Review: Spigen SGP Diary for iPad (3rd-Generation)
Folios have become the most common style of iPad case over the past two years, and depending on what you're looking for, one of the dozens of new designs might be an ideal fit for your tablet. A folio places your iPad inside of a fabric, leather, or plastic enclosure that looks like a folder, generally opening to reveal a holder for the iPad on one side, and screen-covering lid with a stand or stand support on the other. Today, we're separately rounding up three different categories of folios for the third-generation iPad -- updates to past iPad 2 models we've covered, "new" options that are highly similar to ones we've covered before, and then truly new models that are distinctive in at least a couple of ways. This review is part of the "new but highly similar" case roundup, looking at Diary ($65) from Spigen SGP.
We’ve seen a strange trend pop up in certain cases recently, first with the iPhone and now the iPad: some companies are using adhesive material to hold the device in place, rather than taking the time to design and implement a proper shell or frame. The most recent of these designs is Diary, which comes in black or dark brown versions. This third-generation iPad folio is made of real, flat leather with a non-grip surface coating the inside, plus a magnetic snap that reaches around from the front to hold it shut. On the right side of the interior is a 2.5” wide, 6” long strip of foam jelly adhesive, which comes with a sheet of plastic to keep it from getting dirty and losing its stickiness.
To install the iPad, you line its back up with the camera hole, press it in place, and it’ll stay put until you pull it off—a solution that works, but just doesn’t look particularly great, and has other consequences, such as leaving the top and bottom entirely exposed. However, unlike some of the cases we’ve seen with a similar design, Diary’s back folds, allowing the tablet to stand in a variety of landscape viewing angles; the lid’s non-slip inner lining generally holds the iPad in the position you leave it in. Similarly, Diary’s use of a magnet-sealed side flap removes another of the issues common to adhesive- and elastic-style folios, namely their exposure of the iPad’s long edge.
While Diary isn’t the simplest of the adhesive-style folios we’ve tested, it’s the most expensive, a fact that’s supposed to be justified almost entirely by Spigen SGP’s use of real leather for the outside of this case; most use artificial leather, and then, materials that look and feel a lot like this—Spigen selected an extra fine grain leather rather than a heavily-textured, floater-style version. The inclusion of stand and side protection features do help Diary to eclipse its similarly minimalist rivals in features, but the price tag remains hard to justify for something that still falls short of $40-$50 cases in protection. Overall, Diary is just a little below our recommendation level: the materials are nice, but we can’t in good conscience suggest that readers spend $65 on something so simple. It’s better than merely okay, but not impressive enough to be worthy of calling “good.”