Modern electronics are not only the most powerful they've ever been, they're also the most beautiful. We consumers choose our smartphones, tablets and laptops, not just for their function, but for their form. Many of us will even choose form over function, because gadgets are often as much a status symbol as they are a tool.
Take a look at a Nexus 4 smartphone for example. Glass covered, front and back, with a beautiful screen and a classy shimmering pattern effect on the back that seemingly ripples as light moves across it. It's only a phone for goodness sake, it's also a very desirable object that aims to make its user feel good.
For me, Apple's iPad is a major design achievement. Most other tablets look like plasticy screens that have been snapped off cheap laptops. The iPad delicately wraps glass and aluminum around its circuits in such an artful way that buyers actually feel special when they buy one.
But there is something getting in the way of all this lovely design. Something ugly, something cheap. It wraps itself round your gadget, swallowing up the beauty with low quality plastic. Yes, it's that case that you immediately went on Ebay to buy for £2 to protect your expensive new purchase from the sharp, scratchy and downright gadget-hating world outside.
We all understand why we need to buy covers for our phones and tablets. They cost hundreds of pounds, but they have to travel everywhere with us in our pockets and bags and stand up to being used in all kinds of potentially risky situations. For all the talk of toughened 'gorilla' glass and scratch resistance, I've seen enough sorry looking cracked mobile screens to know I don't want to take the risk. But why spend £400-£600 on a beautiful gadget and then less than £5 on the cover that ruins the aesthetic completely?
I'm just as guilty as the rest, my Nexus 4 cover was £1.89 from Amazon and my Original iPad cover was less than £5. But it doesn't have to be that way. There's nothing to stop you from spending silly money on an amazing cover, but only those with an unlimited disposable income (or limited financial sense) will do that. For the rest of us, perhaps it's time we consider stumping up just a little more money to a point where we are protecting our purchase but also continuing to enjoy them as things of beauty. With that in mind, for the iPad I've been looking at the Cygnett Lavish book-style case provided by Covers and Cases.
First impressions count and calling your product 'Lavish' means it needs to feel like quality from the word go. The black version I have here (it's also sold in purple) impresses with its stitched leather exterior, and the tactile suede-like material covering the inside, which feels like it will provide excellent protection for that precious iPad screen.
Insertion of the iPad is simple. Just peel back the velcro catch, slot the tablet in and refasten. The rear of the iPad is fully enclosed by the case except for a cutout for the camera. Round the front, the Lavish surrounds some of the glass bezel with leather, with indents skirting the forward camera and the home button. It all looks very classy and as the front cover can fold near flat behind the iPad when you're holding it, you may never need to take it out!
Of course there are many cases styled similarly to this one, but the reason I singled out the Lavish is because it has a trick up its sleeve. On your lap or the table, the iPad can be raised to sit at three different angles. The first two make hands-free interaction with the iPad comfortable, making it a good stand for using the touchscreen keyboard, surfing or gaming. The third angle is very steep and I would imagine using it as a stand for watching movies. It's a nice touch, nicely done, although it's worth noting that the angle is not locked in place and could easily be bounced over if not used on a stable surface.
So why wouldn't you buy a case like this? Well, first the size of the case is not for everyone. Whilst the ipad is now very safe, the case adds some bulk. No problem for a bag, or from taking around the home or office, but for travellers, maybe something smaller may take better advantage of the iPad's innate portability. Secondly, at this price, I was initially surprised to note that the leather is of the PU type. The case is very well made, but I wondered whether it should have been the real thing. That said, PU leather is very hardy and it will continue to look this good for a long time to come.
So having spent more time with the Cygnett Lavish, would I be tempted to spend a little more on the case next time? Well, it's smart looking, does a great job of protecting my investment and the fact that it can act as a stand makes it a value proposition at this price point too.
If buying an iPad takes all your cash, go get that cheap ebay case and protect it. If you have a little left over to play with, I recommend checking out the Lavish.
My thanks to CoversandCases.com for providing the review unit.