I don’t really like using iPad cases; I tend to put one on just before I hand my device over to my kids, and then it comes off again as soon as they’re done. One of the best things about the iPad mini is its form factor, but that’s lost when you slap on a big, bulky case.
Works With: iPad mini
But although I like my iPad to be naked when I use it, I need some protection when I’m on the go and carrying it around. That’s when I’m most likely to drop it — and when it’s most susceptible to getting scratched up in the bottom of my bag.
I’ve found the COTE leather sleeve from BUKcase to be the perfect solution to this problem.
COTE is there when you need it and gone when you don’t. You can quickly slip your naked iPad mini (there’s an iPad Air model, too) into it before you leave the house, and then gain instant access to it as and when you need it. There’s even an extra pocket for a notepad or smartphone.
Oh, man. You really have to touch and feel this case to appreciate its design and elegance. It’s beautifully handmade out of the finest Italian leather by skilled artisans in Manchester, England. It smells delightful, and it’s so soft and smooth that you’ll want to press your cheek up against it and use it as a pillow. In fact, I did on a long train journey from the airport.
COTE is stitched together using thread sourced from a local haberdashery, and it’s impeccably strong. My iPad mini is forever being pulled out of this sleeve by unruly kids who are desperate to watch Team Umizoomi on Netflix, and yet it shows hardly any sign of wear. It’s as tight as it was the day I pulled it out of its packaging.
COTE does pick up a few scratches here and there, but like all leather cases, it just looks better with age. Those small signs of use give it some character and make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth — after all, if COTE wasn’t there, those scuffs and scratches would be on your iPad instead.
Now that I’ve finished gushing about its excellent design and build quality, let’s talk practicality. COTE’s not too tight and not too loose; you can slide your iPad mini into and out of it with the minimum of effort. When your device is inside, the sleeve provides great protection for almost every inch of your device.
There’s also a spare pocket on the front of the case that is great for carrying a smartphone or other odds and ends that you pick up on your travels. I’ve used it to hold a small notebook, pens, business cards, a wallet, and even a gingerbread man (wrapped) once. I often use big Android devices — like the Galaxy S5 — and they fit in the front pocket just fine.
I’ve enjoyed using COTE so much that I don’t really have any criticisms of it, but if I had to pick something, it would be the way the front of the case leaves a corner of your iPad mini exposed.
This makes it easier to get a grip on your device when you need to remove it — it also looks pretty good, I think — but if you happen to drop your iPad and it lands on that corner, there’s nothing there to protect it. It’s going to get scratched or dented at best; at worst you’ll have a cracked display.
I have to repeat what I said in my introduction of this review: COTE is an ideal case for iPad users who don’t really like proper cases. It protects your iPad mini when you need it most — when you’re carrying it around — but allows you to enjoy your device naked when you want to use it.
And did I mention how good-looking it is? It might be pricey — all good leather cases are — but its beauty and build quality make it an excellent buy. I’d have no hesitation recommending this case to anyone looking for an excellent iPad sleeve.
Product Name: COTE
The Good: Incredibly good-looking; super strong; practical.
The Bad: Leaves a teeny-tiny bit of your iPad exposed.
The Verdict: A truly terrific iPad sleeve that you’ll fall in love with.
Buy from: BUKcase