Sometimes the best bargains in iPhone and iPad accessories can be found in the realm of generic products found on websites like Amazon or MonoPrice.com. Going that route can have its risks too. We discovered one case, the Acase Flip Book for iPad ($25), that has garnered a lot of positive reviews on Amazon. But how would it stand up to testing? Pretty well, we found.
The Acase Flip Book’s official description say it’s a leather case, but it’s really a faux leather material. There’s no cause for the manufacturer to artificially inflate expectations though, as we found it a stylish, well-designed case that looks and feels professional. And it’s bargain priced if you get it at the $25 price we paid and not the $80 suggested retail price (we think it’s on a permanent “sale” on Amazon).
Our favorite feature of the Flip Book is that it doubles also a stand with 4 different viewing angles. The case has 4 sets of ridges on its inner left side that the right side can prop up against. We feel support for multiple viewing angles is important feature for an iPad stand, so getting it in an iPad case is especially nice. The Flip Book can also work as a stand in portrait mode, but only straight up and not at angle, and you’ll have to fiddle with the case a bit to get it to work.
The Flip Book has a stylish, professional portfolio look to it. There is nice stitching around its edges and a strap with a shiny chrome button to keep the case closed. There is also an elastic handstrap with red stitching that adds a touch of color.
The case adds substantial thickness to the iPad, but we’re of the opinion this is a positive attribute, as we find that the iPad’s thin profile combined with a “hefty” 1.5 pounds of weight is uncomfortable to hold over long periods of times, as it requires a strong, clenched grip that can quickly tire the hand. The thickness supplied by the Flip Book lets you hold the iPad with a more relaxed clutch, and it’s soft padded texture feels better than the cold aluminum of the iPad’s back.
The Flip Book does have at least one flaw in the form of the aforementioned elastic handstrap. The strap is way too loose for secure one-handed use. We found it somewhat pointless except for its good looks and maybe for holding manila folders or extra papers. *Update* The manufacturer says the strap is for mounting the case on the back of a car seat (for watching videos, etc).
For protection, the Flip Book is thick, with plenty of padding that, if it were dropped and landed on its front or back, we’re confident the iPad would survive inside. But the case’s worst flaw is that leaves the edges of the iPad exposed. If dropped, these edges would take the full brunt of the impact.
The case has an interesting design quirk (or design “choice,” if we’re using Antennagate language). The button strap is on the back of the case, which all but forces you to lay the iPad upside down (screen facing downward). This would not be that big a deal except it makes you open up the case the wrong way. But the placement of the button has a benefit: when the case is opened up, you can button the top lid to the back so it doesn’t flap around while you’re using the iPad.
Inside the case are three straps (two elastic straps and a long faux leather strap) that hold the iPad in place. It’s not the most secure fit we’ve seen (see the problem with the iPad’s corners peeking out mentioned above), but it’s good enough that the iPad doesn’t fall out after we tried shaking it in all directions.
The case leaves all ports and buttons of the iPad open and accessible. The only troublesome area is the iPad’s sleep button, which can sometimes partly slide underneath the right strap. But the we haven’t experienced any cases of accidental button presses, and the button is fully functional.
The Acase Flip Book iPad case ($25) may be a generic case (we can’t even find an “Acase” company website), but it has stylish, professional looks and good build quality. We think it makes quite a bargain at the $25 price we paid (down from $80), especially when you compare it to the prices of similar cases from brand names. Our favorite feature is that it doubles as a stand with 4 different viewing angles. Overall, we’d definitely recommend it over the below average Apple’s official iPad case ($40<). 8.5 out of 10, highly recommended.