Kickstarter is a great place to try turning a product idea into reality. Today we get to see the results of a project: Dubbed Wüdskins (pronounced “wood skins”), it’s an all-natural bamboo case to protect your iPad 2. Formed by a group of four women, their goal was to produce a case using sustainable materials and create it locally. It looks like they have succeeded.
When we first pulled the case out of the packaging, our first thought was, “This looks like a book.” The Wüdskins has a beautiful wood grain to it, a classy looking faux-leather binding, and a button that a piece of twine wraps around to keep the lid closed. The case has some heft to it, which is to be expected from an all-wood case, but is not overly heavy. It also has a wonderful wood smell. During the review period, the case sat in my office and gave it a nice earthy smell, which was a nice, if unintended, benefit.
The iPad 2 slides into the case and is held in place with pieces of felt that are placed out of sight in the interior of the case. The friction from the felt locks the tablet in place, removing any worry that your tablet will slide out. All of the cutouts are in the right spots and are easily accessible.
The big advantage of this case is its durability. With your iPad in the Wüdskins, you can safely toss it into a backpack, suitcase, or trunk of a car and know that your device will be fine. The construction seems strong enough to protect the tablet if it were to be dropped, although we didn’t test this (since we were using our own iPad 2).
Usability of the case was mostly positive. The lid can be flipped all the way to the back, leaving a nice incline to use the tablet. This works great for apps that run in landscape mode but makes portrait use difficult. You can also use the case as a stand by tying the twine to the button after you open the lid. All of the ports have high quality cutouts making their access very easy.
Another nice feature is the fact that you can get the top of the case laser engraved with any image of your choosing. Simply upload the image during the checkout process and the artwork will be permenantly etched on your case. This does add $30 to the cost of the case though.
One of the biggest drawbacks relates to the speaker placement of the iPad 2. When holding the case in landscape mode, the speaker sits in the lower-left hand corner causing your hand to cover the cutout and muffle the sound. Without a case, a user can simply hold the tablet upside-down to avoid this, but holding the Wüdskins backwards is a little awkward. This isn’t the case’s fault, and since the iPad is generally designed to be in portrait mode isn’t too big of a deal.
The only other concern is around the button and twine that holds the lid on. While the rest of the case seems very sturdy, these pieces feel a little flimsy and we’re worried that, over time, they could break off. This may be an unfounded concern, but was the feedback from multiple people who tried it out.
Overall, there is a lot to like about the Wüdskins. It looks fantastic, smells great (an odd criteria for a case!), and is very functional. For people who use their tablet in the living room, it is a great way to make the iPad look classy, something most wives appreciate. People who want to toss the iPad 2 into a backpack and run out the door will really appreciate this case as well.
For those who want to keep their tablet sleek and light, this case isn’t for you. The Wüdskins adds considerable weight and bulk to the tablet, and it’s also fairly expensive with the case we reviewed coming in at $119 and the version without a lid running $69.
Images Courtesy of Wudskins.com