Review: Booq Folio for iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)
With the release of the third-generation iPad, case manufacturers had to decide between coming out with completely new cases, or reissuing models that they had previously introduced for the similarly-shaped iPad 2; some chose to do both. Today we're looking at a number of options that are rereleases of cases we've previously reviewed. Some are almost identical to their predecessors, while others have undergone changes but maintain the same name. These are all folio-style cases, with either a reinforced shell or frame structure to hold the tablet in place, and a front lid that offers protection and stand functionality. This review is focused on Booq's Folio ($50), designed for the new iPad as well as the iPad 2. While it's worth taking a look at our review of the original model here, this is the rare example a case that keeps the same name but has been completely redesigned.
The first Folio was a simple faux leather case that offered no stand functionality and really, not much else besides overall good looks. This new version is made of 100% natural fiber, with a grippy, rubbery material lining the inside. The texture of the outer material is rough—somewhat like canvas or hard denim—but not unpleasant, at least for some fingers. We found the bezel coverage to be kind of strange: rather than using consistently thick material around the iPad’s perimeter, this case has thin strips at the top and bottom with thicker edges around the left and right sides. It doesn’t affect performance, but it’s visually distracting. We’re not fond of how much of the tablet’s aluminum edges the holder leaves exposed, though, with all four corners bare plus a wider than necessary hole for the microphone. As is the case with many flat-backed folios, the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are somewhat set back, yet still totally usable.
Booq’s biggest improvement to Folio is the front lid. The previous version locked and unlocked the iPad 2’s display, but didn’t do anything else. This time around, the company decided to go with a Smart Cover-style folding cover, which is a big improvement. Yes, it still activates the display when lifted and puts it to sleep when closed, and the magnets also hold the case shut. Now, however, its three columns can be folded into a triangle. While it doesn’t magnetically attach to itself to hold the shape, it does latch on to the back to maintain the stand’s integrity for viewing. When it comes to typing, the triangle is simply supported by the weight of the iPad itself. Both positioned are at good angles, and feel totally sturdy.
Compared to the first Folio, this newer edition is an improvement in many ways. Not only is it more distinctive in look and feel, but the lid improvements were also a very smart move on Booq’s part. The stand features are all but necessary to compete with the folios currently on the market, and were executed well. So, while the new Folio isn’t a perfect case, and some users may not like the texture, it’s worthy of consideration, and our general recommendation.