If you are one of the fortunate folks to have acquired the elusive iPad 2 then you’ll want to keep it safe. However, not all iPad or iPad 2 cases are created equal as some stand out from the pack due to design or style. Today we will look at one of these top of the line cases

Pad&Quill is a small company located in Minnesota who are developing a reputation for quality handmade cases for various electronic devices such as the Cartella for the MacBook Air which we recently reviewed. The Octavo is their take on the iPad 2 case. At first glance it will draw comparisons to the more widely known Dodocase as it is based on the Moleskine notebook style but then Octavo offers some features not found with it competitor.

Pad&Quill was nice enough to send TestFreaks another prototype model, so the final packaging may be different from what we received. The Octavo arrives in a USPS cardboard box protected by bubble wrap. Packaged with the Octavo is an instruction sheet, a history of the company and some spare bumper material.

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At first glance the Octavo is reminiscent of Moleskine notebooks with black leather exterior and elastic closure. Pad&Quill designed this case using top grade components to give each case an individual looking appearance. The Octavo measures 10.25” x 8.15” x 0.65” and weighs in at 11 oz.

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The cover of the Octavo is Italian bonded leather that has a smooth feel with a fine texturing within the skin of the leather. The cover wraps from the front to the back and is completely blank save for Pad&Quill logo embossed into the bottom right corner of the back.

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An elastic strap that wraps around to the front of the Octavo originates on the back left of the case.

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The upper straps origin covers and protects a camera opening when not in use. According to my contact at Pad&Quill the final version of the Octavo will have a more finished camera hole appearance.

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Here are some images of the Dodocase for iPad and the Octavo for size and style comparison. The Octavo is a bit longer and features a wider elastic strap.

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The interior surface of the case is lined with a Bookbindery cloth that is available in three colors – Classic Red, Camden Blue and Field Green. Pad&Quill also offers an optional interior pocket for holding papers for an optional fee at checkout. For this review we received the Camden Blue version with the pocket.

Adjacent to the side of the inner cover are a series of magnets designed work with the iPad 2’s Cover Lock/Unlock feature.

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The right side of the inner portion of the Octavo is occupied by a Baltic Birch routed frame with an eco friendly water based urethane finish. A “bookmark” sits on the inside left of the frame and is designed to easily pull the iPad 2 out of the Octavo. At first glance I thought this bookmark would be a nuisance but after a few minutes of using the Octavo with the iPad 2 I did not even notice it was there.

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Like the Cartella, Pad&Quill placed its proprietary bumper material in each of the frame’s corners to keep the iPad 2 snuggly situated. These bumpers rest inside the frame as opposed to the DodoCase iPad version, which sat partially in and out of that frame.

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Surrounding the frame are strategically routed openings for the headphone jack, power buttons, volume controls and dock connector.

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In addition there are two sound channels, one for the speakers at the frame’s bottom right and one centered at the top for the iPad 2’s microphone. These channels are designed to amplify and focus the sounds coming to and from the Octavo housed iPad 2.

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My one issue with the openings for the connectors is they sit pretty deep within the frame of the Octavo compared to the Dodocase. Combine that with the location of the buttons on the curved backed iPad 2 it makes accessing the controls a little challenging with the covered closed on the case.

The front cover easily bends over to provide a slight tilt to the case to use as a typing stand or just to keep the cover out of the way during use of the iPad 2. According to Pad&Quill there have been some occurrences of the magnets activating the sensor with the cover folded back but I did not encounter that issue. If that does happen and it causes problems simply shut the feature off in the iPad 2’s settings.

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Unfortunately the Octavo does not function as a horizontal or stable vertical stand.

Like most iPad 2 cases, the Octavo will add some weight to the iPad 2 making the combo feel like a thin textbook.

Pad&Quill will be offering blank self-adhesive bookplates in the future for personalizing the case.

Specifications:

What’s in a name? A rose by any other would smell as sweet.  But that particular “rose” smells terribly cliché and cliché was the last thing on our minds when the tiny seeds of our new case company were beginning to bud. 
Yet how does one convey in a word the allure of 8 Baltic birch veneers lacquered to manifest an extraordinary depth of beauty and routered to precisely encase an iPad 2?  Or explain in a single name the resplendent feel of Italian bonded leather binding, hand sculpted with specific detail? Well, frankly you don’t and that is why a picture is worth a thousand words and a lot less headache to our web designer.  However, here is our newest rose…

The Octavo for iPad 2.

Dimensions:
The Octavo
10.25 in. x 8.15in. x .65 in.
Weight 11 oz.

Features:
- The slimmest design ever produced by Pad&Quill.
- NEW utilizes the iPad 2 magnet sensor to shut off/turn on the iPad when you close/open the book!
- NEW 3 beautiful cloth colors – Classic Red, Camden Blue and Field Green. 
- NEW optional interior pocket available in all colors.
- Holds the iPad 2 very securely with proprietary bumper materials.
- Covered in Italian bonded leather.
- The ‘bookmark’ for easier device removal
- Patented sound channel
- Wrap around spine for multiple viewing configurations
- Hand made in the Twin Cities, USA

Installation of the iPad 2 into the Octavo involved sliding the Apple tablet topside into the frame’s upper bumpers then placing the lower half into the frame with the bookmark sticking out the bottom. Press down the iPad 2 to make sure it’s safely locked into the Octavo. Removing the iPad 2 involves lifting the bookmark up, which pops the lower half of the iPad 2 out of the case.

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As a protective case, the Octavo will keep the iPad 2 safe from most minor bumps and falls. If you carry your iPad 2 around and need industrial strength case protection then you may wish to look elsewhere.

Although it is not padded the iPad 2 is snuggly locked into the frame. If over time these pads become worn down, Pad&Quill includes spare bumper pads.

One concern with this style of case is the elastic strap’s durability. My first Dodocase’s strap broke and eventually they replaced the case. Hopefully the Pad&Quill’s elastic is more durable as they glued it down to the backer board and then glued the bookbindery cloth over the top.

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The other issue is the durability of the spine over time. Theoretically this type of case will eventually show wear and tear like any book that gets used frequently. Hopefully it will last long enough until you need to get a new iPad. I think it may soon be time to start checking the Apple rumor sites for when the next one is coming out.


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Conclusion:

After using the Octavo for the past week I am proud to say that this will be “go to” case for the iPad 2. Appearance wise, it looks fantastic and elegant at the same time with its retro book style. The beauty of this style case is that the iPad 2 remains inconspicuous as it looks like the user is carrying a book instead of Apple’s hottest device.

Functionally it works great with the iPad 2; even though I mentioned the depth of the control openings accessing them was not really an issue.

Currently Pad&Quill states turnover for shipped cases is 5-7 days but that time may change with increased demand. Hopefully you’ll have an easer time getting your hands on the Pad&Quill Octavo than the iPad 2.

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Pros:
+Case is gorgeous
+Well crafted
+Built with traditional bookbinding techniques
+Includes magnetic iPad 2 sensor bar on inner cover

Cons:
Cons1
Cons2
-Does not work as a viewing stand

Grades:  
Overall score 10 10 thumb1 Review of The Octavo for iPad 2
Design score 10 10 thumb1 Review of The Octavo for iPad 2
Performance score 10 10 thumb1 Review of The Octavo for iPad 2

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