Review: Pad and Quill iPhone and iPad case

There are a lot of “Moleskin-like” cases for iPhones and iPads on the Internet, but in our opinion, only two companies seem to be doing a great job of taking the aesthetics of the world famous Moleskin and transitioning it from pad and paper to an iDevice. We’ve highlighted one company here quite frequently (Dodocase), but today we want to take a look at another company with their hat in the ring — Pad and Quill.

Let’s do it.

The cases: The Little Black Book for iPhone 4 / 4S and The Contega for iPad 2

We were sent two cases to review, and we’ve put both of them through the paces over the last two weeks. They’re all very well made, but we would probably recommend one more than the other at this point. Read on to find out why.

The iPhone Case

Like all of the Pad and Quill cases, the Black Book for iPhone 4 / 4S is made of Italian bonded leather, has a new hidden pocket for ID and bank cards, and a nifty cut out for your camera. Of all of that, the camera cut out is the one thing that has this case standing out in stark contrast to a case like Twelve South’s BookBook for iPhone 4. It’s nice being able to snap a picture while never having to disassemble your case to get your iPhone out in time to span that picture.

The inside of the case, the wood structure that holds your device in place, is made from Baltic Birch, and has appropriate cutaways so that you can access your buttons, and still hear the speaker on the phone, without ever having to remove your device.

Finally, like all of Pad and Quills’ cases, the case has a built in ribbon system that looks like a bookmark, but it’s there to help you get your device out of the case with ease. It’s a nifty little system that helps immensely. Instead of struggling to get the phone out, you can easily pop it out by pulling on the ribbon gently without having to worry about your phone crashing to the floor without having to worry about your phone crashing to the floor.

Some thoughts

Like most book-inspired cases before it, Pad and Quill’s Little Black Book for iPhone 4 / 4S carries some similar problems that we’ve had with other cases like Twelve South’s BookBook series. For a man, it’s hard to walk around with a book in your front pocket all day long. There seems to be some scenarios where the case shines, and others where it’s a pain in the leg.

First, if you carry a purse, man-purse, or laptop bag on a daily basis, the Little Black Book won’t be much of a hinderance to you. You probably won’t even notice that the case has some bulk and weight to it. But, if you’re the type of person who keeps your phone in your front pocket, this Little Black Book is going to be a bit hard to keep in your pocket for an entire work day.

Like I’ve talked about in previous reviews, any case that doesn’t easily fit in my pocket won’t stick around in my arsenal for very long. But that’s just me. Some of you, I’m sure, don’t carry your phone in your pocket all day long. If that’s you, then this case is meant for you.

I don’t have any real complaints with the case outside of how big it is in my pocket. The quality is astounding, and at no point did I feel like my phone was in danger of falling out of the case. The Black Book for iPhone 4 / 4S both looks amazing and feels amazing.

I’m not sure that I’d turn my phone case into my wallet, but I certainly made use of the pouch for things like receipts and parking passes during my two weeks of testing.

If you’re in the market, you can pick one up on Amazon for $59.99.

The iPad Case: The Contega case

Out of all the products we were sent to review from Pad and Quill, the Contega Case for iPad 2 is the one that I’ll be making use of long term. The make and construction is very similar to the Black Book for iPhone 4 / 4S (bonded Italian-leather and Baltic Birch), but it also features a built in iPad stand. Unfolding the case will reveal a couple of slots you can prop your iPad up on for varying viewing angles. It’s something small, but these built-in iPad stands are a must in my case. There’s nothing worse than having to take your iPad out of case, then place it in a stand, only to reverse the process when you’re done work for the day. The ribbon system is also present in the Contega, which is a must considering how tight the iPad 2 fits into the case.

Something to think about

Like most iPad 2 cases on the market today, the Contega has a built in magnet system that puts your iPad into a sleep or wake state when closing or opening your case. It works as advertised, but when the case it closed, it seems that the top lid of the Contega is just loose enough to jostle back and forth, constantly turning my iPad on and off again. It hasn’t done any damage to my device, but it has eaten up some battery life when the iPad is in my laptop bag for prolonged periods. On the whole, the Contega is pretty great, and it’s now my default iPad case. It’s sleek and professional enough that I don’t feel awkward busting it out at meetings.

The case does have a sleeve for receipts and other papers, but it’s a lot smaller, proportionally speaking, which is a bit of a bummer since the iPad is now my meeting device of choice. Hopefully that gets fixed up in the near future.

If you want to pick up the iPad case, you can also find it on the Amazon store for $104.00.

Video Review

Disclosure: Pad and Quill have paid for advertising spots on Macgasm (in the header and sidebar), but they have not paid for a review. Not that we do paid reviews — we don’t. The words we have written are our own, and at no time has Pad and Quill asked to view our review.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio