and incredibly useful. You will, in fact, discover that it’s very hard to find any real issues with it at all. And if you place that case next to one of the updated cases, you will be hard-pressed to see the difference because the changes the company made are so subtle that they don’t jump out at you. The thing is that unless you know where to look, you won’t find them. In short, the company made refinements to the case because they take pride in their products, NOT because customers requested or demanded such changes.
So let’s take a look at these impressive cases, and how they can be quite useful if you’re keeping your first-generation iPad or about to get a first-generation iPad on the cheap. At the end of this review, we’ll point out the main update that company did; keep watching the site because we’re going to give at least one of these cases away to one of our readers.
So here you see two of the case designs. The one on the left is the original case Judie was sent, and it is made from beautiful embossed leather; it screams LUXURY. The one on the right is one of the slightly updated versions; it is no slouch either. The case below is one of their non-leather, and therefore even less expensive models; it’s fashioned to look like a vintage pulp fiction cover.
And these are just three of the many choices available. The Powis iCase is available in a wide array of designs and materials, so if you’re someone who likes choice when purchasing a product you are going to love shopping with this company!
Here’s how they describe the case:
Powis iCase offers protection that is worthy of your iPad. It maintains the iPad’s sleek design, weight and size while providing a stylish iPad cover of your choosing.
Fingerprints and smudges on your iPad? Not when you have Powis iCase. It comes with a handy microfiber wipe cloth in a secret storage place.
Powis iCase offers a snap in frame to hold your iPad securely in place. Simply push down on the top edges to pop out your iPad (but why would your iPad ever leave?).
Wish you had a place in your iPad case to store a few business cards? Well, wish no more. Powis iCase comes with a convenient business card pocket.
The movable hand strap on your Powis iCase provides secure closure and carry. Take your iPad anywhere and know that it will never fall out of your grasp!
Powis iCase has the environment in mind! Fiber content of our handcrafted leather is 100% recycled cowhide fibers. All cases are constructed with 100% recycled board.
While measurements may vary slightly depending upon the material used to create a particular case, approximate measurements are 10″ tall x 8″ wide x 1″ thick when closed. Opened, the iCase measures about 16″ wide.
One of the things the company highlights with regard to this case is the fact that it offers a number of viewing angles. Okay, to say “a number of viewing angles” is actually a bit of an understatement. This case offers nine different angles for viewing, as explained by the company.
We’ve counted 9 positions but you may find even more! Whether you are watching a movie, playing a game, typing emails, presenting to a colleague, or surfing the web, our iPad case will secure your iPad in the most comfortable position for your activity.
Watching a movie
Playing a game
Following a recipe
Searching the web
Presenting to a customer
Checking sports scores
Running your favorite app
While some iPad cases simply allow you to slip the iPad into a sleeved area, or use corner straps to secure it in place, this case has a rigid plastic frame that grabs each of the four corners of the device. While it might seem self-evident how you would put the device into the case and remove it, the company includes a card that visually depicts the process. This helps ensure that someone who just purchased the case won’t be nervous about damaging the device (or the case) the first few times that they use it. The fact is, we both discovered that the case holds the iPad securely, but that initially it was a little bit rigid and difficult to snap the iPad in. Over time the fasteners have loosened up enough that the case is easy to use but no less secure.
As iPad cases go, this is one of the more sophisticated mechanisms for holding the device. The combination of rich leather or fabric and the interior plastic shell for holding the iPad is quite a contrast when you first look inside.
As you can see in this photograph the corners are held securely, and the interior corners having additional tabs that allow you to press down and release the iPad when you want to take it out.
You’ll find all of the typical cutouts so that the controls, the dock connector and the speaker are fully accessible.
This rather odd piece of loose plastic wrapped with a soft cloth is actually a unique design element that allows you to hold a screen cleaning cloth in the case and have it available to you whenever your fingerprints begin to annoy and make your iPad look – well quite frankly – disgusting. (And we should know!!)
When not in use it simply snaps into place and sits behind the iPad hidden from view.
Again, it’s the little touches like this that makes this case so interesting and worth consideration.
When the iPad is in the case it sits securely and the screen is completely and totally accessible. Of all of the mechanisms for securing the iPad in place this is one of the most effective and useful we’ve seen.
Along the left-hand side of the case you’ll see a hard plastic edges running the length of the case itself. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps the edge of the case strong, rigid, and protected. Second, because it is open at the interior side it gives you a place to put business cards or a few pieces of note paper that might come in handy during your workday. We have seen a number of cases that allow you to hold both the iPad and a pad of paper, but Judie and I far prefer this approach which doesn’t look like it is intended for combining high-tech and dead trees but lets you do just that.
As noted, when the iPad is in the case the screen is completely accessible, and both the dock connector and speaker are fully open. This is a case that doesn’t detract from the iPad’s usability in the least.
Here’s a side view. Considering the holding mechanism, it is rather impressive just how thin this case is.
A close-up shot of the lower left corner … and a reminder of why using the screen cleaning cloth is such a good idea! 🙂 The triangle of plastic is the tab that is used to release the iPad from the case.
And this is the view of one of the upper corners.
While this case comes in a variety beautiful rich leathers or a variety of high quality fabrics and other materials, its claim to fame is the wide assortment of viewing angles it offers — made possible by the unique mechanism on the case’s back.
An oval of plastic is embedded in the back of each case; when closed it lies perfectly flush.
Lift it up however, and you’ll discover how many ways this can be used. There is a large plastic ring that can hinge up and out –
And a smaller oval of plastic that can then hinge out as well.
Don’t let the pictures fool you, this is not a delicate mechanism in the least. These cases and their mechanisms will easily handle a good deal of use and, we daresay, abuse. Sure, if you open up the mechanism and press down hard, you might be able to snap the plastic; in regular use we have no concern about it being useful for an extended period.
One angle gives you a nice shallow viewing angle for watching something while you are above the iPad.
As you can see in this picture ,that’s accomplished by opening the large outer oval and then pushing forward the smaller interior oval until it clicks into place.
The iPad is quite secure, and it is a pleasure to use in this position.
Here’s another view of how that set up would look.
The mechanism works quite well overall, but we should point out that there were a few occasions when the plastic slipped free and the iPad fell into a horizontal position.
In all there are at least nine different viewing angles that the case can be put into and all of them are demonstrated on the company website.
Before we give some conclusions and wrap up this review, let’s revisit the point we made at the beginning: We’re always impressed by companies that take the time to go back and to do small refinements on their products, even if customers aren’t demanding them. That is the case here. We couldn’t see the difference between the two cases until we read the literature that was included with the newer version.
It was then that we discovered that the company had begun using slightly thicker board for the case itself. As you can see, the lower (older) case has a little bit thinner cover than the newer case above it. Don’t misunderstand us, however, the original version was plenty strong and plenty rigid, but the company clearly wanted to do something even more.
Here’s an even better look of the thinner original case versus the slightly thicker updated model.
And one final picture of the two cases which allows you to see the quality, fit and finish of both, as well as the personalization on the first case Judie received.
This is a luxury case. There’s no question about that. Yet it’s a luxury case that you can purchase for as little as $49.95. The wide range of materials and designs is a fantastic way to carry your iPad in a case that’s unique to you. And because the company will add your personal logo or emboss your name or company information in it, you can go as unique as you want when purchasing one of these.
Due to the combination of a heavy-duty case and an interior shell used for holding the iPad, this case is certainly not the thinnest we’ve seen or used. But the trade-off for the case’s added bulk is that you get a case that securely holds the iPad without obscuring any part of the screen, a case that keeps a screen cloth handy at all times, and a case that offers a large number of viewing angles. The Powis iCase is a quality product, and it is something that anyone would be proud to carry their iPad in.
Information, material choices, and other options can be found on the Powis web site.
MSRP: leather covers are $79.95; patterns and “book covers” are $49.95; personalization is $9.95 more
What We like: Powis offers a huge number of options with regard to material; for a small fee they will imprint your name or company logo to make it even more unique; the iCase holds the iPad securely with an unusual mechanism that offers a huge degree of confidence in its ability to protect the device; the iCase is not nearly as bulky as we might have expected, considering all of the features it offers; the iCase is priced well for what it offers; the iCase’s unusual back mechanism provides a wide number of viewing angles
What Needs Improvement: The iCase is certainly not the thinnest case available; there were a few times when we ran into a problem where the angled plate came loose and the iPad went from being at an angle to being flat on the table