Wood has long been used as a premium material in cases for iDevices, and Primovisto’s business relies upon it. Among its lineup of bamboo-based products, the company is now offering Bamboo Bookcase for iPad mini ($54-$64). Although it has been done before, the folio-style design is rare among wooden cases. The price on this one isn’t crazy — a small premium allows you to add a predefined or personal image — but as we’ve often found with wood cases, you’re paying more for aesthetics than protection.
Made to look like a wooden book, Bamboo Bookcase more than doubles the thickness of the tablet, bringing it to about 0.8”. Both covers are wood, as is the frame that holds the iPad, while there’s cloth covering the spine and lining the inside of the case. The materials are really quite nice; we particularly like the bamboo’s glossy finish. There aren’t too many bells and whistles otherwise; an elastic band holds the case shut, while the lid is lacking auto-locking magnets, and there are no stand features.
Holding the iPad mini in place inside the case is a wooden frame taller than the tablet. It runs almost uninterrupted all the way around, with breaks for the Sleep/Wake button, side switch and volume buttons, and another break along that right edge to help in removing the device. There are also holes for the headphone port, speakers, and Lightning port. Because of the 0.25” thick wood, some connectors won’t fit, especially angled headphone plugs.
Bamboo Bookcase succeeds in the design department, even though it leaves a lot to be desired functionally. Working in some sort of button protection, magnets, and a stand — or any of the three — would make it a better option. As it is, however, the price is reasonable for a wood case, and overall, it’s worthy of our limited recommendation. For fans of natural materials, it’s an attractive contender.
Company and Price
Models: Bamboo Bookcase
Compatible: iPad mini