Have you ever had one of those mobile accessories that was designed to do or be too much, and failed to be of any real use as a result? I know that I have. While versatility is a hallmark of great design and execution, a device needs to fill a need and do its primary job well to find its way into my mobile gear bag. The new Booqpad mini case for the iPad Mini is one such accessory. Its clearly stated purpose is to allow users to carry and use their iPad Minis alongside a traditional notepad, and it does that job very well, without letting anything else get in the way.
I appreciate the fact that the Booq didn’t try to add a ton of extra bells and whistles to this case. There aren’t any additions that are unnecessary for its primary purpose. Even virtually universal features that we are used to seeing in all iPad Mini cases, such as a rear camera opening or On/Off magnets, have been left out. However, what you get in return is worth a couple of small missing elements. The Booqpad mini is a simple, elegant, and efficient way of marrying your digital life with its alter ego- the old standby pad of paper.
Look and Feel
The Booqpad mini is available in both black leatherette (which I received) and gray jute natural fiber. It’s a simple but handsome looking case, that fits well in the hand. Even though the case is not made of real leather, the leatherette material does not look or feel cheap. While it doesn’t quite match the feel of high-quality leather, this material is markedly superior to all of those cheap knock-off cases that are all too common.
The Booqpad mini is bigger than most of the iPad Mini case that I have tried, but this is understandable due to the presence of the notepad.
Taking that into consideration, Booq did a good job of keeping the bulk to a minimum. Despite the additional of the notepad, it is still very comfortable to hold, and offers plenty of protection.
I usually prefer having magnets that both hold a case closed and turn the iPad on and off, which as I mentioned earlier, the Booqpad doesn’t have.
However, the included strap with snap closure looks good and does not get in the way. It actually makes the Booqpad feel more like a traditional planner or notebook, which is very appropriate, considering the focus of this case.
As mentioned earlier, the Booqpad mini is simple, and elegant in its design. Despite this simplicity, it does have some really well thought out touches that make it stand out. First, considering that this case is supposed to hold your iPad and a note pad side by side, accommodating both right and left handed users, and their preference of tablet and pad position is of the utmost importance.
As you can see here, the Booqpad mini is designed with this in mind. The cutouts for the Home Button of the iPad and the front-facing camera are both the same size and shape, which allows you to flip the iPad Mini over, depending on whether you prefer it to be on the right or left side of the case.
The notepad holder slots also accommodate flipping the notepad over, depending on the side you prefer.
This is a vital feature for the Bookpad mini, because no matter which hand you favor, your preferred iPad and Notepad positions may vary, depending on which you are tending to use more often to write on.
Another useful feature of the Booqpad mini is the already mentioned notepad holder slots. The case comes with a standard 50 sheet pad, but there are slots that will accommodate two smaller horizontal pads, or even multiple small square pads, such as Post It notes. They can also be used to hold other items, such as business cards or money.
Finally, what iPad case with a notepad included would be complete without a pen/stylus holder?
Unfortunately, this is one of the few areas where the Booqpad falls a bit short. The stylus holder is quite big, while many capacitive styli tend to be on the small side. Both of my TruGlyde styli fit very loosely in the holder, but a large ball point pen will fit just fine. That is obviously what this holder is designed for.
Another small gripe that I had was with the tab that folds under the iPad Mini to hold it in place.
Unlike most cases that have a slip-under holder for the iPad, this tab does not attach to the back of the case in any way. This struck me as being a very insecure method of holding the iPad. However, the other three sides of the holder for the iPad Mini actually grip it securely, so this ended up not being too big of an issue. As long as the iPad holder doesn’t stretch out over time, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
The Booqpad mini definitely gets the job done, when it comes to performance. Being able to flip which sides that the iPad and notepad are on quickly, depending on how you are using it is a big selling point. For example, I used the Booqpad to take notes during the sermon at Church last Sunday.
I had the Bible verses pulled up on my iPad, using Olive Tree’s Bible+, and took my notes using the notepad. Being right-handed, it made more sense to have the notepad on the right, since that is where I was doing all of the work with my hand.
For the opposite example, I flipped the iPad around and used it to re-take the same sermon notes using the popular note taking app, Noteshelf.
I used my stylus to draw on my iPad screen, as well as typing using the iPad’s on-screen keyboard. In this instance, it was more comfortable having the iPad on the right.
The only usage limmitation that I encountered using the Booqpad was inherent in its design. If you are only using the iPad Mini, you can fold the other side of the case behind your device, but then you have to hold it with the notepad in your hand.
This doesn’t feel very stable, so I usually ended up taking the notepad out when I did it. The pad is easily removed, so this isn’t a very big deal.
You run into similar issues when using the iPad Mini in landscape mode.
As I mentioned at the outset, this Booqpad is focused around one use case, and landscape doesn’t really factor heavily into this equation. But again, if you remove the notepad, the case fits more comfortably in the hand.
I don’t see either of these small issues as dealbreakers for users looking for this type of case. If you are buying one for the purpose of using and carrying your iPad Mini and a notepad together, then you are probably going to spend a lot of time with your iPad in portrait orientation, and both the iPad and the notepad face up anyway. If so, then neither of these issues should be a problem for you. Also, the iPad Mini can be removed and returned to the Booqpad quickly and easily, and the notepad as well, so it isn’t hard to work around the case’s limitations.
I have to be honest and say that, the Booqpad mini really isn’t the case for me. I long ago moved on from handwritten note taking to using digital devices and keyboard input to handle pretty much everything that I do. So, if you are like me, the Booqpad mini probably won’t be of much interest to you. However, there are still plenty of iPad users out there who still prefer a pen and paper for many tasks, and the Booqpad mini is an absolutely perfect fit for them. The designers at Booq did an admirable job of creating a simple, elegant accessory that doesn’t pretend to be everything to everybody. This case is a focused product that is very well suited to its designated task.
Even as someone who the product isn’t aimed at, I can tell that the Booqpad mini is more than capable of allowing users to straddle the line between the digital world and the physical one. For those who still prefer to work and play in both, this case is the perfect companion for your iPad Mini.
The Booqpad mini case for the iPad Mini is available directly Booq and from retailers for a MSRP of $39.95.
The Booqpad mini case was provided by Booq for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.
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