In my continuing quest to find a great iPad Pro case, I’ve been testing out the new BookBook case for iPad Pro 12.9-inch ($99) … and I really like it. Don’t judge a book by its cover; the cute design hides a lot of utility. There’s a display mode for watching movies, an integrated kickstand perfect for typing and sketching as well as a fantastic Apple Pencil holder hidden in the ‘spine’. (Check the Twelve South website if sold out on Amazon.)
As the whole thing zips up, it’s one of few cases that completely protects the iPad whilst in transit. Read on for my full review of the BookBook for iPad Pro after the jump …
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First things first. This case is thick and pretty heavy; that’s the physical nature of something that looks like a bound hard-cover book. It’s also sort of meant to be seen — aside from some zip pulls, it would fit in on an actual library bookshelf.
I’m taking these points as a design choice of personal preferences for the purposes of the review. Not everybody wants to make a statement with their accessories; if you are looking for something slimmer or more discrete, consider the Dux or Pad & Quill’s Oxford offering. Personally, I generally lean towards slimmer cases but the functional convenience of the BookBook makes up for its bulkiness.
The case is made from high quality leather with good, even stitching and beautiful brown coloration. There’s some fine details too: the corners closest to the spine have pretty little letterpress imprints in the leather. The binding exterior leather will wear over time naturally resulting in a two-tone appearance of yellow and brown but it fits the aesthetic really well. The effect of yellow and brown looks pretty great.
On the interior, BookBook uses a softer, suppler black leather. I would prefer slightly less visible branding: the trio of manufacturer logos on the inside feels a little too in-your-face. I have pondered cutting the tags out. I do like how the bordering zippers are woven using yellowy-tan fabric, creating a nice two-tone aesthetic.
The coil teeth zips enclose the entire iPad in the book sleeve providing the device with full wrap-around protection when closed. This is worth mentioning as most cases always leave some parts of the product exposed such as the headphone jack or Lightning port. If you are looking for comprehensive protection, this offers it and helps justify some of the bulk; if it is going to be big, it might as well be fully protective of its contents. There is simply no opening for dust or debris or anything to get inside if it is zipped. If you are lazy and can’t be bothered to use the zips, the hard leather exterior will still provide more protection than most cases.
It’s almost like a case within a case. To use the BookBook, you open it all up and insert the iPad into an inner sleeve which is clamped on one edge. This allows the iPad to pivot around inside the book container and be propped up by a stitched-in kickstand (more on that later). The iPad sleeve can be easily affixed into place using two poppers. You can see how this works in practice with the promo video, which also shows off the Apple Pencil holder:
The Apple Pencil support with this case is fantastic. Integrated into the spine cavity, the BookBook includes a stylus sleeve which snugly contains Apple Pencil and is also compatible with many third-party styli too. The positioning of the Pencil inside the case means it cannot touch the iPad at all which is good for my peace-of-mind regarding screen scratches. After using it for a few weeks, I’ve never had it dislodge.
Even if somehow it did, there’s zero chance of it getting lost as it will be contained in the zipped-up enclosure. It’s very easy to remove and replace the Pencil and will pretty much stay out of sight when not in use, tucked in the center crease.
The BookBook transforms iPad into a really good easel thanks to the Pencil holder and the stand. By un-popping the internal sleeve and adjusting the kickstand, the iPad sits at a perfect angle for sketching and drawing. The iPad is very stable in this configuration — there’s no annoying wobble when you are just trying to (digitally) paint and draw. It feels like a mobile painting studio.
The incline angle is just right too. Once you are done, you can just flatten the kickstand, put the Pencil back in the holster and zip everything up. I’ve spontaneously started some new doodles and sketches simply because it was easy to get going. I just leave the Pencil in the case full-time; there’s no downside to leaving it in there. Even if I’m not using the iPad in the case, I use the BookBook as permanent Pencil storage container so I don’t have to worry about losing it.
The same configuration of case is also used for ‘typing mode’ with the iPad propped up by the inner stand. I don’t like the BookBook as much for typing as I do drawing mainly because the edges of the iPad are wrapped in the thin leather material and get in the way of my hands’ normal resting position, particularly at the bottom side. It doesn’t impede the actual keyboard in use but it’s an annoyance to feel it on my palms as I’m gliding across the keys. Apart from that, it works fine and is comfortable to use at a desk — the force of tapping the screen will cause a bit of a jiggle but it’s barely noticeable.
The other supported configuration of stand for the BookBook case is movie watching mode. Rather than angling the iPad almost flat to the table, this mode props up the screen vertically. I like to think of this as ‘plane tray table mode’ for watching movies and videos hands-free.
Unlike some other iPad cases, there isn’t a groove to slot it into a specific angle. It relies solely on the counterbalancing weight of the tablet. This is good for flexibility, enabling a wide range of possible positions, but compromises some stability as it could fall over with a harsh jolt from the environment (like strong plane turbulence or bumps on train journeys). The friction of the case means that the chance of this happening is low and in my usage, I couldn’t get it to topple.
I really like the premise and execution of this case. I have very few (and nitpicky at that) bad things to say about it as long as you are in the market for a case of such bulk. As I said in the opener, this is big and bulky … it’s also stylish, strong, very protective and features an integrated Pencil holder. If weight and size are primary concerns, the BookBook is not the answer. If not, this is a great choice.
The BookBook for iPad Pro is available now, on sale for $99. The case is also available in other sizes fitting various iPad models, although there isn’t a variety for the 9.7-inch Pro just yet. Find out more information about the case on the Twelve South website.