This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Booqpad product from Booq, but Booqpad for iPad Air ($60) shows that the company continues to improve on its designs. The case has always been about pairing a tablet holder with a notepad, but this time, the holder is a removable hard plastic shell, rather than a simple frame. This allows it to be used in a number of different modes, which is almost always a good thing. Rarely packed in with cases anymore, a screen protector and the application accessories are included.
Unlike the faux leather and jute versions of the past, this Booqpad is made of nubuck and polyurethane. Fully unraveled, the main folio portion is a 17.5” piece with several folds, and embedded magnets. On one side there are a total of four slots: two longer ones running horizontally at the top and bottom, and shorter, vertically stacked openings along a single edge. The rear cardboard piece of the included pad can slide into the longer slots, holding the paper in place. Business cards can be placed in the other slots.
Booqpad’s matte black iPad shell is about twice as thick at the top and bottom as the main body. Like most shells though, it leaves the buttons and ports all exposed when clipped onto the tablet. The indented design allows the folio to fit snugly into the case, and the two stick together thanks to their magnets. Although it can be flipped to place the paper on either side of the tablet to accommodate left- and right-handers, the hold is best with the pad on the left. When the whole thing is closed, Booqpad is just over an inch at its thickest point.
Although Booq’s case supports a number of different angles, none of them are as obvious as those offered by most other cases. Whereas a traditional folio’s lid might tuck into the back of the case, or fold into a triangular stand, this one requires some origami maneuvers. Play around with it a bit and you’ll figure the positions out, but they’re just not as intuitive as we’d like.
This Booqpad is clearly an improvement over the last generations, and as such, earns a higher B+ rating. For someone who needs to combine paper and digital note taking, it’s a nice case. Being able to remove the shell for independent use makes it even more valuable. The only downsides are minor ones, such as the thickness and the setup for viewing and typing angles.
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Compatible: iPad Air