BookBook Case For iPhone 5: Like Its Predecessor, Only Better [Review]

BookBook-iPhone-5

I was a big fan of the original BookBook case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but it did have a number of drawbacks that its creators, Twelve South, needed to address — such as the lack of a camera cutout on the back of the case. With the iPhone 5 version, however, drawbacks have been eliminated.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the BookBook, is a luxury, handmade leather wallet case that’s designed to look like a pocket-sized, vintage book. In addition to carrying and protection your iPhone 5, it carries up to four credit cards and has space for cash.

BookBook for iPhone 5 comes in vintage brown and classic black, and it’s priced at $59.99.

The Good

The BookBook really is a beautiful case. I said the same about its predecessor, and it’s also true this time around. The high-quality leather that goes into making this case look like a vintage book is gorgeous, and it only gets better looking over time.

Yes, it’ll scratch, and you’ll probably spill things on it or get it wet in the rain. But this only adds to its unique look and makes the BookBook feel like it’s really yours.

BookBook-iPhone-5-2

The leather also makes this case incredibly strong. It’s soft and smooth to the touch, but thick and durable enough to take a good battering without falling apart or allowing your iPhone to get damaged.

As opposed to holding your iPhone with a leather frame, like its predecessor, BookBook for iPhone 5 has a plastic shell inside it, which only makes the case feel even more protective.

This also allows the case to become thinner. If you’ve owned the previous BookBook, you’ll instantly notice the different in size, which is much easier on your pocket.

It also means buttons, ports and switches are easier to get at. The mute switch on the old BookBook wasn’t easy to get at, because the leather around it got in the way. The plastic case in this version means that’s no longer a problem.

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The biggest improvement, however, comes with the camera cutout on the back of the case. The original BookBook didn’t have this, and you had to slide your iPhone out of the case slightly whenever you wanted to take a picture. Needless to say this became quite a frustration over time.

The BookBook will hold three to four credit cards in its pockets quite comfortably, but if you attempt to jam more in, they can be a little difficult to get out. One of the credit card pockets is transparent, which is ideal for a driver’s license of ID.

There’s also a larger pocket at the back of the case that’s great for holding bills and notes, and other cards that you can’t fit into the front pockets.

The Bad

Almost all of the gripes I had with the original BookBook — its lack of camera cutout and the difficulty using its mute switch — have been ironed out with this model. With that being the case, I don’t have many negative things to say about it.

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But there is one thing: there’s no way to keep the BookBook closed. You don’t have to worry about your credit cards or iPhone falling out — these are all securely held inside — but if you drop your device, there’s a good chance the front cover will flap open and leave your iPhone’s display exposed.

Twelve South could solve this with a simple elastic band. It might make the case look a little less sophisticated, but it’s added peace of mind.

The Verdict

BookBook for iPhone 5 is, again, a vast improvement over its predecessor. All of the previous problems have been ironed out, and some nice improvements have been made to its size and its design.

As iPhone wallet cases go, this is one of the nicest there is. It’s strong and robust, and it looks fantastic. It might be priced at $60, but its well worth it.

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Related
  • jskurkis

    KB, I agree with you wholeheartedly about not being able to keep the BookBook Case closed. Even with one I.D. and a CC, it still manages to flip open. The only way to keep it closed is to keep the iPhone on top when closed (as shown in the first pic). I also agree that putting a strap/button/zipper/velcro closure would distract from the design but how about a more flexible binder that is not as stiff. Maybe after lots of use – I only had mine for a few weeks – it will stay closed. But for now it is a little annoying when it flips open by itself.

  • Harold Kelly

    i love my BookBook Case for iPhone 5. The only thing I had to gripe about was my horrible drivers license picture right there every day when I’m on the phone! Everyone can see it as well…but that’s not BookBook’s fault…I blame the DPS

  • thegraphicmac

    One thing I’ve noticed with my wife’s iPhone is that when it’s in the BookBook Case for iP5, the speaker phone is horrible. I can hardly hear her when she’s talking because the case muffles the rear mic that is supposed to block out background noise. If she pops the phone out of the case during the phone call, I can immediately tell because the voice volume and quality goes up tremendously.

    She’s had this case since early December, and carries it every day. It’s still not able to completely close – though she does have two to three cards in each slot, plus some cash in the pocket.

    Overall she loves the case, though.

  • Moobyghost

    Why not a leather zipper that is page-colored? Also, $60 is too damn high, $40 would be better. Then I would buy one.

  • LouisPiper

    KB, I agree with you wholeheartedly about not being able to keep the BookBook Case closed. Even with one I.D. and a CC, it still manages to flip open. The only way to keep it closed is to keep the iPhone on top when closed (as shown in the first pic). I also agree that putting a strap/button/zipper/velcro closure would distract from the design but how about a more flexible binder that is not as stiff. Maybe after lots of use – I only had mine for a few weeks – it will stay closed. But for now it is a little annoying when it flips open by itself.

    http://www.padandquill.com/cases-for-iphone-ipod-touch/little-pocket-book-for-iphone-5.html

  • Romeyn

    Now if only they’d update the 4/4s model with the improvements they made for the 5…

  • sandramadison3

    http://bit.ly/Wk1bWy – here its exactly the same for 24$

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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