Product Review: Folio for iPad Air 2 by DODOCase

           Back in December I received an iPad Air 2 for my birthday and have been looking for a nice case to protect it and to use for business meetings. Some of the things I was looking for in a case included– durability- it definitely needed to be light; there should be spaces for me to put my business cards, contracts, and paperwork; a notepad to take notes during client meetings. On top of all this, it had to look simple and aesthetically pleasing. Originally, I carried around a 15” laptop, an iPhone, an 8x11 notebook a business card holder (that seemed to always go missing when I needed it), an iPad Mini, and a few albums to my meetings with potential clients. There were so much stuff that the table often became very cluttered and overwhelming and I can only imagine how the clients felt. Therefore, I wanted to look for a case that would help me consolidate all the things I needed for client meetings.

            Of course the first place to look at, as many of us do, is Amazon. There were plenty of cases to choose from, but many were bulky and the aesthetics didn’t fit my taste; the compartments made it too busy. So I began looking into custom cases since the selection on most online retailers didn't fit my needs. The first site I came across was Dodocase (like the extinct flightless bird) and I have to say the selection on their website was simply amazing.

            I love the style of their iPad cases and how you can customize everything. I was hooked at first glance when I saw their leather and cloth Folio case for the iPad Air 2.  I decided to buy one, since it had everything I needed! I’m very pleased after 2 weeks of using it that I want to write a review about the Dodocase Folio to share my opinion and to give you an idea of what to expect if you decided to buy a case for your iPad, iPhone or any other devices from Dodocase. I’m going to focus my review on 4 categories – design, built quality, cost, and customer service.

Design.

            Did the design of Dodocase Folio fit all my needs? Did it meet all my expectations as to what a case should be? Yes and no. What I love about the Folio is its simplicity. The design resembles a book with a grey elastic strap that keeps all the content secured. When the case is opened the notepad sits nicely on top of a heavy-duty cloth sleeve (that can hold loose paper.) The notepad can easily be removed or replaced if I ever need a new one. The pockets for my cards are made deep enough so that my business cards won’t fall out and give me easy access to pull out a card when I need. The only problem is my business cards are made from thick paper and I don't think I will be able to fit more than 10 cards total without stretching the leather a bit.

            Along the binding, there is a nice and convenient place for a pen to go along with that notepad. This is where I think the Folio needs some work. When the iPad case is closed, the pen will hit against the iPad screen. Therefore, if you have a large pen with a metal clip, there's a chance that it will scratch the screen. There really isn't much protection to stop that from happening. So stick with thinner pens and your screen will be safe. Finally the housing for the iPad, which happens to be my favorite feature because it's made from bamboo. The bamboo is nicely rounded over so my fingers will be safe from possible cuts.  There are small black rubber bumpers around the corner to give the iPad a snug fit. Believe me, your iPad is pretty secure in the frame for general uses. I'm not sure how secure it will be if you drop it though. 

The frame gives good access to the buttons on the sides of the iPad although the clearance for the volume is a bit tight if you have big fingers. It's not a deal breaker, and it's probably the best clearance to maintain the rigid frame. There is still an opening you the camera on the back of the device and the hole is nicely lined with a nice plastic or cloth like grommet. Very nice detail in my opinion. For me, the deal breaker is how the case cannot be propped up in the landscape mode for comfortable viewing. The case will only lay flat or stand up in the portrait orientation

Built quality.

            If you're in the market for a super durable, water- and bullet- proof case, then this is not for you! This case is not meant to be dropped or submerged in water, but I wouldn't be surprise if it can take a small fall from the table (no promises here so do not drop your case). The materials that Dodocase used on the Folio are very nice. The cloth on the front, back, and inside of the cover feels very good when I hold it. It's not slippery so I feel confident that it will be secure in my hands while moving around. It's not as grippy as rubber would be, but it gets the job done.

The leather binding is soft and feels great unlike most leather cases that can often feel like plastic. The notepad's cover is made from what seems like the same material as the case cover, which gives the notepad a very sophisticated look. As for the paper, it's easy to write on and ballpoint pens glide smoothly on its surface. You'll love taking notes on it! Like I mentioned in my review of the design, my iPad sit in the bamboo frame securely. I know it will not go anywhere, but it is a pain to take the device out. I really have to pry it out with force when I want to use my iPad without the case. I worry that I might break the bamboo frame during this process.

The rubber bumpers are nice and it protects the corners of my iPad, but I wonder how long they will last before it starts to peel off since they seem to only be glued on. This is the same with the sleep button which is made out of wood and glued on to the inside of the frame. I'm concerned with the longevity of the adhesives holding these pieces together, and I hope the heat will not melt the adhesive and cause the components to fall apart. One final note, I'm not sure if this is a common thing or if it's just my copy of this case, but the stitching on the back cover has unraveled itself in the corner. I'm hoping that it's not going to unravel even more as I use it. Other than these issues and concerns that I have, quality of this case is quite amazing.

Cost

            The retail price for this case is $144.95 plus tax and shipping. There is an option to customize your case by added a monogram for $9.95. I ended up opting for no customization because Dodocase will not refund your item if it is customized, which is understandable to an extent. If I opted for the customization and there happens to be a manufacture defect, would I get a refund or exchange? According to the company's rules I would not. So maybe Dodocase will change this policy or offer ways around their rules in the future, but as of now nothing can be done. You might want to consider that if you do choose to customize your case. But is this case worth the price? For me personally, I like the features and the types of materials that are used. I just wish that there were more leather in the product. Dodocase does offer a non-leather version without the notepad, paper, pen and card storage for a base price of $64.95. So is the notepad, extra features, and the sparingly used leather material worth the extra $80? You have to decide on that for yourself and what will fit your needs. For me, the convenience of carrying less to meetings and the fact that everything is there right in front of me wins me over.

Customer Service

            I believe that the product you buy should be as good as the service you receive. In this case, Dodocase really needs some help. Not only did their return policy on customize cases drew some negative feelings about the company, their customer service didn't really help either. The process of placing your order was all fine and easy-again the website was great. But when it came to shipping, the package was late by 2 days. It wasn't a big deal to me because it was the holiday season and they might have been busy so it was understandable. I went to track my package only to see that it was still at the USPS 2 days after the date it was suppose to be delivered. I called up Dodocase twice with no avail; no one picked up. I also went on their website for the live chat service twice during the appointed business hours only to find that no one could answer me there as well. So I ended up submitting a ticket about my issue and waited for a response. Upon checking their Facebook page, I did run across other people who had the same customer service issues with phone calls not being picked up and issue tickets not being answered for months. I did however see responses from Dodocase on some of their recent posts from customers and so I decided to post one myself. I guess it worked because the next day my ticket was answered and they claimed it was lost in the mail. The person who took care of my request expedited a new order for me and it arrived to me two days later. It was nice of them to do that and it did made things better, but come on Dodocase...step up your service and hire more people to pick up the phones!...please?

Conclusion

            Beside the customer service fiasco and looking past the price tag, I would have to say that the Folio from Dodocase is a very special product. I haven't seen anything this slim and lightweight that gives me all the features I need to do my job. I'm sure there are other types of leather book binding iPad cases out there, but from what I see the leather isn't as soft and they aren't as slim and compacted like the Folio. These were the main reasons why I settled for this case over everything else that I looked at. Also, being that their product is made in America is always a big plus! So if you're in the market for a case for that brand new iPad Air 2 and you use it for work like myself, your consideration to buy the Folio by Dodocase is really going to depend on the features you need and if those features will justify the premium you would pay for a case. Would you buy this case? Are you even interested in it? Let me know in the comment sections below! Until next time, keep on clicking!