It’s always refreshing to see iOS accessory makers doing something different and Pad & Quill leads the pack in this area. With handmade cases crafted from linen, leather, and wood, it’s hard to go wrong with this simplistically elegant spin on cases.

Lately I’ve been using Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 and it’s changed my mind about “premium” cases. There’s something beautifully different about the craftsmanship and it’s created from materials that are designed to last, but not without a steep entry price for some…

The Contega Linen case may not be the cheapest way to protect and showcase your iPad Air 2, but it’s definitely up there as one of the best in my opinion. In short, the Contega series (and others from Pad & Quill) are designed to look like books. The Linen version is covered in a buckram cloth and uses a satin-finished birch wood as the iPad’s cradle. It’s very rare that wood and iOS accessories make a good mix, but Pad & Quill has the perfect balance with this case. The design may be very simple, but it was done right.

Check out our Contega Linen for iPad Air 2 review video below:

While it may not seem to be as durable as an OtterBox or LifeProof case, there’s nothing weak and fragile about this solution. I never got the impression that the materials and structure had been compromised and in every situation, the Contega case provided confidence that my iPad Air 2 was completely safe. Its elastic strap holds the cover shut and from the bound spine or front view of the “book,” you’d never know there was an iPad inside.

pad-and-quill-contega-book

Need that book look? This is it.

Installing the case is pretty simple as you’d expect. On the inside, you’ll find rubber bumpers in each corner (or “Sure-Lock device grips” as P&Q calls them) that are designed to help cradle the iPad and secure it. All of the iPad Air 2’s ports and buttons are completely accessible while inside and there’s even a cutout on the backside to make way for the camera and rear microphone. The Lightning port cutout did seem a little tight and if anything, you may have issues with some third-party Lightning cables that have wider ends, but Apple’s cable seemed to fit without an issue. I also noticed that some headphone jacks were a little too large to fit within the dedicated cutout. Not a deal breaker for myself, but it’s something to keep in mind.

contega-sound-channels

The “innards” of the Contega Linen case showcase its sound reflect channels and ribbon bookmark.

The Contega Linen also has “Multi-channel positioning” which are basically notches on the inside cover of the case that allow for multiple view angles (only two though). There didn’t seem to be any security to keep the iPad propped at an angle aside from those notches, but due to the material used on the inside, it can get a little slippery. As long as you’ve secured an edge of the birch frame within one of the “notches,” there should be an issue, but there’s no magnets to keep it in place.

Speaking of magnets, this case also offers sleep/wake functionality with the iPad Air 2. Also, due to the size of the frame, the iPad’s buttons and ports are recessed to keep them out of harm’s way. The Contega does block the speaker on the bottom of the iPad, but luckily there are specific grooves (sound reflect channels) that will redirect the sound towards the display when in use.

contega-stand-use

Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen standing on its own.

There’s strong attention to detail in Pad & Quill’s design, but thanks to the materials and manufacturing process, each case has its own character and will age to perfection over time. I’m not really a big fan of “investing” into a case, but if you’re going to spend your money anywhere, this is one of the top solutions to cover an iPad.

Pad & Quill’s Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2 retails for $99.99 and while that may seem a bit high (trust me I got the same feeling), in my opinion this is a far better case than Apple’s $79 leather Smart Case. You’re getting so much more for the money with the Contega Linen case. Everything from the “unboxing” (or un-packaging if you’d like to call it that) to the execution and protection is miles better than a flap of thin leather and cardboard from Apple.

contega-new

I’m a fan of the Contega Linen case.

It’s definitely going to be a personal preference, but if I had to choose between the two, I’m definitely going with Pad & Quill. Be sure to check out the video review above for a close look or see the gallery below. If you’d like to find out more about the Contega Linen case for iPad Air 2, visit Pad & Quill’s website for pricing and availability. The company also produces other cases/accessories for a wide variety of iOS devices.

About the Author