All iPads Issentiel leather cases?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by TheIntruder, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    Anyone have any experience with Issentiel cases?

    Curious whether something like this is a viable alternative to the oft-mentioned Vaja and Piel Frama leather cases.

    It's highly debatable to spend >$100 on a case, but considering the Smart Case is already $80, these don't seem too bad. It would be about $120 (exc. VAT, with shipping) for FedEx delivery in about 3 days to the U.S. Made in Europe, though they don't specify where.

    I like the Vaja Liberetto, but it's $160+shipping for the stock version, and $180+ for the custom version, with the accompanying wait. And their customer service seems less than commensurate with the price. Still, if a good sale came up...

    I'm sure the Piel Framas are nice, but there are certain design features which I wouldn't be able to get over.

    Based on their bags, I think the Knomo Premium would be nice, but it would have to be ordered from overseas since the US distributor doesn't stock them, and I'm not confident of its ability to stand open, as well as being a bit spendy at $150. In that range, might as well get the Vaja.

    The Proporta/Brunswick is in a similar situation.

    Everything else I've seen doesn't seem to justify the cost, at least in my mind, with a good possibility of just being a typical Chinese case, albeit covered in so-so leather.
  2. Farrellcollie macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2011
  3. TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    Where are their cases made?

    It's weird how some colors have the three-panel cover and small cutouts, and some the four-panel cover and large cutouts.

    A four-panel version with small cutouts would be the most desirable, and address the main criticism of the Smart Case, but oddly, that's the one they don't make. Otherwise, the greater variety of leather choices is the only compelling reason to me to choose it over the Apple case, which offers full button and speaker coverage.

    I've looked at every possible leather case I can find on the net, and I have yet to see another case that matches the precision of the Smart Case's cutouts, no matter the price, or material. That Apple mass produces those things in China is rather impressive.

    And for people who think it's crazy to spend $80, or even $100 on a case, let it be known that there are $500+ designer cases out there.

    Of course, even I think that's crazy, but I'm not completely averse to blowing $120 on a case for my cellular iPad, if it's good quality.

    I'm just trying to find the sweet spot/middle-ground between the cheaper (and some not so cheap) name brand cases which are genuine leather, but mediocre quality, and the Vaja/PFs and the like. Not gonna touch the dirt cheap Chinese/off-brand cases.

    The "luxury tech" brands in Europe seem to cover that spectrum best. Issentiel, Noreve, PF (when on sale), and some I'm forgetting. I found another one today, Pipetto, that has a case that looks pretty good.

    The risk is that purchasing one of them is highly likely to be a one-way transaction. Shipping one of those cases back to Europe within the terms of the return period is gonna cost at least $30-40, if not more, so one had better choose wisely.

    It's tough to compete with Apple, which probably gets the majority of those who want a "nice" case, and those want something cheaper, or less demanding.

    Still, it's pretty surprising (and somewhat disappointing) the kind of quality a typical $40-50 case will net. From that viewpoint, the Smart Case is actually a pretty decent value.
  4. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    The only real problems that I have with the Smart Case are 1) the covered volume buttons make them harder to use and 2) the headphone cutout is too small for my Bose headphones and I don't like carrying an adapter. I really like how thin and light the case is though and any other case is going to be much heavier.
  5. Farrellcollie macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2011
    They are a small german company and from the website it appears as though the cases are made there. I have both the stilgut cover and an apple smartcase. I like the stilgut case because the volume buttons and the top button are not enclosed and are easier for me to use. The stilgut is made of quality leather and it is almost just as thin as the apple case. And I do like their colors better than the apple colors.
  6. TheIntruder, Nov 11, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014

    TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    Well, thanks to some odd pricing from Amazon UK on a couple of the colors (black and brown), the risk was low enough so I gave in and bought one of these cases. Even with international shipping, the total cost was less than half of what it would have been to order directly from the manufacturer.

    It's (bovine) leather, and smells like leather, but doesn't have the super soft buttery feel like some handbag leathers do, or the sweet smell from those tanning processes. This is more like a harder leather used for something like shoes or luggage, which is fine, given the intended usage. It's also got the more chemical tanning smell.

    Haven't really had time to form any opinions about it in usage yet, but I don't regret spending the fifty or so bucks on it, versus paying full price for something like the Apple case or something like a Vaja.

    I had, but returned one of the Smart Cases (even at half price on clearance), because the stand function was useless, and I find I like the back foldover design better than the tri/quad folding cover or the back crease designs that rely on friction to keep the iPad upright in viewing position. It wasn't without its charms, but I just had a greater desire for something else.

    Since this Air 1 version was released at the beginning of the year, I would expect the same sort of timeframe for an Air 2 version.

    Two week update:

    Now that I've had a couple weeks to use the case, I can say I'm pretty pleased with it.

    Going from a case with a covered bezel, to one that's completely open like this, only confirms why I prefer the latter -- I'm no longer confined to the home button and camera cutouts when I want to use swipe gestures that require beginning at the edge of the screen (like back/forward in Safari).

    The one unique thing about this case, and what I saw as a bonus, is the clasp that keeps the cover closed tightly, and flat against the screen. It's a little more effort to open/close, but preventing the cover from flopping around when it's in a bag, or skating around, was worth the tradeoff to me.

    I don't use the stand function much, but it hasn't proven to be unstable when I have, as with the Smart Case I had and returned.

    Otherwise, WYSIWYG.

    In the end, all the boxes on my list were ticked off, and getting a deal on it was a bonus. I'd have no regrets if I had spent the full $120 bucks shipped on it, but for fifty-something, I think I made out pretty well.

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