Review: Aranez Notebook Kangaroo Leather Case for iPad 2
We've seen real leather cases and faux leather cases of all varieties, but this is a new one: Aranez's Notebook Kangaroo Leather Case for iPad 2 ($120). Yes, that's kangaroo leather, supposedly taken from the hopping Australian marsupial. The company claims the material is known for its "superior qualities" such as strength, weight, and durability. It feels like pretty nice flat leather, but not too different from fine grain cowhide. When closed, it's slim and looks very nice. Inside the folio-style case is a hard plastic frame that grips the iPad 2's left, right, and bottom edges. The iPad 2 is inserted by sliding it in from the top, and the fit is very tight. On the inside of the front cover are three card holders -- including one with a clear plastic window for an ID -- and a foldout typing orientation stand. Aranez includes a "leather care kit," composed of 50mL of liquid leather conditioner and a soft fiber cloth.
In the final analysis, the Kangaroo Leather Case’s biggest asset—the distinctiveness of its leather—isn’t enough to offset the case’s other design weaknesses. While the material does feel pretty nice, no one would be able to tell it from traditional or even a good fake leather without being told what it is. Similarly, the card holders and stand are nice touches that add only a little functionality relative to other folio-style cases. But the frame used to hold the iPad 2 is unfortunately a poor design. The company clearly didn’t give the proper thought to the curved edges of the tablet under the flat edges of the holder, so it’s difficult to press the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons, and to manipulate the side switch. If Aranez were to go back to the drawing board on the holder, it’d have a good, high quality case on its hands. As it currently is, however, we can’t recommend it.