Skech’s Slim And Stylish Custom Jacket For The New iPad [Review]

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It might look like leather, but no animals were harmed in its production. Photo Charlie Sorrel (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Until I took delivery of the Don’t Panic iPad case this week, this Custom Jacket from Skech has been my new favorite iPad case. It looks like leather, but is in fact artfully textured (and fully vegan) plastic, it holds the iPad tight and safe, and it weighs next to nothing. It also look pretty damn good.

Let’s take a closer look.

Like most of Skech’s cases, the Custom Jacket (let’s call him CJ) is as minimal as you can get without sacrificing protection. The rear panel is more like a skin than a fat folio case, and the iPad 3 slips in and is clamped fast by the tight corners, which act as clips. There are cutouts for the 4G iPad’s plastic radio-transparent strip (which also gives access to the headphone jack and sleep button), for the volume and rotation-lock bottons on the side, and for the dock connector and speaker at the bottom.

The Good

The case is extremely light (230 grams, or eight ounces) and slim. Yet despite this, it holds the iPad in tight: I have constantly held the whole shebang by the front flap and let the iPad dangle perfectly safely: You can be sure the only time the iPad is coming out is when you want it to come out.

The case is also pretty functional. There’s a magnet in the lid to trigger wake/sleep when opened and closed, and the front flap is also creased to let you fold it.

Thus folded, you can tuck the edge of the front flap into a little catch on the back, leaving the case in a hollow wedge shape. This stands up for movie-watching purposes, and lays flattish for typing. In the upright position especially the case is a lot sturdier than Apple’s Smart Cover, mostly thanks to the extra size of its “foot.”

Also great is the finish, which doesn’t look at all tacky in spite of its fake leather texture. Even The Lady, notoriously picky about such things, told me several times that she liked CJ quite a lot.

The Bad

That folding crease in the case has developed a small split at either end. They don’t seem like they’ll get any bigger, but you might not like them (actually, you might not even notice them as they’re so small). Then again, my Smart Cover also has all kinds of cracks and splits, so this may just be a product of repeated bending.

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If you look hard enough, you might see the cracks

Another niggle is that the case makes it awkward to take photos. The iPad isn’t exactly an easy-to-shoot-with camera, but the way the front folds back either blocks the camera hole or gets in the way of the left hand.

Finally, the inside of the case is the same shiny, wipe-clean plastic as the outside. This is great, except that I have become used to microfiber linings which clean the iPad’s screen automatically. That might say more about my laziness than the design of the case, though.

The Verdict

The CJ – available in brown or black – looks classy, gets out of the way and offers plenty of protection. It’s another hit from Skech (who also made the excellent Porter Case), and is a bargain at $40, which is what you’d pay for some rear skins.

Sure, it is bare-bones when it comes to fastenings and fancy linings, but that also keeps it sleek and lightweight. If you want a fatter, folio-style case, then there are plenty of puffed-up, overweight options out there.

And one side note before I go. I know I have been giving cases great reviews and great scores recently. Don’t worry about that, though. There are a few awful cases in my review pile that I should get around to telling you about next week.

Rating: ★★★★¼

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  • BigJacktheMac

    This is all well and good, apart from the fact – like the Skech Porter you reviewed recently – that YOU CAN’T GET ONE ANYWHERE !

    I repeatedly emailed the manufacturers and importers. No-one has any idea when these latest Skech product will be available in the US or EU.

    I assume you’re getting an evaluation product, Charlie, but those of us in the real world will have to dream on.

    Would you take up the matter with Skech and come up with some dates before reviewing any more of their (seemingly quite wonderful) products ?

  • dsvatos

    I’ve been trying to find out where to buy these cases since your Skech Porter review and can’t find. Inquiries to Skechit directly don’t help either. Do they say in their press materials they send out with the sample cases?

  • Joe Soap

    Eh, they’ve been for sale on Amazon for ages.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_electronics?_encoding=UTF8&node=172282&field-brandtextbin=Skech

    It says on their facebook page the new ipad porter will be out in May.

  • BigJacktheMac

    Eh, they’ve been for sale on Amazon for ages.

    Nope Joe, that’s the iPad2 version – we’re discussing the iPad3.

  • Joe Soap

    You mentioned in your post Charlie’s review of the Porter which was for the ipad 1, 2 version -he never revied an ipad 3 version- which is why I then said…

    “It says on their facebook page the new ipad porter will be out in May”. So it isn’t avialable until then.

  • BigJacktheMac

    Hey Joe

    I think we live in parallel universes

    he never reviewed an ipad 3 version

    The last line of his review was something like ‘Skech has announced a version compatible with the new iPad’

    "It says on their facebook page the new ipad porter will be out in May". So it isn't avialable until then.

    Skech also said it would be available in March. And in April. Don’t hold your breath for May. A major EU distributor, based in Germany, says they have no idea when units will be available.

    My point is that when reviewing kit like this – especially after the launch of a new iPad – it would be helpful, both for the manufacturer and potential customer – not to review it way before it’s available, or to give hard availability dates in the review.

  • Rishi Paul

    I’m confused as to what the difference is…will there actually be a different version for the new iPad? None of the reviews I’ve seen mention that. Based on Skechit’s website, the product page for new iPad version looks almost identical to the iPad 2 version’s product page.

  • gnomehole

    This looks awesome, but I need the cover to fold in more than just one place. If it did this, I’d buy now. As is, its nice looking but unusable for my purposes.

  • Joe Soap

    Hey Joe

    I think we live in parallel universes

    he never reviewed an ipad 3 version

    The last line of his review was something like ‘Skech has announced a version compatible with the new iPad’

    Announced is not a ‘review’.

    Anyway a bit of relaxing is advised, people are so impatient these days:

    http://uniluvmarketing.com/c-323881-ipad-new-ipad.html

  • JacktheMac

    Hi Joe (and everyone else)

    I just got word that the Porter for iPad 3 has arrived at German wholesalers in the EU:
    This company is based in Germany but will ship to other VAT-registered business in the UK.
    I assume that means we will soon be seeing it on UK and DE Amazon.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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