gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Piel Frama Leather Flip Cover iPad Case Review

I’ve looked at a couple of Piel Frama cases before, one for the iPhone 3G and one for the HTC Touch Pro. I found both to be good quality, well thought-out leather cases and Piel Frama’s solitary (at time of writing) offering for the iPad is no exception.

When is a WiFi-only iPad not a WiFi-only iPad?:

Mobile wifi

The Piel Frama Magnetic Flip Case for iPad is available in 7 colours, black, tan, red, green, blue, pink and orange. I chose to look at the black, primarily because I’m not overly fond of leather in the other colours. This proved to be a good choice, as it’s a stunningly refined and attractive executive style case which black, with a tan leather lining, suits really well.

The Piel Frama iPad case is available in 7 colours, but looks stunning in black.

As usual, Piel Frama have beautifully presented this case in a tan-coloured box with a golden logo. This focus on quality from the outset really scores points for Piel Frama on the whole and makes their cases really quite suitable as gifts. Not even Vaja have quite such luxurious presentation. Lifting off the lid reveals yet another logo, embossed on a paper flap which covers the case itself.

The packaging of Piel Frama cases is really second to none.

The case itself is reminiscent of a leather filofax and opens like a book to reveal your iPad. Magnets secure the flap closed, and the flap itself is reasonably ridged and well padded on the outside, although not reinforced with anything like aluminium it does a good job absorbing and dissipating shocks. The magnets are placed at the top and bottom of the right-hand edge, and result in a visible circular bump that shows up against the otherwise smooth leather that will surround your iPad.

A slight bump is visible from the magnets that secure the flap closed, but it makes for a very clean cover and no pesky poppers, velcro or zips.

The iPad slips into the case sideways, on the side with the flap ensuring that it remains firmly in place in both landscape and portrait orientations, the flap will hang freely over your hands in landscape mode and can also be used to prop up the iPad like a stand, albeit somewhat unstably, but it’s good enough for playing a movie at a comfortable angle, and will even allow you to type without knocking it over. It’s not as stable as it could be, though, so you’re going to want to be careful when propping up your expensive toy and keep interaction to a minimum. If you want a typing angle, the front-flap will bend about 80 degrees producing a very stable shallow incline and raising the iPad to a very comfortable position for typing and touching. The photos at Piel Frama show that it’s designed with this in mind.

Like many cases I’ve looked at before, you can improvise a stand.

On the front of the case is the standard cut-out to give you access to the iPad’s home button. More interestingly, however, there’s a second cut-out which is quite obviously a remnant from the iPad front-facing-camera rumours. Yup, there’s a hole in the case specifically for the cameras that the current generation of the iPad doesn’t even have. It’s clear from this that Piel Frama have done one of two things: included the camera hole just in case the first version of the iPad was released with a camera, or included the camera hole just in case the next version of the iPad has a camera. Both are sensible moves, particularly the latter. If things turn out in Piel Frama’s favour then, should you pick up one of these cases, you’ll not need to buy a new one when you inevitably upgrade to the second generation iPad.

A cut-out for the non-existent camera adds future-proofing to this expensive case.

Holes aside, the leather front of the Piel Frama iPad case will protect the glossy glass edge of your iPad from fingerprint smudges and ensure it stays pristine. Obviously it wont do the same for the screen, but that’s what a screen protector is for. The bonus, of course, of this leather edge is that it will also cover the usually visible and often peeling/bubble-prone edges of your screen protector.

The front flap of the Piel Frama leather iPad case is almost devoid of detail, spare the groove/joint along which it can bend about 80 degrees and without which it wouldn’t be able to stand upright as demonstrated above. Although Piel Frama show the iPad standing upright and slightly inclined in landscape mode, it’s worth noting that this helps it stand in portrait mode also, only not as the sort of angle that makes it comfortable for viewing. The back of the case is smooth, uninterrupted black leather. There’s no Piel Frama logo or badge on the case at all, however the inside (as is typical of premium cases) is stamped with the repeating text “Piel Frama”.

The stitching, as is typical of Piel Frama, is consistent. As it’s black on black and very fine in places, it’s almost invisible adding a subtle pinch around the edge of the leather, and just a little dash of detail. The cut outs are sharp and clean, and everything is generally exceptionally well made, well finished and up to scratch.

To top it off, the case comes with a small cleaning cloth to keep the grease at bay on your iPad screen and a card detailing the various leather types used in construction.

Overall, it’s a brilliant iPad case, offering quick and easy access, excellent all-round protection, a very professional and understated look, and future-proofing. At time of writing the Piel Frama Leather iPad Case is priced at €110, or around £95 (according to This places it at a significant premium to the official Apple case, but the excellent quality, stylish executive look and the fact you’ll probably not have to buy another case when you upgrade your iPad makes up for this price.

If £95 is a little out of your budget, then I recommend the Proporta Maya II slip case for iPad, which will let you use your shiny Apple toy in all its uncovered glory, whilst still having somewhere safe to tuck it away when it’s not in use.

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Monday, May 17th, 2010, iPad.