Booq have produced a rather desirable and robust case for the iPad 2, 3 and 4 named the Booqpad Agenda. With its wide range of materials and colours, you're spoilt for choice of which variant to choose.
Our Booqpad is rather eco friendly, the exterior is made from 100% jute, a natural fibre, that feels strong and rugged. This fibre version is available in purple-plum, grey green, black and sand. Also available are two genuine Nappa leather variants which come in either coffee-cream or black stone. Topping the collection off is a case made from recycled PET and another made from leatherette.
We liked the exterior design and greatly admired the natural fibre exterior on ours. The textured fibre was a refreshing and highly stylised change to the plain surfaces we usually see on iPad cases. The stitching and dense padding will definitely help to soften impacts from drops and is suited for general day to day usage too. The interior is unique, as the case is designed symmetrically so right and left handed users can use the case almost immediately.
The distinct feature of the Booqpad is that it comes with a removable (good quality 80g paper) 50 sheet notepad and pen holder. Refill notepads are purchasable for around $10 a pop and come in packs of three. This may seem ironic incorporating the very thing the iPad is intended to replace, but we did find the notepad to serve quite a useful purpose alongside an iPad within our creative lifestyles. The case skews itself more towards designers and artists. The average consumer who wants to jot notes down may be swayed from using this particular iPad case.
The reason for this is because the average consumer is probably going to want to record video and capture photos on their iPads, especially the newer iPads with their improved rear cameras. But because the Booqpad can be used by left and right handed people, Booq decided not to incorporate rear camera cutouts. The iPad isn't hard to take in and out of this case but when you're needing to quickly use the camera, it's just not at all practical or convenient to remove the iPad from the case.
Along the outer edges, as depicted within our photo, are located three large openings for storing thin items such as documents. Two smaller opening pockets are also included and are well suited for storing business cards.
The iPad is secured into a segregated walled area inside the case. It's secured via a flap which is folded underneath the iPad. After around a month of using the case the flap is not so stiff and the iPad slides around a little. This isn't a terrible example of this happening, it usually happens with cases of this style and in this instance doesn't disrupt the usability. Something that is definitely worth keeping in mind is that the notepad touches the iPad's screen directly when the Booqpad is closed, if the pad is terribly inky, the screen could get damaged. In general we felt uncomfortable having the pad resting against the screen when closed, it didn't seem right, but no damage occurred because of it from testing.
To securely close the case a studded flap is used, it works well and adds to the pad-like character. But the iPad won't automatically wake and go to sleep when the lid is lifted. This is probably a deliberate dis-inclusion again as Booq would have had to implement two sets of magnets for the lefties and righties. These missing features feel raw because this is in no way an inexpensive case, our fibre variant retails for $49.95 and the Nappa leather variants retail for a bold $99.99.
The case does have a fold along the hinge to allow it to be used in a keyboard typing position which was stable to use. But no other viewing angles can be achieved.
Regardless of whether you're using the iPad left or right handed, full access to the volume rocker, mute switch, sleep/wake button, microphone, auxiliary input, 30 pin dock connector, home button and front facing camera will be available.
It's a brilliantly well built case and is packed with style. But the convenience of an inbuilt notepad doesn't need to come with this many trade-offs.