BUKcase Originals iPad Mini with Retina Display case – Review

BUKcase

Have you ever felt that iPad cases just aren’t bookish enough? Not in a geeky student wearing glasses and beige slacks way, I mean that they tend not to look like books. Well, you’re in luck if you have, because BUKcase have it covered… so to speak.

Constricting Opinions

BUKcase describes the Originals on their website thus:

The “ORIGINALS” iPad Mini cover comes with a birch ply interior which is precision made using CNC technology. Not only does this give the look of a closed book but the wooden frame is combined with our “Tommy lock” system which guarantees your tablet will be held securely during use and commutes!

…and held securely it is. The iPad Mini needs a concerted shove to get it into the wooden frame. Once there you’d better not want to take it out again, because this involves an alarming amount of bending (both case and iPad) and on several occasions slithers of plywood flaking off. I was genuinely worried for a few seconds that I was going to shatter the screen every time I took the iPad out.

Assuming you’re happy to leave the iPad Mini in the case, what is the user experience like? Heavy. Unsurprisingly a large amount of wood stuck to the sturdy cover makes the svelte iPad Mini into a bit of a wrist breaker, and typing with ones thumbs is really uncomfortable. Typing or not, the edges of the cut-outs in the plywood bezel for headphones/power/Lightning connector make it very uncomfortable to hold the case in landscape mode.

Time To Judge a Book by Its Cover

At £35 you’re paying for a handmade premium product, but it’s not really very premium feeling. Supposed to look like a classy book, but feels a bit like cheap throwaway desk diary, the outer cover feels like it’s covered in Fablon rather than premium leather, or anything more classy looking (looking on the site, there is a leather case for the big iPad, but not the Mini). The absence of some form of magnetic catch and using an elastic strap to keep it closed instead adds to the diary feel.

When used as a stand the elastic doesn’t easily stay in place. It has to be in exactly the right place on the back of the case, otherwise it becomes too loose and the case falls flat, or too tight and the case snaps back on itself and falls over! The smoother the surface the worse it is.

Despite a row of magnets being quite obvious under the lining on the inside of the case, the wake when open doesn’t work!

The Glass Half Full View

I’ve been rather negative about the BUKcase Originals case, but there are some good points – the embossing on the back of the cover looks great, likewise the hand written label on the inner cover that gives the impression it’s a limited edition. The bulk makes it feel robust, you definitely feel like your iPad is safe, even in the bottom of a laptop bag, and even though it doesn’t bear close inspection, the concept looks great at a distance.

Conclusions

The idea of a hand-made and bespoke iPad case is very appealing, especially now that an iPad isn’t the exclusive piece of kit it used to be. I really wish it felt more like a premium product and the quality of the design and the execution was better. It doesn’t need much to get it right, but it does need something, and even if the price had to go up by £5 to achieve that luxury feel and accurate build quality it would be a price worth paying.

The BUKcase Originals case for iPad Mini with Retina display can be bought directly from the BUKcase website, along with a range of other cases for Apple and Android tablets.