Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve review: Case with built-in stand

This beautiful leather iPad sleeve doubles as a stand [Review]


Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve review
The Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve is both a case and a stand.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Picaso Lab’s new iPad Pro leather sleeve does more than protect your valuable tablet. Its designers built in an innovative stand, while the leather exterior gives a very stylish look.

I tested this hand-made case for the iPad Pro to see how it stood up to real-world use.

Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve review

This sleeve fits my 12.9-inch iPad Pro like a glove. That’s a mixed metaphor, but the tablet is held tightly while also being allowed to slide in or out easily. Not surprising, as each one is individually made by a craftsman with 35 years of experience.

The iPad is kept inside securely with what Picaso Lab calls suspenders: two leather bands that rotate aside to allow you to remove the tablet. These are affixed to the leather sleeve so they won‘t come loose accidentally.

The interior of this case is felt, which both cushions the tablet and prevents scratches to the screen when it’s sliding in or out.

The exterior is locally-sourced California Napa leather, and it’s beautiful. Picaso Lab offers a range of colors: black, blue, brown, and grey. The suspenders are always red.

Expert stitching is done in an accent color, but is more than decorative. It’s part of this company’s “solid edge” design, and provides additional protection from drops and bumps.

Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve
My sample leather sleeve from Picaso Lab is blue, but it’s also available in black, brown and grey.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

That said, this iPad Pro leather sleeve isn’t a truly rugged case. It’s protective enough for day-to-day use, but won‘t save your tablet in a real disaster. The same can be said of most iPad cases, though.

This sleeve is sleek and lightweight. My test unit is for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in 2018, and it adds roughly half an inch to the width and height of this tablet. The combined thickness is about 0.75 inches. The weight of this case is a mere 2.9 ounces (0.18 lbs.) There’s also a smaller version for the 11-inch iPad Pro.

There are no another pockets nor places to put things. That certainly keeps down the bulk.

But Picaso Lab left room for the Apple Pencil. It can be attached to the side of the tablet to charge while in this sleeve.

On the other hand, the fit of this tablet sleeve is too tight for there to be room for the iPad Pro with an Apple Smart Keyboard Folio attached. Fortunately, Picaso Lab makes a leather case specifically for this combination. Read my review of this alternate version.

iPad Pro stand

The innovation in Picaso Lab’s latest tablet sleeve is a built-in stand. One side of the case opens wide to form a brace, while a pair of flip-up tabs on the other side hold the bottom of the iPad Pro in place.

Hours of testing prove that this is surprisingly stable. The computer is held up just a bit past vertical, at an angle useful for watching a movie, or typing on an external keyboard.

This arrangement is well suited for a coffee shop or meeting room, but I wouldn’t suggest it for a plane experiencing turbulence — it’s not that stable.

Picaso Lab iPad Pro looks beautiful
This leather sleeve has a very professional look.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve final thoughts

The best thing you can do for you iPad Pro is carry it in a protective case. And it’s even better when this case also functions as a stand. The Picaso Lab iPad Pro leather sleeve easily meets both criteria, and looks great while doing so.

The high-quality leather and overall premium appearance of this case makes it something an executive should be proud to carry.

The same holds true for everything made by this company. It’s understandable why GQ called Picaso Lab’s MacBook cases one of its “100 Best Things in the World.”


Picaso Lab charges $85 for this leather sleeve. That’s not an unreasonable price for a hand-made case of this quality, especially as it’s also a stand.

Buy From: Picasso Lab —- $85

This company is currently offering a deal to Cult of Mac readers: use discount code CultOfMac10 to save 10% off anything at PicasoLab.com.

Comparable products

A strong rival is the Woolnut Leather Sleeve. This is equally luxurious, but also more basic. It’s $79 in the US.

The Twelve South BookBook vol. 2 is an unusual rival. This case wraps the iPad Pro in leather that’s been shaped to look like elegant hardcover book. Pick one up for $89.99.

Picaso Lab provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.


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