Twelve South BookBook for iPad mini Review

iPad Gear

We are huge fans of Twelve South’s products. The company has a relatively limited — but rapidly growing — portfolio, and their entire line is specifically designed with us Apple-fans in mind. A quick search on Gear Diary will reveal reviews of almost all of their lineup. One of the Twelve South offerings that has been among the biggest hit with us is the Twelve South BookBook line of MacBook and iOS device cases.

The BookBook line looks and feels like a classically bound book, but it protects your precious device. I reviewed the first version of the BookBook for iPad, but my father-in-law loved it; he stole it and has been using it ever since. Some time later the company released an updated version of the BookBook for iPad; it was thinner, sleeker and it impressed! (Read the review.)

Now the company has released a BookBook for the iPad mini. We shared the news here, and I have now had a chance to spend some time with it. Let’s take a look.

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Twelve South always packages their products in a manner befitting a quality product; in this case, the BookBook comes wrapped in a protective and reusable bag. These little touches go a long way.

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Pull the BookBook out, and you are greeted by a small, bound book.

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The company is kind enough to simply emboss the number 12 on the back of the case. It is an understated way to add a logo that is made all the more subtle by the addition of the corner details. I like and appreciate that.

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Even the zipper pulls-sewn leather tabs- are classy. This is a company that truly has an eye for details.

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When you unzip and open the BookBook, you are greeted by a plain interior “front cover” and a book page on the other. The page is actually a placeholder for the iPad mini but it immediately gives you a sense of just how unique this case is.

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Like the Rev. 2 of the BookBook for iPad, this case has a foldout “sleeve” into which the iPad mini slips. The sleeve is made from soft leather that will hold the iPad securely while keeping it safe from scratches.

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It is a unique design that also makes doubly sure the iPad stays secure by adding a bit of extra leather (seen to the right of the iPad) which is tucked into the sleeve behind the iPad. Once in place the iPad won’t come out until you consciously choose to remove it.

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The snaps on the back of the sleeve and in the middle section of the BookBook hold the iPad in place when using the BookBook as… a book. By allowing the iPad to unsnap however, Twelve South added a level of flexibility with regard to how you can use your iPad when inside the case.

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For example, the rectangular piece of material to the left of the iPad-side snaps is a stand that can hold the iPad mini at a terrific angle for typing.

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It actually works quite well.

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It also lets you use the “finally the iPad doesn’t suck for pictures” camera without having to remove the tablet from the case.

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It also lets you set the iPad at a sharper angle and view movies or read emails or books.

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In all there is a lot to like about the BookBook for iPad mini. Perhaps surprisingly then, I’m not using it. Yes, this is the first time I have received a Twelve South item, used it for review, and then immediately put it away. Here’s why.

Both versions of the BookBook for the 9.7″ iPad (there was an original version and then a Rev2 version that came out about a year later) lacked the automatic sleep/awake functionality that arrived with the iPad 2. The BookBook for iPad mini doesn’t have it either, and here is the thing: For some reason this shortcoming didn’t strike me as being nearly as large an issue with the larger iPad, and I’m not quite sure why this is the case. Perhaps it was simply the fact that the automatic sleep/awake functionality was somewhat new at the time, whereas it is now something I expect. Or it might simply be the fact that I am carrying, and opening and closing, the iPad mini far more than I ever did the 9.7″ version. Regardless, what was not troublesome to me on the larger iPad is quite bothersome to me now. So much so that I found myself having a love/hate relationship with this case.

And there is more. While I wasn’t troubled by the need to zip and unzip the larger BookBook — in fact I appreciated the security it offered — I found the zipper to be a huge inconvenience when using the BookBook for iPad mini. In this case I suspect it is very much the result of my opening and closing the iPad mini far more often than I did its older, and larger sibling.

The result is that a case whose look, feel and design I mostly love annoyed me enough that I quickly went back to another case.

The BookBook for iPad mini is mostly great. It has a unique look and feel that cannot be beat. It is crafted beautifully and screams quality on every level. It has a built-in stand, and you don’t need to remove the iPad from it to take a picture. All of that is true and terrific. Unfortunately, at least for me, all of this form does not compensate for the negative impact the design has on the actual function and use off the iPad.

The iPad mini is a device you will be turning on and off multiple times through the day. The zipper and lack of sleep/awake functionality add a layer of additional steps when looking to use the mini that simply doesn’t work for me. If you don’t mind the zipper (or you like the security it brings), and you don’t need the sleep/awake functionality, then this case cannot be beat. If you use your iPad in a manner similar to me however, this may not be the best choice.

MSRP: $69.99

What I Like: Well-made; Quite protective; No need to remove the iPad to take pictures; Looks and feels great; Doesn’t looks like an iPad case; quality materials and build

What Needs Improvement: No automatic sleep/awake functionality; Zippers are a pain

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him.

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