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Old 11-23-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
Exer
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Pad & Quill: Review

Ever since the moment I got my first eReading device -- a Sony PRS505 -- I've had the urge to make it look more like a real book. I even went so far as to make a couple of my own prototype "hollow book" cases, but was never completely satisfied with the amateurish results. So imagine my joy when I discovered a few companies making cases that are bringing the "book" back to "ebook".

Moleskine, DoDo Case, and finally a newcomer, Pad & Quill. I decided to try my luck with Pad & Quill.

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At first glance the case does look remarkably like a book ... aside from the strap, which you'll notice is an elastic strap the sort of which Moleskine made famous. Simple to use, but it does manage to keep the case securely closed. The outer covering is black bonded leather -- real, according to the provided insert, and has a nice, relatively smooth feel. It definitely feels more bookish than other types of leather, such as the deeply texturized Oberon cases. Once opened, two pieces of removable paper are attached on either side of the interior to mimic "pages", and are cleverly printed with "care and keeping" instructions as well as company info. That was another quaint little touch that ties in with the book theme.

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Pad & Quill claims to use "traditional bookbindery techniques" for the construction of their cases. The finished product is as rigid and sturdy as a hardback "dead tree" book, but of a finer quality. More like what you might find in a leather-bound edition. In fact this case doesn't look so out of place setting next to a stack of them.

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The cradle that the Kindle is set in is actually made of wood, birch to be specific, and is coated in a water based urethane that is supposed to resist staining. The Kindle fits into the cutout with reassuring snugness, without the least bit of wiggle room thanks to the rubber bumpers, one at each corner. These are basically holding the Kindle in place by way of tension and grip, rather than the official clip system or straps that other cases use. This might be a concern for someone who is wary of their device somehow falling out of the case, but from what I've seen so far it is wedged in pretty tight.

Due to the materials the case it made out of, it would probably provide poor drop protection due to the lack of cushioning. In fact the included documentation stresses that fact.

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There are two grooves cut into an angle at the top of the case. These are described as "sound channels", made to direct the sounds of the speaker back towards the reader. They work great too, it was a very clever design feature. Anyone who uses the Text-to-Speech option frequently will find this pretty useful.

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The same grooves are carved into the case next to the page turn buttons on either side of the Kindle. This is perhaps my only gripe. I have fairly small hands and narrow thumbs, yet I find I have to turn my thumb at an angle to turn the pages now. Sometimes I press straight down using my thumbnail to hit the button, but even that is sort of a pain. It takes away from the easy e-reading experience when you have to "think" about how to turn to the next page. A cutout would have been easier -- from a usage standpoint -- but I understand the reasoning behind the groove design: too many large, ugly cutouts would completely negate the aesthetic 'book' quality of the case. I guess your mileage may vary.

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The bottom cutout is designed to give full access to all the ports and controls. The usb cord can be inserted while the case is fully closed. Again, the power button might be a little hard for some people to flick. This didn't bother me as much as the page turn buttons, due to the much less frequent use. The red "bookmark" ribbon is actually what is used to remove your kindle; lift up on the ribbon and your kindle pops free.

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Another important feature that is usually one of the first questions people ask, "Can the front cover be bent to the back?" The answer is, "Yes, easily." Though it feels really strange to do so the first time. This case seems so much like a real book that it feels almost perverse to bend the cover around like that, because no sane person would ever do that to a real book.

Price: $44.99
Rating: 4 out of 5

Pros:
  • Sturdy, protective.
  • Attractive.
  • Hidden (people will be less likely to steal a 'book').
  • Unique; not many will have this.
  • Quality materials and craftsmanship.
  • Made in the USA (for us stateside folks who think that is important).

Cons:
  • Price; may be expensive to some.
  • Construction; rigidness will provide great crush resistance, but perhaps poorer impact cushioning.
  • Page turn buttons are more difficult to press.
  • No permanent connection system to hold the Kindle in place.

All in all I'm very happy with this case and will definitely be keeping it. This is the sort of thing I've been waiting for. I look forward to seeing what other companies come up with in the near future.

Since I'll be keeping this, if anyone has any questions that I didn't cover, please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

2 week update: OK after two weeks of constant use, I'm noticing some discoloration of the wood at the area next to the page turn buttons on both sides, and the area of the wood in the lower-right corner where my palm most often rests. I assume this is probably due to the oils in my skin staining the wood. Something to be aware of.

Last edited by Exer; 12-09-2010 at 03:27 AM. Reason: Adding to review
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:27 PM   #2
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@Exer,

This is the sort of review that I LOVE to see! It's informative, non-biased, and has useful pics. While I'm very happy with my ""official" lighted cover, your review almost makes me want to go and buy this case.

Thanks very much for an extremely well done review.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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i love the look of the case but is it practical for reading out of? Or is it more of a storage/travel case? (i.e. do you take the kindle out of the case when reading?). I ask because I can't imagine trying to read with it on the bus...
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:51 PM   #4
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Thank you jlmwrite =)

@xnowicoolx - It might be uncomfortable for some. I've been reading the last few days with the case on. Like I said though, the page turn buttons are a little tricky, but the case itself isn't all that bulky or cumbersome. The last case I used full time was an Oberon for the K2, and that thing was fairly heavy and thick, but the P&Q doesn't seem to be any thicker than that.

So if you are used to the bulk of another heavy case, it should be fine. If you are used to reading a naked Kindle, this might not be the best case to buy -- although "removing" the Kindle from this case is a breeze.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great review Exer! Can a book light be used with it?
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great review Exer! Can a book light be used with it?
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I don't use them often, but luckily I had a couple laying around. At first I was wondering where in the world I'd clip it, then realized the front flap -- when folded under -- was perfect. I clipped it above the screen, and to the side (pictured) and it seemed to work pretty well in both spots.

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This is the type I was testing out. I'd assume that any book light that could work on a hardback book would also work on this case. I don't think the M-edge light would work -- there isn't a place to slide it -- unless you clip it to the back of the case with some sort of clamp or rubberband ... something. I've never had a Kandle light, so I can't say whether or not that would work.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:07 AM   #7
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Exer; thanks for the excellent review. If I wasn't so hooked up on, and had ordered my second Oberon-case, I would buy the Pad&Quill right away.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #8
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To each their own...but it looks like cheap, unsanded plywood to me. Seems like it will be too heavy. The idea is great, but I would use a molded and lightweight material to hold the K3. Perhaps something with a bit of soft cushion. I really don't equate woodshop 101 with a book cover.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:22 PM   #9
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Then, JSWinden, you certainly shouldn't get one. I remember woodshop 101, 55-years ago, and if I could have produced one of these in woodshop 101 I'd just make my own case now. I think it's lovely but too pricey for me. I suspect the Kindle4 will have spiffy new features I want and won't fit this case.
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:51 PM   #10
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Exer; thanks for the excellent review. If I wasn't so hooked up on, and had ordered my second Oberon-case, I would buy the Pad&Quill right away.
I know what you mean, Oberon cases are amazing. I was bummed when I realized my Tree Of Life K2 cover wouldn't fit my K3.
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:22 PM   #11
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To each their own...but it looks like cheap, unsanded plywood to me. Seems like it will be too heavy. The idea is great, but I would use a molded and lightweight material to hold the K3. Perhaps something with a bit of soft cushion. I really don't equate woodshop 101 with a book cover.
The ironic thing is I think some people will buy this exactly because of the reasons you dislike it. I know I did. It is made out of natural materials which is appealing to some of us. I was more attracted to the case once I knew it was made out of wood and leather, rather than pleather and molded plastic.

I forgot to mention that I bought this case on Etsy.com ... that is the sort of place that you expect to find this kind of handmade product.
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