Review: Sena Folio iPad Case

Posted: January 8, 2011 in Accessories, iPad Accessories

The Folio case by Sena is one of several sharp-looking cases currently being offered in their iPad case lineup.  The Folio seems to target business-minded customers, but it’s simple lines and design also work well for the casual user.  The Folio is a premium leather product, available in a smooth texture (black, brown, red, orange) and a crocodile skin pattern (black, red).  The Folio featured in this review is the smooth black model.

All Folio models feature a small layer of padding sewn into the front and back covers.  Once the main closure snap is released, the Folio opens like a book, revealing an area on the left for storing your own business card (in a plastic window) along with four pockets for other business or credit cards.  While these slots are nice to have, we only felt comfortable storing paper business cards in them (we were concerned with credit cards scratching or marring the iPad’s screen when the case was closed).  There is also a large pocket for holding loose papers or a screen cleaning cloth.  On the right is a very functional sleeve for the iPad.  While the exterior surfaces are leather, the interior surface of the iPad sleeve is made of a soft velvet-like lining.

Cutout areas in the sleeve include the headphone jack and mic, wake button, audio on/off switch (formerly the landscape lock switch in IOS 4.1), volume rocker, speakers, dock connector, home button, and ambient light sensor.  The cutouts allow for full and easy access to all iPad controls and ports.  Any iPad with a screen protector or protective body film will fill nicely into the Folio.  The only unnecessary cutouts (in our opinion) are located on the top right and the bottom right corners of the iPad, leaving these two corners exposed and vulnerable to scratches and/or impact damage (which could occur if the Folio/iPad is dropped and lands on one of these corners…even while the case is closed).  Let’s face it: if you drop your iPad, it’s most likely going to land on a corner first.  A couple of weeks ago we accidentally dropped our Folio/iPad onto our concrete driveway while getting into our vehicle.   The first point of impact was the top right corner of the iPad (near the wake button), leaving the iPad with a .25″ gouge in the aluminum casing. My suggestion to Sena (for future renditions) is to keep all four corners covered and consider adding additional leather on the corners to better protect the iPad.

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Insertion and removal of the iPad is quick and easy.  The second of three snaps on the case is used to secure a leather flap that holds the iPad into the velvet/leather sleeve.  This snapping flap originates on the left side of the interior sleeve, wraps around the left side of the iPad, exits through a hole in the fold of the Folio, and secures to the back of the case.  Installation or removal takes about 10 seconds, beginning with unsnapping the leather flap, feeding it through the hole, holding up the flap while the iPad is inserted/removed, and returning the flap through the hole before snapping it into place.  Once installed, the iPad is very secure inside the case and does not move at all.  We found that the metal snap on the flap easily came into contact with our iPad’s screen during insertion and removal.  Fortunately we have a non-glare screen protector on our iPad, so only the screen protector sustained a few small scratches from the snap.  We highly recommend a screen protector or body skin (like Zagg’s Invisible Shield) for use with this case.

For hands-free viewing, the case can be stood up in portrait orientation by simply opening up the case and resting the case on the bottom edges.  For hands-free viewing in landscape orientation, the Folio features a leather strap/stand on the back of the case which is secured by the case’s third snap (when not in use).  A soft piece of material (which is folded behind the strap/stand when stored) maintains a 45 degree viewing angle when the strap/stand is unsnapped and extended.  When setting the case on a non-slippery surface, we found that the grippy nature of the leather edges was enough to hold the iPad/Folio in the landscape orientation (without employing the snapping strap/stand).  While this is a great angle for viewing pictures or a movie, it is too steep for typing using the on-screen keyboard.

Most leather cases that incorporate a closure (in a Folio style) leave the user with a strap to fold back (to keep out of the way) when the case is opened up.  We found ourselves folding the Folio’s leather closure strap in between the covers of the iPad while we held the iPad for note-taking or book reading.  After a few uses we noticed that the nub of the snap began to make small indentation marks on the front cover since the closure strap was sandwiched between the covers.  This wasn’t a big deal to us, but you should be prepared for this if you use your Folio like we use ours.

Pros:

– Sleek, attractive appearance
– Beautiful, perfectly stitched premium leather
– Padded front and back covers
– Secure and durable snap closures
– The closure strap lays nicely into a recessed area of the cover
– Protective velvet-like lining in the iPad sleeve
– Handy portrait and landscape viewing options
– Convenient interior storage slots for papers and/or a cleaning cloth
– Functional cutouts for ports and controls

Cons:

– Exposed corners leave the iPad vulnerable to scratches or impact damage
– The metal snap on sleeve-securing strap can scratch an unprotected iPad screen
– There is no option for conveniently angling the Folio for typing in landscape orientation
– Price (suggested retail of $99) may limit its appeal to business users
iPhone911 Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

(would give it 4 stars if it protected the corners of the iPad)


To view all of the Folio’s color’s and cover options and purchase your own Folio Case by Sena, click here

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