Pad and Quill’s Contega case for iPad 2’s (US$89.99) is clearly not more of the Same Old Same Old. It fuses two very different European components – lacquered Baltic birch and bonded Italian leather – into a classy portfolio-style enclosure. But there’s method to P&Q’s madness: the birch acts as a natural protective shell when you have (as per Murphy’s Law) your inevitable butterfingers moment and drop your tablet, while the hand-tooled cover (complete with classic journal/moleskin elastic closure) shields the fact that you have an iPad from the world.
The Contega’s joys, it turns out, are more than skin-deep. The cover flap not only uses the same embedded-magnet switching as Apple’s own smart cover, but doubles as a multiple-viewing-angle stand AND contains a discretely hidden carry pocket for important documents. Even sneakier, the birch frame contains an acoustic amplifier channel to naturally boost the speaker output. The soft internal lining can be had in your choice of Classic Red, Camden Blue, or Field Green. And not surprisingly, the case gives you access to all controls, ports, and even the camera.
Check out our hands-on review below: